Marilyn Monroe is nothing less than an icon. Mention Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and hers is one face that flashes in people’s minds even 50 years after her death. Of course, all most of us know about her is the image and maybe the legends behind the image. But what she gave the world was an object of pure, lustful desire.
And that is the image seared into the mind of the speaker in Charles Rammelkamp’s “Some Like It Hot.” He is watching the movie of the same name and is swept up in vivid fantasies where he is entangled in Marilyn’s body in various settings. There is something about Marilyn that draws men, and even a few women, in, makes us want to not only have her, but in some ways, make her feel loved. Granted, she worked at presenting that image. How much of it was Norma Jean Baker vs. the Hollywood sex symbol we know as Marilyn is hard to say. Many have tried to duplicate that rare combination of seduction and beauty, but somehow, it always seems to come up short. Witness how Jayne Mansfield was packaged and presented as “the new Marilyn Monroe,” and yet her daughter, Mariska Hargitay, seems more desirable. Maybe it’s because Mariska Hargitay is not trying to be something that came before, whereas Jayne wasn’t given a choice.
But you can’t duplicate an original. People have tried to replicate The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, copy the James Bond movies and Star Trek. We have knock-off products based on something that caught unexpectedly and writers trying to imitate JK Rowling and James Patterson and even copycat crimes. But you can’t really duplicate something that evolved on its own. Like anything that captures our collective imagination, or in this case, our collective lust, it happens by accident. Marilyn Monroe struck the right pose at the right time and made all the right moves when we noticed her. You can’t duplicate that because no one was looking for it.
Here’s Charles Rammelkamp’s poem from The 5-2:
Give us this day our daily lust,
in the heart,
as Jesus would have it,
adultery no less a fact for merely thinking it.
I sit in the darkened theater
watching Marilyn Monroe singing
“I’m Through with Love,”
wrapped up in a gangster fantasy
accompanied by an aching erection,
me fucking the daylights out of her,
over and over and over
on the train down from Chicago,
in the Miami Beach hotel,
on Osgood Fielding’s yacht,
a cinematic fantasy so vivid,
I swear I smell those female odors;
my nostrils dilate
like flowers opening to morning light
and my fingertips feel
the viscous female fluids.
More than a fleeting thought, a passing desire,
but then again,
nothing more than thought, either.
The lights come on.
The movie’s over.
The 5-2 Blog Tour continues. Check out the tour dates and previous posts here.
You can find the poems of the 5-2 here.