She was
Little more than a
Stray kitten
Cornered in the alley
Behind a filthy
Brooklyn tenement
By you and your
Undying lover,
Who liked urchins.
When it came time
For the kill, the
Feasting as of lions
Upon a fallen zebra,
Your visionary
Paramour
Saw stars and
Burning cherubs-
A tarnished goddess
All in silver
On a cracked pedestal.
So you let this
Stray kitten of
A waif, with huge
Hungry eyes and
Red curls
Live.

Later you saw her,
This stray kitten
Of a waif,
Rendered upon
The silver screen;
A child in a
Woman's body,
Her red curls dark.
It was the eyes
That gave
Her away as they
Burned down upon
You from above,
Rendered in light.
Those eyes
Recognized
The hole where
Your soul once lived,
And called you
By name: William,
As your shadow muse
Raged with
Jealousy.

Transfixed,
You watched your
Hungry stray
Every passing chance
You got-
A wild girl bent
Upon pleasure,
Devouring
While being
Devoured;
Her huge hungry
Eyes boring into
Yours as your
Deathless seer's
Never could-
Those eyes
Were mirrors
For you who
No longer needed
Such, as her life
Echoed her lives
In the movie
Palaces large
And small,
Forever playing
The same
Stray kitten
You once
Spared.

One final
Roaring
Jazz Age
Evening
You met your
Silver waif.
Mesmerized by
Your reflection
In her dark
And hungry
Eyes,
You let her
Drive you
Across L.A.
In a little
Red roadster
From some
Vulgar,
Nameless,
Beer dive
And into the
Sacred spaces
Of her home,
Your prophetess
Forgotten.

You could have
Killed this
Stray kitten, easy-
But once more
You refrained.
There was no
Biting
There was no
Tearing,
There was no
Death,
As the two of you,
Seduced by
The reflection
Of self
In each other's
Hungry eyes,
Wrestled
Upon her bed-
Rendered in silver,
In a silent movie
Of your own
Making.

Years later,
Your eternal lover
Newly gone,
You found yourself
Standing
At the tomb of a
Stray kitten, in
Forest Lawn-
You'd missed
Her funeral by
Forty years.
Still you remember
The hunger
Reflected in
Her gaze
As the two of you
Drank each other
From the mirrors
Of your eyes.
You placed a single
Rose beneath the
Silent Plaque
Of a Brooklyn waif
That you
Twice spared,
Before walking
Back into the
Comforting
Night.


Author's Note: Clara Bow (1905-1965), the unwanted child of a schizophrenic and a waiter from the Brooklyn slums, was one of the hottest actresses of the 1920s and the first to flaunt her sex appeal in a field of silver screen ice queens and virgins. Clara never hid her interest in sex, and was known as the "It" girl from 1927 on, thanks to a movie of the same name where she was the lead actress. Clara's miserable childhood, exploitive work schedule, vicious Hollywood gossip, and habit of cruising for men in low places, caught up with her; she suffered a series of nervous breakdowns on set which eventually ended her film career. Clara died in her sixties of heart failure, a semi-recluse living in a modest Culver City suburb, leaving behind two sons by her husband of 31 years, Nevada Lt. Gov. and cowboy actor Rex Bell, and a substantial body of silent films, which are now being restored and re-released on DVD.