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  • Scott Williamson

Marilyn Writes a Letter: 30/30 Project

All month I've been writing with colleagues at Tupelo Press as part of their "30/30" project.

Here is my poem, slightly altered from Sunday, "Day 18." Thanks for reading, and if you are able, supporting my work and Tupelo with a charitable (tax-deductible) contribution.

Marilyn Monroe writes a letter

Dear J.:

Where have you been? I thought for sure I’d see you at a party here. It’s funny, the guys laugh and refer to the “good ol’ days,” but I don’t see what was so good about them. But knowing you, of course was special. Remember how nervous I was when we met? I couldn’t believe you wanted me, with a wife as glamorous as Jackie. But you said I was the best … lover you’d had!

I’m sure you remember me singing Happy Birthday to you? Oh my, I can’t! They gave me so many pills that whole week is blurred. The only thing I remember was finding myself in a dark room in the corner of the White House, surprised by your strong arm, as you held my head down on you, for what felt like forever... But that’s all in the past now. I was really upset with you then. I mean, how could you make my death look like an overdose so no one would suspect otherwise? I only wanted to be an artist.

I was a Siren for a time. I was there on November 22, 1963. A good Catholic would know that’s the patron Saint of Music, Cecilia’s Day. I was her angel of death. The dark eyes of my soul peered through the scope as my host did the deed I bade him. I thought I might find you here now, having completed your stages of hell as we all must. But maybe some men only get what they give.



Maria Callas and Marilyn Monroe

*N.B. This draft is part of a "poem in parts" portrait of Marilyn Monroe (currently called "My Year With Marilyn"). It was begun at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in 2014 at a workshop with the great poet (and mellifluous-voiced basso) Tim Siebles. I have a Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde-inspired draft, and a radio-play draft clumsily lifted from Beckett in the works, too.

We'll see What bothers to knock once I've edited all The Misfits... (I will try to edit out any remaining puns, too. Seriously, May your holidays be filled with real humor and lots of laughter!)

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