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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Marilyn Monroe --

her life was like a candle in the wind"
--- Elton John

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick"

--- Mother Goose

(traditional phallic nursery rhyme)

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The Players

Marilyn: Marilyn Monroe
Bibi: Marilyn's new assistant
Peter: Peter Lawford
Hector: Marilyn's agent

(It's a classic California afternoon, no smog -- only the smell of leather, Chanel #5 and Cadillac exhaust creeping into the prominent Beverly Hills establishment where Marilyn Monroe has decided to do lunch with her agent and new assistant, Bibi.)

(Marilyn is playing "little-orphan-girl-turned -star-just-orphaned-again-by-her-daddy-figure- Clark-Gable" working the little knot of photographers who are elbowing to take her picture, thinking of a sale to a tabloid or newspaper, even though everyone knows Monroe's career has hit the skids and she's just been fired from Something's Got to Give.)

(Marilyn adjusts her sunglasses and turns to Bibi, her new assistant.)

Marilyn: Who were those who went by?

(Bibi squints. It's a reflex.)

Bibi: "Queen Hedda and Shelley Winters -- they're going some sort of publicity soiree for The Hollywood Tatler

Marilyn: (with alarm) No one invited me---don't they want me?

(Agent Hector turns to Marilyn.)

Hector: Now dear, don't worry your little head. (He pats her on the hand.) After all, it's just another tabloid -- you don't need them.

Marilyn: Don't patronize me, you pig. Remember who pays you.

(Marilyn assumes a tragic look.)

Marilyn: When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was a mother to love me, and a home to go home to -- I just wanted to spend one Christmas with my mother and daddy -- I used to say my prayers every night, my little hands folded tight --

(Marilyn folds her hands under her chin & looks up to the sky.

No one is paying attention. They've seen this performance a thousand times.)

(Bibi rattles the ice cubes in her Long Island tea.)

Bibi: Isn't that Peter Lawford? Oh Hector, is my lipstick on straight? How's my hair?

(Hector purses his lips.)

Hector: Bibi, dearest, you don't think he's here for himself, do you? Oh dear, Bobby must be in town --

(Hector assumes a jilted queen look.)

Hector: I wonder if Bobby even remembers me...

Marilyn: (continuing the orphan-girl routine) And then, every Christmas Eve, I'd make a little paper stocking, I'd draw stars and hearts and kisses on it and write just the tiniest note to Santa -- I'd say the same thing every year, "Dear Santa, I've been a good little girl, and all I want is my mother or my daddy to spend Christmas with me. And then I'd --

Hector: (turning impatiently to Marilyn) Marilyn, will you please hush up -- don't you see who's here?

(Marilyn stops in mid-sentence. She slams her hand on the table, rattling the cutlery. Her voice loses its well-articulated, soft breathiness, and transforms itself into a hard, Brooklyn- edged missile-launcher tone.)

Marilyn: Damn it to hell, Hector, why didn't you tell me Peter Lawford was here -- my hair is a screaming mess -- oh shit -- hang it all -- Hector, give me that script -- yes, I know it's an old one -- now, I'm reading for a new film, all right?"

(Peter Lawford approaches their table. He's wearing his trademark East Coast spoiled brat preppie look, with Raybans and a cigarette.)

Bibi: Is he coming here?

Marilyn: (Pretends to study a script.) Bobby's a courageous prick, sending Peter---

Lawford: What's that? What did you say, Miss Monroe?

Marilyn: Oh, I was just reading some lines for a new property I'm reading -- hello Peter.

Lawford: Good morning, Miss Monroe. Reading? Why that looks like Bus Stop.

Marilyn: Well, it isn't. It's in an old folder because it's confidential.

Lawford: I thought I heard you mention Bobby. Good morning, Hector. Maybe it wasn't Marilyn I heard talking, maybe it was you---

Hector: I just adore your jacket -- is that a raw silk? I thought so -- oh dear, that makes me think of my little Fifi -- she used to rub her little nose against silk -- something in the lush Oriental vibrations, you know---

Marilyn: What sneaking fellow has come in now?

Lawford: Where? Here? There? That's a Kennedy. It's Bobby!

There's a man, all right. Brave Bobby! A real warrior! A prince of chivalry! A soldier in the war to make the world a better place!

Marilyn: Then I wish the President would sign a cease-fire!

Lawford: Mark him, note him. O brave Bobby! Look well upon him, Marilyn. Look at his tennis racket -- see how large it is -- and how well worn -- it's more broken-in than Joe DiMaggio's, and how he looks, and how he goes! If I had a sister who was a star, or a famous personality, or a calendar girl, he could take his choice. What an admirable man! I'd bet that Jackie would give an arm and a leg to change places.

