“I Wanna Be Loved By You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe” (including “Labials” by Bill Mohr)

February 25, 2022 — FRIDAY

I Wanna Be Loved By You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe
Edited by Susana H. Case and Margo Stever

Last night, beginning at 7 p.m. on the East Coast, there was a reading on Zoom to celebrate the recent publication of an anthology honoring the cultural legacy of the iconic mid-century actress, Marilyn Monroe. It was still late afternoon in the workday for me, of course, and I didn’t end up joining the reading until near the end. I look forward, therefore, to watching what I missed and want to say that I appreciate being allowed to read my contribution to this project at the end of the program.

Many thanks, too, to Malaika King Albrecht for hosting the reading as part of her Redhair Stepchild series.


To listen to the reading:

To order the book:

I Wanna Be Loved By You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe

“This anthology compiles poems about Marilyn Monroe from an array of contemporary poets, among them Gwendolyn Brooks, Ted Berrigan, and Frank O’Hara, and includes a poem by Marilyn Monroe herself. The introduction by Lois Banner provides context for the life of the iconic American celebrity, while the poems gathered here demonstrate Monroe’s cultural and emotional impact.”

Here is my poem in this collection:


for Marilyn Monroe

Letters pronounced by lips:
m, p, b. Your name bounces
a pair of m’s, a hum of men
at movies. Your pictures
clipped from magazines
billow like frothing clouds
before a clump of a storm.

The wretchedness of beauty
is they only notice you and not
what your eyes linger on,
an amethyst glass knob
at the end of a gear shift.

Your masseuse fingers your chin.
She’s seen a thousand figures
spray up from behind: legs
arching into waists and shoulders
but when they spin around, each face
withers faster than chrysanthemums
in a tall vase. Your glow promises
what any woman, adored,
wants to promise only once.

On a hot summer night, a boat’s
anchored to a bobbing slosh.
A reclining man knows which line
was meant for Marilyn —
“I don’t feel anything any more.”
Isn’t that what a woman says
when she yearns to be stunned?
Love should be perfect, but no one is,
until the heart you’ve won is your own.

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