Life//I am of both your directions
She knew then, the blond mid-century explosion, that she
(and everyone, really) was going north/south, east/west
(everywhere, really) at the same time.

There is always bridges…with all those cars going crazy underneath
and she shared this knowledge/this bridge with us
(although, she didn’t know that at the time) on stationery
from the Parkside Hotel in London and in the Record notebook
and the green Italian diary, this knowledge of the crazy underneath

one’s own truth is just that really — one’s own truth….one/is for most part alone.
and she didn’t expect us (but wanted us) to believe her alone,
not project our oceans of fear and desire onto the sewn-into see-through dress

It is a determination not to be overwhelmed
she, who took it all in and twisted herself to be the perfect ________ (we filled in the blank)

Life//I am of both your directions
while underneath it was all up/down, in/out, over/under, /glitter/thunder

The truth can only be recalled
(But what do we) remember—a see-through dress, a blown-up skirt,
that diamonds were her best friends?

it can never be invented
What we think we know is invention. She tried to tell us
north/south, east/west, different directions/ different women,
all at the same time.

(These quotes were selected from Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe, edited by Bernard Comment (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012).)

Share this
Continue Reading
About the Author

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books, including, The Mercy of Traffic, winner of the Phillip H. McMath 2020 Post-Publication Award and five chapbooks. Her work appears in Atlanta Review, Mom Egg Review, pacificREVIEW and this spring Doubleback Books reprinted her 2008 book, Discount Fireworks as a free download.