A 1968 work by the Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, who died earlier this year.
The Death of Marilyn Monroe
What innocence? Whose guilt? What eyes? Whose breast?
Crumpled orphan, nembutal bed,
white hearse, Los Angeles,
DiMaggio! Los Angeles! Miller! Los Angeles! America!
That Death should seem the only protector –
That all arms should have faded, and the great cameras and lights
become an inquisition and a torment –
That the many acquaintances, the autograph-hunters, the
inflexible directors, the drive-in admirers should become
a blur of incomprehension and pain –
That lonely Uncertainty should limp up, grinning, with
bewildering barbiturates, and watch her undress and lie
down and in her anguish
call for him! call for him to strengthen her with what could
only dissolve her! A method
of dying, we are shaken, we see it. Strasberg!
Los Angeles! Olivier! Los Angeles! Others die
and yet by this death we are a little shaken, we feel it,
Let no one say communication is a cantword.
They had to lift her hand from the bedside telephone.
But what she had not been able to say
perhaps she had said. ‘All I had was my life.
I have no regrets, because if I made
any mistakes, I was responsible.
There is now – and there is the future.
What has happened is behind. So
it follows you around? So what?’ – This
to a friend, ten days before.
And so she was responsible.
And if she was not responsible, not wholly responsible, Los Angeles?
Los Angeles? Will it follow you around? Will the slow
white hearse of the child of America follow you around?
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