Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Jane Temple (born April 23, 1928), later Shirley Temple Black, was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, autobiographer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

I’ve always loved the children of America
the delight that can be gained
from their sensational success
tiny ice skaters and miniature gymnasts
limelight leached out
child stars, like

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

Precocious to the point of “a flock of hungry locusts
driven by the gale winds of
their pushing, prompting mothers”
a gossip columnist speculated once
if there wasn’t a special sub-human
species of womankind
who bred children for the sole purpose
of dragging them to Hollywood, like

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

Spoiled by the choice of memories:
Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel,
Wee Willie Winkie, Fort Apache.
I, loyal to the point of sickly adoration,
choose your very first films,
when you were like a tea cup pig
in the Baby Burlesk,
Polly Tix in Washington, starring

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

you were a strumpet on the
payroll of the Nipple Trust and Anti-Castor Oil Lobby
yours was the task of seducing
a newly arrived bumpkin senator
in black lace panties and bra
designed by your mother, oh –

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

the director’s vision was bright and clear:
comic versions of the major films of the day
but tiny children playing
the lead roles in diapers
the Hollywood production code
had yet, at the behest
of the Catholic church, to
curb the sexual innuendo
and violence that marked Hollywood
and so you were free
to do what little girls do best
to titillate the matinee male audience
a three year old roped in necklace pearls
giggling
“I’m very expensive” – that

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

ginger ale and a splash of grenadine
garnished with a maraschino cherry
and a shot of strychnine for the road

Shirley
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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