Poem – Kathleen Hellen

How they took a thing down to its parts

“So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes
— an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.”

— Marilyn Monroe

They couched their cocks, the awkward situation.
Would Miss So-and-So read over lines of dialogue?
And so the lurid melodrama played out pulpy. Operatic.
In harem pants and topless. The veiled sadism.
How to put it? Like: No girls allowed
unless you were the kind they’d take
up to the loft, behind the lumber yard.
In punk garages lit with gasoline,
like napalm on their fingers.
Here’s how they laid out the plot.
Would she “dine” with the producer?
With several in auditions?
They loved her deeply, briefly (not enough).
How to put it? Giving her the brush?

Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Only Country was the Color of My Skin, the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Letters and CommentaryBarrow StreetCimarron Review, Colorado Review, The Massachusetts ReviewNew American Writing, New Letters, North American ReviewPoetry East, and West Branch, among others. Hellen has won the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review.

Image via Flickr

Submit a comment