(A crowd of autograph-hunters pass by their table, thronging and milling about, trying to determine where the Hollywood Tatler reception is being held. One or two stare at Marilyn as if they think they might recognize her, but aren't quite certain, so they blink and walk on. Most are dressed in a manner similar to Bobby Kennedy -- tennis clothes, or casual wear -- but without a badly worn tennis racket in hand.)

Marilyn: Here come more. Is there a tennis tournament, too?

Lawford: Asses, fools, dolts! Rinds and husks! Old dried-up peels! Bones and gristle! I could live and die in the eyes of Bobby.

Hector (aside): Oh yes! And so could I, too.

Lawford: Don't look, don't even bother. The eagles are gone; all you have here are starlings and pigeons! I'd rather be a man like Bobby than Khrushchev and all of Russia!

(Marilyn looks across the courtyard to Bobby Kennedy, who is stealing looks at shame-faced young woman who is scrambling to make herself decent after having dived into the pool and losing her bikini top. Bobby hasn't shaved for a day or two and looks like he might have slept in his clothes.)

Marilyn: Well, then. Who could be better than Bobby? Who could possibly surpass that? Jack?

Lawford: Look with your own eyes. There he is. Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and suchlike the spice and salt that season a man?

Marilyn: Certainly. A packaged man, without a date, so the date has passed.

Lawford: A date? That's just what you can be!

Marilyn: Yes, I'll expire on my back to keep my account full.

Lawford: So I can count on you?

Marilyn: Yes -- you can count on me like I count on myself -- on my wit to defend my wiles, my tongue to take my tricks, my secrecy to admit my honesty, my mask to confess my beauty, and you to defend all these.

Lawford: Truly, Marilyn, I'm not worthy. Only a knight like Bobby can defend a lady's castle --

Marilyn: No, a night with the likes of Bobby can arm my comeback.

Lawford: Miss Monroe, you are a true star.

(A young waiter approaches their table. You have a phone call.)

Lawford: Where?

Waiter: Inside, sir.

Lawford: Tell him I'm on my way. [Lawford looks at Marilyn]

I'll be back in a minute.

Hector: Oh waiter, I'd like another Mimosa, please.

Bibi: Hector, aren't you ready to go. It's almost time -- besides, the reception will be over, and we'll be stuck in traffic.

Lawford: Wait -- I'll be right back -- I'll bring your check to you.

Marilyn: Yes, bring me a check -- that's a good idea -- just hand the check to me on your way out -- Give me the check & then you can check yourself & your own career as a pimp, Peter.

(Peter Lawford rises and leaves the table.)


Words, vows, scripts, masks and a pink Cadillac
He gives to keep another's ass intact;
But I suspect more Kennedy money
Than now in Lawford's wallet I can see.
So I'll hold off. Starlets are angels, wooing;
Things won are done, the fun lies in the doing.
So anyone who's loved knows this one thing:
That men crave the pinup more than the skin,
And that she'll never be treated better
than when she's known just by art and letter.
So I'll stick to my own little saying,
The man who's coming's the man who's paying,
And the star who has a meteoric rise
Sells him his mirror'd self, so satisfies.


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Here I am en manteau robe de chambre en lainage, thinking of my last evening there, with you, drinking champagne in cut-crystal flutes, fascinated by your juxtapositions and maneuverings of motifs and devices -- am I always to be consigned to "dumb blonde" -- tonight I lie in bed, reading, re-reading Tolstoy, looking at my Coffre-lit en bois peint, & I realize that furniture & furnishing are just so many literary devices -- the click of my stiletto heel detaches vehicle from tenor, persisting even now, in our disparate, beating lives --

I have now in my hands two things -- cut glass and a candleholder in the shape of Athena, bearing light in her outstretched hand -- it's bougeoir en biscuit au dessin d'une grande finesse - - there, it sounds so much better that way -- the grammar of description commands the reader to place absurd value on the mystified -- on the French, however banal --

And when I garb my banal hips in Niagara, the film screams reification -- I am made into what I am not -- a social construction, not me, not the individual, lonely, sad person who weeps to hear yet another man seek affirmation in my giving eyes --



I would say that Bus Stop taught me how to handle the energy you generate when you come to a complete stop in heavy traffic to gaze on a woman (archetype or no) who happens to walk down the street --

In comedy, the hero prevails and marriage creates the final resolution of aroused tensions, oppositions, and unfinished narrative.

