Adonis Diaries

Marilyn Monroe wrote poems and much more

Posted on: August 9, 2016

Five things: Marilyn Monroe

WHEN her career first picked up, Marilyn Monroe forewent the typical starlet route of extravagant partying and instead enrolled in night classes at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Having never graduated from high school, she was a voracious reader throughout her career, leaving behind a 400-book library with works by Milton, Dostoyevsky, Whitman, Hemingway and Kerouac.

Monroe would occasionally write, jotting down notes and poems on hotel stationery, scrap paper and the first few pages of new journals.

Nearly 50 years after her death, these bits of writings have been collected and published as a beautiful book, “Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters“, edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment.

The glossy pages feature photo reproductions of the hand- and type-written originals—complete with arrows, crossed-out words and spelling mistakes—along with biographical sketches and some captivating and occasionally silly pictures of Marilyn reading the greats.

Monroe was very private with this work, revealing it to only a few friends and intimates. These personal fragments now lend a charming glimpse into her psyche, and also capture some of her pain.

At times she shows a real talent for poetry and its rhythm, and uses the disquiet in herself to capture the humanity around her.

Arthur Miller, her third and last husband, once said about her: “To have survived she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes.”

Here are five particularly poignant fragments from the book.

On travelling by bus to Salinas:
I was the only person
woman with about
sixty Italian fisherman…such charming gentleman…
and (they hoped) fish were
waiting for them. Some
could hardly speak English
not only do I love Greeks
(illegible) I love Italians.
they’re warm, lusty and friendly as hell—I’d love to go to
Italy someday

On sailors:
I saw a lot of lonely young
sailors who/ they looked too
young to be so sad. They reminded me of
young slender trees still growing & painful

On trees:
Sad sweet trees—
I wish for you—rest
but you must be wakeful

On love:
My love sleeps besides me—
in the faint light…
but he will look like this when he is dead
oh unbearable fact inevitable
yet sooner would I rather his love die
than/ or him?

And marriage:
I guess I have always been
deeply terrified to really be someone’s
since I know from life
one cannot love another,
ever, really

Fragments Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters Marilyn Monroe(Farrar, Straus and Giroux), edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment“, is out now

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