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The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde

Updated on May 12, 2011

The Story of Suicide: The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (written by Bonnie Parker)

We, each of us, have a good alibi

For being down here in the joint;

But few of them are really justified,

If you get right down to the point.

You have heard of a woman's glory

Being spent on a downright cur.

Still you can't always judge the story

As true being told by her.

As long as I stayed on the island

And heard confidence tales from the gals,

There was only one interesting and truthful,

It was the story of Suicide Sal.

Now Sal was a girl of rare beauty,

Though her features were somewhat tough,

She never once faltered from duty,

To play on the up and up.

Sal told me this tale on the evening

Before she was turned out free,

And I'll do my best to relate it,

Just as she told it to me.

I was born on a ranch in Wyoming,

Not treated like Helen of Troy,

Was taught that rods were rulers,

And ranked with greasy cowboys. . . .

You've read the story of Jesse James

Of how he lived and died

If you're still in need of something to read

Here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow Gang,

I'm sure you all have read

how they rob and steal and those who squeal

are usually found dying or dead.

There's lots of untruths to these write-ups

They're not so ruthless as that

Their nature is raw, they hate all law

Stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers

They say they are heartless and mean

But I say this with pride, I once knew Clyde

When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the laws fooled around and taking him down

and locking him up in a cell

'Til he said to me, "I'll never be free,

So I'll meet a few of them in hell."

The road was so dimly lighted

There were no highway signs to guide

But they made up their minds if all roads were blind

They wouldn't give up 'til they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer

Sometimes you can hardly see

But it's fight man to man, and do all you can

For they know they can never be free.

From heartbreak some people have suffered

From weariness some people have died

But all in all, our troubles are small

'Til we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas

And they have no clue or guide

If they can't find a fiend, just wipe the slate clean

And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There's two crimes committed in America

Not accredited to the Barrow Mob

They had no hand in the kidnap demand

Nor the Kansas City Depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy

"I wish old Clyde would get jumped

In these hard times we's get a few dimes

If five or six cops would get bumped."

The police haven't got the report yet

But Clyde called me up today

He said, "Don't start any fights, we aren't

working nights, we're joining the NRA."

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct

Is known as the Great Divide

Where the women are kin, and men are men

And they won't stool on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens

And rent a nice flat

About the third night they're invited to fight

By a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.

They don't think they're tough or desperate

They know the law always wins

They've been shot at before, but they do not ignore

That death is the wages of sin.

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.

Love at first sight

Bonnie Parker is the second daughter in a family with three children. The Parkers are simple folks. After the death of the father, the family Parker moves to Dallas . To Bonnie, life seems not so bad at all. She really likes her mother. She is an excellent pupil. She dreams of a career as an actress.

Clyde Barrow is the son of an illiterate cowboy. He has seven brothers and sisters and he is rarely found in schools. He enjoys robbing banks with a wooden pistol. He loves automobiles and music. The family is very poor. In 1922, Clydes father works in Dallas in a petrol station.

In 1926, school is out for Bonnies. The romantic stories she reads, have awakened a restless desire. She marries Roy Thornton, a small criminal. She is sixteen. In her diary Bonnie writes down her secret thoughts, and perhaps also some poems. This could be one of them:


She was sixteen. She said:

‘You are the moon and the sun

and the stars.' -

And he? What did he say?

That she was the earth

where his roots were? The air

that he would breathe? The water

he would drink after three days

in the desert? The fire

that consumed him?

Love at first sight...

It's a feeling as cosmic

as it is comical.

Saying for instance:

'I am the first cosmonaut

who lands on your heavenly body!'

Something like that.

The 1967 "Bonnie and Clyde" Movie Trailer, with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, directed by Arthur Penn

As a thief

Roy is never there. Roy is always absent.

Bonnie is bored. Bonnie takes a job as a waitress at Cafe Marco.

Sometimes it seems to her as if her life has been terminated before it has started. As if she is buried alive.

And Clyde ? He has found a job, and then lost it. And found a job. And lost it. He listens for hours to some raw blues or melancholic folk music. Behind this visible horizon has to be another, invisible horizon that he would like to see with his very own eyes.

Clyde plays the guitar. Clyde plays the saxophone. An occasional car theft pays for his passion for guitars and saxophones, automobiles and fashionable clothes. Clyde works with a real gang, which includes his older brother Buck. They have their first big hit in a playroom, where Clyde with only a broken pistol disarms two guards.

1929. Clyde and his brother Buck are wanted in several cities in Texas . Clyde is now twenty years old. On a street in Dallas he meets this girl... It's love at first sight. And not just 'something like that'.


He loves her as a thief

in the night,

in the silence of his car,

in all her secret


It feels like he's missing

somewhere deep

in her,

as if he's lost

and gone,

he says.

But she goes misty too

while he evaporates

in her hands.

The Walkabout's Bonnie and Clyde song; with photos of Bonnie & Clyde


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