Le style est l'objet de passion, and I have a ravishing point to make, that my own invasive paradox can always be found early, not in me, but in you, the reader -- even before we must exchange our epistemology of contradiction -- I know through what I clash against, what I am not -- you know yourself by what you think you lack -- what kind of love is this? Such elevating didactic, I fling myself against limits, contre le mur, while you give me trinkets and a robe d'un soir while I cloak myself, as always, in what is not and can never be -- my daily life is a robe d'un reve --

It's not that I mind so much -- in a world informed by protean selves, beyond the simple duality of heaven/earth, I don't expect much -- but, why is it that every man who says he loves me & wants to take care of me forever, claiming to take away my pain, leaves me feeling hollow, pulled apart at my deepest joints -- the more he says he loves me, the more I watch my body break, preserving limited dreams & wasted legacy...

This cinema-scape goes by en belles couleurs but I am left wanting more -- I want a connection with my emotions, not just sensory stimuli of the visual --

When I think of what constitutes the antithesis or counterpart of the mental, I think of the visceral -- the gut-wrenching, heart-rending, side-splitting -- all the emotions that are traditionally associated with the body. Thus, for word-play to mean anything, for it to impact the audience, there must be a reconnection to the body, not any body, but a living, breathing, sweating animal corpus that, by its own qualities of housing the human spirit, lies in opposition to/with death. Mortality is what makes a person real, so, in a film, mortality is a Valentine chocolate, dark, sweet & melting to be consumed -- here, behold, are six fauteuils and six chairs made for the garde meuble of the comte d'Artois, later Charles X --




The danger we run, according to Kant, is that without Faith, the visual can be classified as illusion, or as Wittgenstein would have it, visual reality becomes something that exists only inasmuch as we have the tools to describe it -- visual reality becomes a question of representation -- how we represent, how well we do it --

but, then, all representation requires construction -- the playing-out of a Wittgensteinian language game --

The Big Screen is my Wittgensteinian language game, worked out with the connecting links of words, signs, colors, symbols, sequence, and space --

Yet, difficulties arise in the Big-Screen-Silver-Screen-Hollywood language game because the "grammar" is not always spelled out -- we don't know quite how to build the sentences that mean what we want them to mean -- I think this applies to color in films -- Technicolor, especially, with its supersaturated flesh tones -- what do these tones say about how our bodies fit into the spaces of nature?

Is Hollywood so different from the Gothic Cathedral that Emerson describes in Nature? For Emerson, the Gothic Cathedral meant two things -- 1) Emerson's own relation to those who had gone before him and had influenced him -- Coleridge, Goethe, Michelangelo, De Stael; and 2) an elaborate symbol of intricate inter-relations and interactions of the religious, philosophical, cultural, and mythical beliefs in force at the time -- it was the visual representation of correspondences, oppositions, obversities, negations, affirmations, etc. that the culture contained at that moment --

If this applies to Hollywood, then the film is "petrified religion" (to use Coleridge's words) -- it is a Gothic cathedral constructed of these materials -- Theda Bara vamping through men and morality; "Over the Rainbow" lands where only the small, the strange, the elfin, the dialogical multiplicity of munchkin voicings can show you the way home, and tell you just how it is you "Follow the Yellow Brick Road;" suavish & raffish "My Man Godfrey" blazoning a screwball Marxism rubbing hands over bins of burning rubbish, saved from suicidal despair by the sweating, All-American male unemployed on the banks of a Depression-era ubiquity of American Dream reversals & class-bound cagings & ragings; Scarlett O'Hara a dream of spitfired Id (I do believe in the Freudian equation) & violation fantasy manhandled all the way up those endless Jacob's Ladder stairs to heaven & a communion with yet another forbidden father always significantly older & omnipotent, this time with Charleston blockade running, getting through when no one else could -- of course the irony is that Scarlett was the best blockade runner of them all --

The Big Screen unifies all these disparate elements into a common field, into one single construction, a cathedral of film -- by filming all on one piece of film, there is unity in variety. The very idea of unity in variety, unity in diversity, allows the mind to begin to look for the submerged similarity that may reside in all things. But, how does one actually find the hidden common denominator? I have to turn back to Kant and his Critique of Pure Reason, where he describes analogies of experience -- that we are able to identify the hidden similarities of things, that we are able to find a common denominator, or a structural unity in variety, by processing the observed phenomena in our minds, and comparing what we see with our own experience of the thing, event, activity, or representation.

