She wanted out
before they came with
the Chicago overcoat,
but her luck was never aces,
like a filly four men own a leg of;
still her eyes. She had lamps like
two shots of fizz, a nightcap in themselves
and the bob she got to peeve her mother
she thought fit her like a laurel glove
when she left the farm behind her
when life began to wind her
like a two dollar watch.
She climbed the satin stairway
to a sky of empty sockets just west
of Hooverville and the L.A.summer moon.
She bumped gums with the butter and egg man,
the man who stepped on stars, another flicker
for his candle on the purple velvet couch. He cast
her sixth behind Lugosi, the girl who screams
her heart out in a movie off the cob. He gave her eyes
a number in a book with a hundred others
who ran away from their mothers
to an apple filled with worms.
After Fatty took the Rappe,
before the Dahlia bloomed her ink smudge,
she hollered, "Abyssinia," kissed off
the painted desert, hooked up
with the junior props boy, and threw the watch
away. They moved to North Dakota, and
she told her grandkids nothing
about being sixth behind Lugosi,
about cadillacs and canaries
about L.A. in January,
about the girl too many owned a leg of
or the man who stepped on stars.
posted for Fireblossom at
The Sunday Muse, whose theme today is
Note: Abysinnia is '30's slang for "I'll be seeing you." A Chicago overcoat likewise for a coffin. To 'own a leg of' a horse is to be part of a syndicate which mutually invests in a racehorse for profit, bumping gums is to talk aimlessly or too much, especially about yourself. You can look up the rest of the slang I've used here, the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle/Virginia Rappe scandal which rocked 1920's Hollywood here, and the notorious Los Angeles Black Dahlia murder case which sold so many newspapers here.
Images: Mischa Barton posed as early film star Louise Brooks, via Sunday Muse Fair Use
Still from the 1929 German film Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks and Fritz Kortner Fair Use