Tag Archives: Faith No More

“Clara Bow is In Your Face but You Can’t Grab Her” – Poetry by Joseph P. O’Brien

ClaraBowBoxFrom our Summer 2016 issue, “Clara Bow is In Your Face but You Can’t Grab Her” is Joseph P. O’Brien‘s poetic tribute to the original “It Girl.”

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YOU CAN FEEL HER, though you don’t really see her
today. (If you do, it’s probably Betty Boop anyway.)
But when we talk about “It,” we talk about Clara.
All the stars and starlets since just play a game
of tag she started. What is IT? IT’s what the French
call “I don’t know what,” but cutting out
all the bullshit in the middle.

It’s being born in a Brooklyn heat wave, the caboose in a train
of miscarriages, looking death in the face and winking.
It’s growing up with girls maligning your poor clothes,
so you hide inside sweaters and hang with the boys
(your famous right arm could lick any one of ’em)
until your womanhood makes boyhood impossible.

It’s keeping warm with your mom on cold nights
by crying in each other’s arms, until you wake to a butcher
knife at your throat– epilepsy induced psychosis,
the doctors say when dad commits mom, and eventually
it kills her. It’s calling your mourning relatives ‘hypocrites’
at mom’s funeral right before you jump into her grave.

It’s finding romance, nobility, and glamour on the silver screen,
but thinking the actors queer & stilted, not at all how you’d do it,
so you make your bedroom a one-woman circus, star
in your own mirror movies, til Hollywood can no longer ignore
your genuine spark, your divine fire, and you steal the
show as an undercover tomboy. It’s never facing a means to pretend,
no secrets from the world, it’s trusting through dangerous eyes. Continue reading “Clara Bow is In Your Face but You Can’t Grab Her” – Poetry by Joseph P. O’Brien