While I watch a film, I begin to identify submerged similarities (I'd say that in the case of film, the similarities are deliberately submerged or veiled, just because the director wants the audience to be affected by the Freudian components -- the subconscious motivators, the unconscious lurking behind every simple event, in short, the whole Freudian model) -- I mean, these last few years -- all the 50s and now, the 60s, have been filled with Freudian drama --

but, let me return to what I was saying, dear Arthur -- I find the submerged similarities of things I see (or create with my persona) on the Big Screen, by observing with my visual sense and trying to get at the primary components of what I'm seeing & I try to figure out how they characterize the person or place on the screen & how that is supposed to represent non-film reality.

Then I identify the purely symbolic components of the film -- in Gone With the Wind, I look at Tara and how it is represented before the Civil War -- the way the soil & the earth are represented & how the Irish father speaks lovingly about the earth -- the earth components here seem to me to fall very easily into the realm of the deeply symbolic & every time a reference to earth occurs, or every time the camera rests on the red soil -- how the director may show earth or dirt on Scarlett's body, or bodies and bloods in the earth, then I know that the director seeks to activate the symbolic & that the director is making deliberate choices with his symbol-choreography -- the connections are choreographed in an attempt to enforce signification and meaning -- the director is trying to police what I believe & how I react to this film -- what is it saying about me, about my body, about all the things that earth and earth-goddess mythological Gaiea creatures mean to my sense of being alive, or to my mortality, or to my essential libidinal, hungry, earth-based self?

I've finished reading The Misfits, and I see you activate the symbolic -- the earth and all its attendant mysteries -- but it's so different here, with the horses -- the wild horses -- the mustangs that must be corralled --

Obviously those mustangs are the same kind of misfits that the characters are -- me & Montgomery Clift & Eli Wallach & Clark Gable -- that's the clear parallel --

But you know you can't avoid the Platonic as well as the Freudian -- the horses as components of the soul -- in Phaedrus, where the soul has three parts -- charioteer & his two horses, a good horse and a bad horse -- the bad horse represents that appetite that runs away --

The misfits in your script represent that bad horse component of the human soul, don't they? As Plato writes, the bad horse, the "other" horse, "is crocked, lumbering, ill-made; stiff-necked, short-throated, snub-nosed; his coat is black and his eyes a bloodshot gray; wantonness and boastfulness are his companions, and he is hairy-eared and deaf, hardly controllable even with whip and goad. Now when the charioteer sees the vision of the loved one, so that a sensation of warmth spreads from him over the whole soul and he begins to feel an itching and the stings of desire, the obedient horse, constrained now as always by a sense of shame, holds himself back from springing upon the beloved; but the other, utterly heedless now of the driver's whip and goad, rushes forward prancing"---

In your script, you let the bad horse be killed -- are you so afraid of your own libido -- are you so afraid to let go, and "rush forward prancing" -- I am afraid, because I think I know the implications for those like me, who receive public fame and attention for becoming the on-screen representation of the bad horse -- how I become a part of that narrative that requires my discipline, my sacrifice --to sacrifice me means to control the chariot -- to preserve order, or at least gasp that ephemeral, oxygenated air that deludes the individual into believing that all is well, that the unruly horse can be control, that individual Will prevails, that the "self-overcoming" in Thus Spake Zarathustra is indeed possible --

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How build I virgin ethos, call just more child,
illicit desire to take into another incest motif --
set pictures, Hollywood, like Dante's Florence
my flesh here "la cittade ove nacque e vivette
e morio la gentilissima donna" nameless city now under
centaurian shadows watch me drink another champagne
weeping for polarization and another red
Cadillac convertible blazing Dionysius and
no tomorrow -- the word "child" too paradoxical
unsurvivable this town, call them young if you
lack deconstructive resolve, they come here fully formed,
as exploitable as a woman with breasts, small & white
teeth, smile pliant, polypropylene wide like dolls & dead --
your gender a game to work into your blood, equate chaos
with the myth of Atlanta, to be raised foster, Other.

My child could heal on the verge of geometry & sin,
the sequential place innocence is born & reborn,
repetition periphrasis for my true significance &
why I ran my high heels blanker, destructive, where
woman means seductive & ultimately barren, playthings
for Some Like It Hot, cross-dressing impotence a tiny
bound heart, no longer mine, but the cultural property
of the masses of men -- reincarnations of Ming dynasty
men applauding the diminished foot of the gender most
likely to run -- manipulate film & an all-girl band
driving on a bus to Florida & all other instruments
to push shame & denial into Great Gatsby caterwauling
& a 1920s vintage car, still libido as wrapped as
that Chinese foot, enforcing heterosexual, enrage.

