Friday, June 22, 2012

Belle Siddon: Gambler, Pal Gal, Madame

Belle Siddon,
aka Madame Vestal,
aka Lurline Monte Verde,
was at first dealt a good hand
from well-to-do stock,
an' she was highly educated in Missouri.
But times, they do change,
Civil War took the reins,
an' many a plan became blurry.
From Southern lass
to Confederate spy,
Belle parlayed her status
for information with lies.
But wars go away
an' loyalties change,
an' Belle later married
a U.S. Army sawbones:
stationed down Texas way.
Stayed as true as she could
til his last breath did pass,
then found she must fend fer' herself.
No trophy wives then
like there is today,
Pride had some sway
an' Belle filled her own shelf.
She had a knack fer' gambling,
an' ran a few casinos
in Wichita, Denver, and Deadwood.
Supply and demand
always goes hand-in-hand:
clean cards,
dirty women,
straight whiskey.
And if she was cheatin... she was good.
Lawmen an' badmen,
both gunmen fer' hire,
sought Lady Luck in Belle's place.
They'd gamble an' cuss,
drink sour mash an' fuss,
pinch bottoms
an' get a slap 'cross the face.
If Lady Luck's a no show,
they'd bed them a "ho,"
or belly on up ta' the bar.
They'd swear off of gamblin',
but always return,
even if the trip was quite far.
Once a Southern Belle
not always a Southern Belle,
she knew all her needs
an' did fill 'um.
But she still was a woman,
a romantic at heart,
an' fell hard when Cupid came callin'.
Yet her choice of men
in her new life an' trade
would even cause whores ta' start bawlin'.
Archie McLaughlin,
notorious robber,
he craved the strong-box from the stage.
Yet robbing ain't easy
with love in the mix
cuz' Archie would tell Belle his plans:
after all, she'd been a spy.
But Belle's tongue had loosened
since the days of the war.
With too much ta' drink,
or in a rage,
Belle would speak out of turn.
Her slip of the tongue
sent vigilantes on the run,
an' they caught up with Archie
still ridin' the stage.
They brought the noose.
Arch brought the neck.
They had themselves a "necktie party."
Out in the boonies,
swingin' from a tree,
that was the end of "poor" Archie.
Belle took it hard,
he was dead cuz' of her,
an' how could she love a dead lover?
She wept out of grief,
she needed relief,
she wanted to hide undercover.
Deadwood's a place
where you pick yer' poison...
an' Belle, she soon was addicted.
She tried ta' forget
her disgrace an' lost love.
She traded her memories fer' opium.
Then off ta' the coast,
San Francisco was calling,
time ta' begin again.
Belle thought she knew what she wanted,
but she was still haunted:
Pain had hitched a ride.
For lack of her lover
she puffed on the pipe.
They found her sprawled out
in the opium den...
on the night that she died.

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