Marilyn Monroe | Photo: Ted Baron, 1954

Marilyn Monroe | Photo: Phil Stern, 1953

Part Three Chapter 5

̶  For me she’s all about emotion, the emotion she arouses and that aura she gives off.

In your panties you lie before me as I sit in the Louis XVI chair, my foot a factor of friction in the hinge of your thighs.

̶  No matter what the role, she’s always herself. She’s pure, moving emotion.

So you say, as behind you Marilyn looks out at me through Warhol’s manipulations: Her face is a milky pink with a mauve cast, her earrings a darker tint of the same hue; the blackened red of her lips sets off the blazing white of her teeth, while her hair is bright yellow and her eyeshadow, a guileless baby blue.

Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1964

Some Like it Hot, 1959

You continue:

̶ She’s the opposite of the femme fatale. She’s fragile. And yet, despite herself, she’s a bombshell. I think she can’t help it. It’s not an act, as it is for Rita Hayworth, for example.

A graphic border marks off the black towel you’re lying on from the blackness of the floor; in the subdued light, the white of your body is luminous.

̶ I agree. She moves me too.

Opening your legs, you thrust toward me. In the ball of my foot I feel your heat, I feel it getting hotter.

̶ Tell me her story, Sprague.

With the heave of your haunches settling all my debts to time, my only desire is to fulfil my responsibility before you.

The Misfits, 1961

The Misfits, 1961

̶  She was nobody’s daughter, undesired, an illegitimate child. All her life she was haunted by the question of love, endlessly repeating the same experience of abandonment.

Slung over the side of the tub, a bath rug the colours of a Munch sky emits a blood-red, blue-black scream.

̶  Either she sought an intensely close relationship in which she could be consumed, unreservedly offering herself to the man in an attempt to silence the demons inside her, or she felt rejected, worthless, in danger of falling into an abyss.

Hard you press against me, your butt rising off the floor; varying the flexure of my foot, I keep you in tension.

̶  What she was looking for was an enveloping love that could save her from the ravage inside her.

Marilyn in her frame of black—her hair the hottest, the most expansive, the most burning of colours—sears the blue in the background of her portrait.

̶  Didn’t her movies bring her some peace? Didn’t playing a role free her from herself?

Your amulet bracelet makes soft music as you throw your arms behind your head.

The Misfits, 1961

Marilyn Monroe, The Asphalt Jungle, 1950

̶  In the beginning, maybe, but not towards the end. Her problem, from the point of view of the studio, was that she couldn’t stop being herself—as you observed. She couldn’t alienate herself in a role, the way an actress is supposed to do. For her, everything was real.

As you rub your sex against my sole, the little mole by the left corner of your lips echoes Marilyn’s beauty spot. Now before my eyes the sugary pink of your nipples takes on a mauve cast.

̶  So no, movies didn’t bring her any peace. But there was something that did—posing for photographers.
̶  Ah-ha!

The rose is the quintessence, the fifth element, the force that governs all others: Beneath the black, in the hothouse of your panties, I feel its power.

̶  Her identity was never well-defined. She often felt herself to be in a no-man’s land, without references. All the ties most people take for granted, she couldn’t.

Burnished by my heel, kneaded by my toes, your sex in my plantar cavern is kindled by the stars of the depths.

̶  She was like a stray dog looking for a master, trying to keep herself together when the forces inside her were tearing her apart. At times she felt herself on the verge of madness.

Alone in an empty room, his arms wrapped around his knees, a boy rocks catatonically on the bare floor. Outside the window a banshee wails, her witch-blood a banner flying in her breath.

̶  Faster, Sprague!

Your sinews taut, against my instep you rub your oyster, polishing the pearl.

̶  So, unlike in her acting, where even her perfectionism couldn’t give her the illusion of control, in posing for a photographer she was a subject. The life force buried inside her could finally surface and express itself.

Marilyn Monroe and Bert Stern | photo: Bert Stern, 1962

Marilyn Monroe | Photo: Bert Stern, 1962

From a corner of the room lavender shadows come to quiet the bath rug’s vermilion fire; ghostly upon a wash of light, the vanity floats.

̶  In front of the photographer’s lens she existed at last; gone was the lack of confidence, the rejected and abandoned child.

Resolute, in the tense flexure of my foot you seek the edge over which to throw yourself.

̶  But of course the photo session had to come to an end, and when it did she was destitute again. So, to get herself through another night, she calmed her demons with barbiturates. And at thirty-six, she was dead.

Voraciously my foot caters to your craving; propped up on your forearms and the balls of your feet, you press your pussy into the sublime: We cannot abolish the abyss that separates human beings, but we can jointly feel its vertigo.

Marietta, if your eyes were jewels of chastity, then your lips were pigeon’s-blood red: With the violence of your desire you fought your solitude: Did I fulfil my responsibility before you?

Mara Marietta