Black satin wraps my burgeoning, empty breasts,
close against the fault I lay my hopes, rain on
brass bells, cymbals, enclosed ritual of destiny, locked
with a mind still hoping for what may never be --
my lips full magic, stars abrade my eyes, my skin
denies the bald flank of unshot film -- my child
blister reality into my sunglasses and silk-shrouded
neck, see my face facet into a thousand smiles, broken
in prisms, love laughs at the affinities --
thighs & nights mocked by day's shadow, darker than 3 am
before Aurora blinds my dear, dissembling lover & I refuse
my addiction to the words I hear, a vow is never indelible
washing away like wet blood on a red rubber raincoat;
broken shells churned with outgoing tide, sands still
rough my lips; why do I think a baby would change all that?

Brilliant hips face to face light up like coordinate time,
waters splashing oceans on leather & moss-encrusted granite;
Nietzsche writing "causality eludes us" denying any
efficacy of will; who designs the lacquer and the shine
of a movie star's nails? who hammered them into ultimate
sacrifice? who speaks as though the man owns all fertility,
to buy the starlet's naked breasts and her black roots
reminding her she must never let herself show; reminding
him that she bleaches for him & his power to erect fame
and a heartbeat above those billboard hips; but back-lot
translates back-alley & they will scrape fertility
with the tissue of her dreams & father whispering good-night
sweet princess, the poisoned point of a blade, a sharpened,
splicing knife lodging her body on a cutting-room floor.

My hopes kick within those times before turning still,
I run on bare grass, feet wet with morning adieu to melt
unstained like a box of refrigerated chocolated curved
perfect claw sheathed, before 24-carat gold & miracle
more opening to consume all before melting -- Marx's
immanent utopia suggesting linear, while I whisper
donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore please help me find
my way, an escalator sliding me further into
Saks Fifth Avenue, a shower of Chanel on my outstretched,
pleading palm, Schopenhauer telling me the memory
possesses only potential not actual power, & me
consigned to waiting, stage left w/blockings & bargains
with Oberon, my life no more yielding but a dream,
where sleep is perchance to arise with death, more
quiet than the heart that will never sound in my womb.

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Like Winterreise strike without flinching
heart-like ultimate dark not truth, my eyes
guarantee inherent meaning, simulcast Casablanca
and E.T. colorized past & present & anti-theory
neon lights melting walls & my scarred rooms save I,
like you, weep whereupon done with all dreaming
yearn with me upward gold pyramids filigree, inscribe
executioner hemisphered running memories & blood
shine, my faraway mountain, hold me vision
or treasure, or fresh-cut cane dripping
pulp & sugar & wet -- howl brilliant
not forgetting childhood & other luxuries;
science & mechanical efficiency icon
into chunky discs of quartz & silver
all 1937 deco'd real sunshine w/my tremolo --


transient advantage you can sit outside, boots
neat & patent -- satirical calculated w/heartbeats
brave poignant my loyal silk, paint friend
illusion delight genius yours a mode of knowing
& I Vienna sorcery distinguish resistance & eyes
stinging self like sweat skin hope, and still
you say LOVE ME, DON'T EVER LEAVE by no means
stopping there, keys minor locate postlude
bleak fists, smelling exhaust a too-travelled
highway, Texas notice Vienna ultra-automated
annihilation, antiseptic slaughterhouse of dreams --


space like porcelain starlets, moonbeams
in castle library, easily receding paragon
you insist convey me vogue not like fashion
but magisterial, sing throat modular grid
modest & subordinate & chorded while my
pulse heaving proof of civilization, let alone
promising so skilled sumptuous hundred-year dirge
Mondo Mickey & yellow outdoor umbrella plushings
chrome the countess & L.A. & Century City shopping,
we wander freeway, auberge, say my name Dresden blue --


holding hands, this is my simple satin crazed surface
we watch Coppola movie Life with Zoe overwhelm
emblem glue on rhinestones & paillettes & sequin
you festoon me woman as logo, want violent grapes
or aubergine or pigment bruised named love & texture;
timeless safari or tweed embody our together times
for where "Some Day My Prince Will Come" sing
Snow White for the Other & so Disney I stay awake
sticky-bronze mechanized, brooding "Heigh-Ho"
yearning clear for a hundred playing hands,
twisting all together, a single lyric
I can't imagine except radiant, holding you


