Monday, December 1, 2014

a familiar narrative: a fragment

by horace p sternwall

illustrations by eddie el greco and konrad kraus





betty blaine was very bright
she wore her dresses short and her sweaters tight
she sat in the drugstore with her bases covered
sipping a soda, waiting to be discovered

her mama wanted her to be a nun
but that didn't sound like very much fun
her daddy wanted her to settle down
she had her pick of the men of the town

but one day, without any fuss
betty went down and got on the bus
she had her plans set out real good
and left behind the neighborhood

which would have sheltered her all her days
from the big world's pernicious ways
if she would walk her destined path
but betty had figured out the math

husband and kids did not equal fame
she wanted to play a faster game
the odds against her were prohibitive
but betty wanted to really live...

she took her place among the masses
with cashmere sweaters and dark glasses
who dreamed so big and tried so hard
to soar above hollywood boulevard

guys named al, and bob, and jim
guys called fats, and guys called slim
gentlemen with waxed mustaches
and rivals with long legs and lashes

all flowed like water through the sieve
of this familiar narrative
the faces passing by the mile
mirrored her own - without a smile...

one night the rain began to fall
she'd waited all day for one phone call
she went to the drugstore to buy a pack
of chesterfields and never came back...