Well, maybe not Clyde so much, but gun-totin’ Bonnie Parker fancied herself something of a writer. Her interest in poetry began at a young age and in 1932, while incarcerated for a botched burglary, she penned a chapbook entitled Poetry from the Other Side. The ten handwritten poems brought even more sensationalized attention from the media, which was already crazy for the infamous duo.
“The End of the Line”–published as “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by the press–is Parker’s take on the unjust nature of the law and society in general, especially in times as harsh as the Great Depression. In the sixteen-stanza poem, she denies accusations of crimes “they had no hand in,” then accurately predicts her own demise.
“Some day they’ll go down together;
And they’ll bury them side by side
To few it’ll be grief–
To the law a relief–
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.”
While Parker was no Emily Dickinson–notwithstanding her fondness for dashes–her heartfelt ballad still echoes the sentiments of some artists today, who feel that the pressure of poverty and injustice force them into crime.
“They say an eye for an eye, we both lose our sight
And two wrongs don’t make a right
But when you been wrong and you know all along that it’s just one life
At what point does one fight? (Good question, right?!)”
–Jay-Z, “Justify My Thug“
Beyoncé and Jay may be the self-appointed Bonnie & Clyde of ’03, but let’s not forget the original gangsters of ’30.