Through my garret I hear pain & structure of the spheres;
places prove notions of absolute good -- piazzas,
receptions, glass palaces, more dark mornings, will music
drip free or only favor spatial, somatic? They
promise to pay, or I refuse to sell, I still suffer
headaches looking into coved & ribbed ceilings -- Does
anything last forever? on Wordsworth's poetics I style
my peaks, my noblest essays for piano, Vienna's ruined
survival major keys, chordal unpublish incarnate "Agnus Dei"
for sublunary world -- not so B-flat, or keyboard, or my
particular death mask "Here, here is my end" -- I wait
for fingers on strings & bow martellato to assert inhalation
only after final, the Winterreise; I bore a torch for
Beethoven Dithyrambe funeral consolation perish; viewed
Parnassus through stucco & Palladian window -- we starve
in the most regal sheets Der Doppelganger plumes and quills
spill ink I still wonder if the places we travel will tell
my heart as genuine, the generations carve their own history
leaving small stage bare w/echoes women smiling pulling
their bows fingers calloused, Calliope in furs, strolling
from one hierarchy to the next -- do I even understand
how these vibrations elevate or submerge? never confuse
music with love like frosty windows in sweaty, hot kisses --
health is not built for the body, but for the mind;
one hundred and fifty years later, a small girl
will ravish the torrid cicada klavierstucke of Oklahoma air
with my 4 Impromptus -- in c, E-flat, G-flat, A-flat --
still summer 1827 flashes by scribbling ink on cheap sheets,
the place I lie a bed for construction of self, weeping
my tears drip contagion or dialectic; I saw Immanuel Kant
tearing ice from his wrought-iron gateway, the chill
and the wet proposed a transcendent form -- knowledge
for my burgeoning, raging, eclipsing, spiraling voice
that cries not in words, but in De Stael's cathedral &
frozen music shimmering like lead crystal & chandeliers
& glass to bring to Emerson's endless patterns in nature &
"our moods do not know each other" -- when I die, carve
fleur-de-lis on my death mask -- color my emotion red
score my shabby life ambition or pour climate of hot soil
or repetition into your own veins coursing arpeggios
& a soprano sobbing lieder in accents anticipating Mahler;
forget my hands are too small to reach your sonatas,
my vision never vast enough to posit self in landscape;
I submerge in a technique that values in medias res; where
you set me down "in middest of the action" & I am lost
in a dark wood / or pricking upon a plain -- do you
see my eyes bleary & jutting behind thin wire glasses;
my face swollen with night & full symphonies someone will
mistake for unfinished; during my last spring,
I will pick whorled milkweed broken free of the dark,
clumping earth, I will wish you could see those threadlike
leaves waving in breeze like my recapitulations,
petals tinted purple, my yellowing letters "I want
to shout with Goethe, Who will bring me back an hour
of that sweet time?" another piano duet erect, without
tendrils about face a cherubim; You, lowest degree of angel,
I will find you here in trebles & fortissimo clustered
stems like roses, still disclaiming author pain for longings
of mappable, or scorable, or composable, tranquil mind;
the endlessly played stanza shapes your historiography
more than years, or even the mystery of my fatal disease;
same telling, Here, here I am, my songs replaying Vienna
in medias res your life Black Forest yet forever coming.

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Escape alone with God chiffon fires & breasts the end
all fable perfect secretary tears fall more and more
incomprehensible magic planned like film for goings-on
Chagall's Paix aux chaimieres, guerre aux palais, 1908
exile mine like beginning for life guarantee mark ways
mark spring Wedgewood "Kingsbridge" service porcelain
Assiette plate more mascara for my cobalt blue -- take cover
impermeable drapings my doubt & rage -- love not cashmire
rubric erratum more and more my walk exemplary w/pain
foaming looking out price/prize dialectic eyes, drip
another world equivocation un incendie -- heart, beat still.

burn scorpionic & tense my fauna too identity subfossil,
will you weep set describe what scutate, what notes, what
peculiar relationships -- ripened nylons hanging over sinks,
breed under short-tailed gasps & shrews, I hold on
nevertheless remodeled worth delta or locational -- take
the major wadi one step expect like scour & broken
fear -- are you? -- telling norm single true site
backing into factor like aerial photos geomorphological
peruse, my nails bitten off not visible but denser
like love that never lasts & face putative, invisible.

translucent inventory or stock by no means remote, hazard
possibility or written 9 January 1917, pendant lapis-lazuli
after great effort a group of ink drawings invite sapphire
motif silver-gilt curling snake gjelder psykisk
utviklingshemmede som ikke vil komme inspire cabinet
mahogany 1750s secretary-bookcase, evolving face for
unconscious, or Queen Anne so simple broken pediment
sturdy sampler begging my kiss, monastic sexuality sweeping
terms -- lying not -- forming entire texts small step

antiquarian saddest after dyes obligatory skilled
stitching more brass ils apportent de grands bonheurs
aux petits malades some girls "India isn't home"
making it sweat with my Victorian palms rattling
brass inlaid shame -- I abandon sell or elite myself
empire grasps me in thigh deconstruction not early
rose the pigment of affair -- all raj quartets
collapsible serving leg rests; betray my Portuguese --
secret drawers bejewel our love letters, where mirrors
play peacock now in ninth decade -- how novelists tell
unreality in realism -- more & more I am out of sympathy
going Renaissance mother & child sent back cleaned, pale.

