August 5, 2013 marks 51 years since the death of Marilyn Monroe. Though I try to keep Marilyn to a minimum on this blog because of her overwhelming overexposure in the media, the fact remains that Marilyn may well be the most fascinating personality to come out of classic film. The appeal that she holds for the public is evident–it is difficult to walk into any gift shop without seeing her face plastered on posters, shirts, lunchboxes, wallets, purses, and mugs. She has become a sex icon for the ages, and more than any other star, she sells. But amid all the financial gain she brings to businesses Marilyn Monroe continues to be exploited, just as she was in life, robbed of her essence and dignity as a human being for the sake of profits. That is precisely what she was trying to get away from, and thus whenever I see Marilyn memorabilia in a gift store, I feel a twinge of sadness.
Whenever I do mention Marilyn on this blog (which is usually on her birthday and the anniversary of her death), I try to make it count. She was a fascinating human being, the complete antithesis to how the public perceived her. An introspective, observant, intelligent woman who read voraciously and was unusually articulate about herself and her craft, the blonde bombshell image crafted for her only served to exacerbate her inner conflicts and demons.
A talented writer and frequent poet, Marilyn often turned to writing as therapy in a life that overwhelmed her. Today, on the anniversary of her death, I will not pay tribute with the pictures and videos that defined her public life, but instead what defined HER, the woman who deserved so much more than what the cards dealt her.
I have selected what I consider to be some of her most expressive poetry, and I give it to you now in hopes that you will get an inner glimpse of the woman behind the face. Interspersed are drawings that Marilyn sketched during a stay on Fire Island in 1955.
Help this weary being
To forget what is sad to remember.
Loose my loneliness,
Ease my mind,
While you eat my flesh.
– Marilyn Monroe
To the weeping Willow
I stood beneath your limbs
and you flowered and finally clung to me
and when the wind struck with … the earth
and sand- you clung to me.
– Marilyn Monroe –
I am of both your directions
Existing more with the cold frost
Strong as a cobweb in the wind
Hanging downward the most
Those beaded rays have the colors
I’ve seen in paintings – ah life
they have cheated you…
thinner than a cobweb’s thread
sheerer than any
but it did attach itself
and held fast in strong winds
and singed by leaping hot fires
life – of which at singular times
I am of both your directions –
somehow I remain hanging downward
as both of your directions pull me.
“Life is wonderful, so what the hell.”
I left my home of green rough wood,
A blue velvet couch.
I dream till now
A shiny dark bush
Just left of the door.
Down the walk
As my doll in her carriage
Went over the cracks-
“We’ll go far away.”
Don’t cry my doll
I hold you and rock you to sleep
Hush hush I’m pretending now
I’m not your mother who died.
Help I feel life coming closer
When all I want is to die
– Marilyn Monroe –