"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Beneath the
satin brash
I was soft silk.

I divided myself
into winks and
plump lips to fool
fools who thought
I was without a brain.

Take away
the blond, the breasts
the give, the take,
and you would have seen
the lock, the key,
the when, the why
to the me few could see.

I once had Eden, but
The Big Apple bit me.
The Catholics didn’t
like my either/or.

Life was great.
Life was bad.
Fame took
what it wanted.
I gave it all I had.

I let the world
see satin brash
when beneath
I was soft silk.

©Susie Clevenger 2015

Process note:

Mae West was famous for her double entendre. In a radio sketch titled The Garden of Eden on NBC Mae was cast as Eve and the actor, Don Ameche, as Adam. At one point in the dialogue she told Ameche to "get me a big one...I feel like doin' a big apple!" The reference was to a then-current dance craze. The day after the broadcast, the studio received letters calling the show "immoral" and "obscene." Women's clubs and Catholic groups admonished the show's sponsor, Chase & Sanborn Company, for "prostituting" their services and allowing "impurity" to invade the air. Wikipedia

NaPoWriMo ~ Day 19
Real Toads ~ Going Halvsies! 


kaykuala said...

Mae had been misunderstood just being a blonde made her out to be dumb.It was grossly unfair. Thanks for sharing the historical episode. Great lines Susie!


Sanaa Rizvi said...

Such a wonderful tribute to Mae West!
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your poem :D

Lots of love,

Gail said...

A wonderful tribute to Mae West. Dad admired her greatly. I don't know her moral short comings but I think compared to many Mae was one of the good guys.

Dad said she only showed her legs and never too much of anything else. He called her a lady.

R.K. Garon said...

I remember my mother imitating her when the occasion struck her in certain responses to my father. :-)

Björn Rudberg said...

I just wish I could have been there at the time.. I guess in hindsight she was right.. and moral usually is a backfiring gun.

Outlawyer said...

Super charming, Suzie--she definitely had to work with her times. Thanks so much for participating with such a fun offering. k. Manicddaily

Debi Swim said...

Ahead of her time and you are right, she was no dummy.

Rose Ketring said...

Simply inspiring poem :D Thank you for sharing it

Kerry O'Connor said...

I salute the endeavours of women such as Mae West who forced a change of perception through her celeb status. Too many female celebs today seem to have returned to objectifying their own femininity. A great poem to an indomitable spirit.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh how I LOVE both her strength and her being "soft silk" underneath the brash. Cool write, Susie, and I love how the opening and closing stanzas repeat.

ccchampagne said...

It would have been interesting to hear her thoughts on today's so-called post feminist world... Wonderful tribute!

Mama Zen said...

I love that third stanza!

hedgewitch said...

Really a great narrative here of an indomitable woman and the sense of humor and smarts that helped her carry it all off. In many ways, she and her frequent foil W.C. Fields were the pre-beats, the outsiders that mocked their age so smoothly that it laughed without knowing how much they were revealing of its pitiful lacks and hypocrisies. Really enjoyed this one, Susie, and your process notes. Imagine what those clubs and groups would think of what is out there now! 5 minutes of Game of Thrones would give them a coronary.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love your contrast between satin and silk.

Jim said...

I think you figured her pretty well, Susie. The end lines ring better still after reading your middle ones. Thank you,

Hannah said...

This is so revealing of the time and person, Susie...artfully captured, too!

Matt McKechnie said...

Just checkin' in (I said I would!) - Beautiful stuff, Suzie.
Loved this line:

"I let the world
see satin brash
when beneath
I was soft silk."

Gorgeous internal structure, there. I was a Don Ameche fan, to be sure. So many of the golden age actors and actresses were triple/quad threats in their skillsets. Models. Actors. Dancers. Singers. Such a strong people. Mae West was a gooder. Keep the writing coming. Pop in anytime at gravenrecords.blogspot.com

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