sentimental grows time & so Lalique magisterial, equal
shall I monotonously purvey elmwood carved marble? sad
me child me weep me cry me tear me hold me harm me sad
wide public I cater nowhere such famous end-of-page
three-month-old manioc market tubers bulky w/too much leg
peach neighborhood thrive harvest to store cannisters
flammable over time, image burning in Hollywood Babylon --
fossil assemblage my lips brush gastric area strongly
misaligned trawled for ventral -- burying more I seize --
confound my gasps hard like exoskeleton calcify breath.
my skull will infer like fish -- probable molting w/syntax
wrinkling little or no dorsoventrally crushed, preserve
tunnel for dreams or lipstick or abdomen-flexured sex --
restrict virtual, applaud -- Pava Temple leaning vertical
all Guatemala "you look everything" real forebears such
escapist like Maya intelligent slapstick acting "not
wonderful" such subtle, remove define -- ascend my lucite
heels up Tigre Pyramid -- architect my shivers for not
contemporaneous -- "It's you I want, don't you understand?"
une historiographie et une peinture de tendance courant --
older faults are paragon; sometimes distinct more than like
elbows & hips conjoining reflection wondering Other
what is illustration de la conscience historique --
storm with parting clouds and a William Tell arrow,
in April I will paint -- so tell where all my censor
self with main subject only make humble status so
capture nature a secret possession show little to stop
make my hips howl, implant emblems your teeth my lips --
realize talk and take & linguistic grind for signified
hunger color death Thanatos long counting mountain,
torrent, streams, rocks, woods & extinction my little
scientific girl-breath -- shape rendez-vous in my beck
humanity bitter fertile economy cultivate multi-speciate
uptake external hunting negligible satin draping fire,
ignitible perspect w/rain forest spatial like rot & flame.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Heaven and earth leave us our hours,
my generation attends with quiet
conviction, a small girl washing
a hundred dishes in a foster-home kitchen, running
over to my own emptinesses, never expecting happiness
or its synonyms, where revolutions
have their seat in enduring thirst;
so I repeat what the first and foremost abuse, pretext
to manufacture, the Puritan rule, dominate cross, the color
black, the church, the preacher, the severe attire -- going
heart of darkness into a particular in nature, partaking
mythos, ever-expanding Edenic frontier, my new Hollywood.

Space might be real if drawn into a map; my mind willing
to accept the idea of territorial pushing out & West --
construct my process in time after time, filling discipline
that relates a whole, my microcosm not Goethe however
imbued with the intangible, F. O. Matthiessen signing
love-letters, only what we may call fame in margin --
another tabloid will buy your representation of icon --
you keep all negatives to sell like external presence,
order to bridge all theology, Emerson farming his
own mute gospel -- rub out with force, denial,
a Duchamp ready-made to find subversion
in my patent-black or white starlet sandals;

the shadow goes -- art or chameleon sexuality,
technological motion & flow, a developing film
of the only thing I can call love -- a moment
frozen still only by a medium having flash --
all things pass, but memory runs skyward across
the face of Nevada where raindrops sadly stand.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Frank Sinatra
Geoff, Bobby Kennedy's staff secretary
Peter Lawford
Bobby Kennedy

Scene: Frank Sinatra's Malibu beach house, which has been lent to Bobby Kennedy and entourage for the weekend. Peter Lawford approaches the tiled entryway and is met by Bobby's staff secretary, Geoff.

Lawford: Hello, Geoff -- where is she? At her apartment? Mud reminds the intrepid. Brave or not much else.

There is no proper way to say. Speak, talk, describe, enunciate.

Geoff: No -- She was here all night. She never left my sight, I can attest to that.

Lawford: Dogs have too much fur around here.

Geoff: Someone spraypainted the word, ALARUM: QUI NOBIS, on the side of the fence.

Lawford: Henry V?

Geoff: For a good time? Discord.

Lawford: Motif of self-sacrifice. I smell a suicide coming on.

Geoff: We want it to look like murder.

Lawford: Curious and curiouser.

[He laughs.]

Lawford: Oh, here's someone -- Well, well, Bobby -- license the warm wind that wastes the man-hours, and you've got chains, chains, chains.

Bobby: Geoff, is it so important to be first?

Lawford: Slave of narrative. Only how? Living or dying?

Geoff: She never left my sight.

Bobby: Chains? The myth lives & dies. Word or no word. My fear or lack of. Don't we have to win?

Geoff: I only wanted to see if anything could look like murder when authorial intent is widely recognized as irrelevant.

Self-negating, though. Everything. Mud, tire tracks, asphyxiation, and a single red flower. Silk. Or plastic.

[Geoff leaves. Frank Sinatra enters]

Bobby: Jack. That's who you care about.

Frank: I trained myself to hold my breath, a single note.

Like a word.

Bobby: Hold. Holding. No. You can't do that with a word, anyway. Don't you see the futility.

Frank: Tiny bubbles.

Bobby: The name begins and ends with a fingerprint etched in future history. Written. Inscribed.

Lawford: Too much vocabulary.

Bobby: Too much art.

Lawford: Have you seen Marilyn?

Bobby: No, Peter. She's gone. That's what we're trying to tell you. We've called her apartment a thousand times -- she was here, and now there's nothing -- I say I'll be patient, then I'm not -- I talk, I think, I say her name ---

Lawford: Do they teach you how to pray in Saint Elizabeth's*?

Frank: Prayer.

Peter: Pictures.

Bobby: He really wanted to be a film star, not a president.

Frank: The President?

Bobby: Jack.

Frank: The burst of fire, words. Seconds. Her hands were rough like lost pillows. She could control her breath, her words.

Peter: Control. Empty word. Like star.

Frank: She is every moment the great star.

Look. Here's something. (Picks up a bottle of fingernail polish.)

Fingernail polish. Could it be hers? Marilyn's?

Peter: He could have been a star. One of the great ones. But he got hurt. Back injury. Claimed it was from war. Really it was from when he fell off the balcony at Hyannisport.

Frank: What a beautiful color. So much like her. Pink. Pink. Pink.

Lawford: Do you want me to do something about it?

Peter: Look inside motives. Wittgenstein. Language of limits instead of limits of language.

Bobby: Can you be my assistant -- help me to a more orderly state -- bring her to me, to this altering place -- we'll wear robes, you can light our candles -- we'll flicker in the best of worlds, blessed by a most excellent tranquilizing spirit, we'll bathe in holy waters in nature's great, majestic insanity ---

Lawford: Go for a walk on the beach. I'll bring her straightaway.

Bobby: And I will wait, content, upon whose nature, nurture can never stick.

Lawford: Nurtured idle tide. Eat or say the word of wind, brazen flame, or wonderment takings.

We have wired for armament, sins for self-abasement. Brochured severe, the future cannot happen if now has not been placed.

Film. Prefigurations of the past.

Bobby: Constructing history? Give me a cigarette.

Lawford: Smoke-stained eyes.

Bobby: We'll see the icon through smoke. Don't ask.

Lawford: We have already experienced the moment of our death.

Can you bear it?

Bobby: Where's Marilyn?

Lawford: Oh, they're busy trying to make it look like a murder.

She offed herself last night. Of course it was all a stupid mistake. Hers was the classic cry for help.

Bobby: Dead? Marilyn?

Lawford: In a manner of speaking, yes.

Bobby: Perhaps my suicide will look like a murder, too.

Lawford: It's all in how you pay for it.

Bobby: With witnesses?

Lawford: With footage.

Bobby: Will you help me get rid of the graffiti on the fence?

Someone thought it would be funny to write something.

Lawford: Yeah, I saw it.

Bobby: "Quinn Obis 5-Alarm Chili." What's that?

Lawford: Oh. I thought it said something else.

Bobby: Maybe a new restaurant's opening up.

Lawford: Or maybe a souvenir shop.

Bobby: In Malibu?

Lawford: In Xanadu.

Bobby: Suicide can extend to film projects, don't you think?

Lawford: It's all the same. Murder. Intent. Text.

Bobby: Indeterminacy?

Lawford: No. Too reductive.

Bobby: I need another cigarette.

Lawford: Hey, Frank! (shouts at Frank, who has been painting his fingernails.)

(The exit together. Frank follows, after waving his hands in the air to dry his nails, and depositing the bottle of nail polish on the table.)


Special thanks to the editors
of the magazines and journals
where some of these
first appeared:

Peter Ganick
Thomas Lowe Taylor
Ed Foster
Stephen Ellis

note: any resemblance to people
living or dead
is part of the intertextuality
of culture, text, and identity
that this work challenges.

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