Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Marilyn and Tru sitting in a tree...

"Marilyn Monroe and Truman Capote Dance" By Patrick Ryan Frank. - Slate Magazine:

This is intended to be a lyric of sweet imagining, a tale of what if the tragic likes of Monroe and Capote solace, at least briefly, in each other's arms. Of course it would during a dance, a room full of sweeping music, the senses lulled , seduced and distracted from the grimmer things that lurk for both of them outside the room, with one of the two speaking that now is the moment to be in, that nothing else really matters nor should bother them, not as long as one of them leads and the other follows in time to the music. 

Just a dance— just sweet, like everybody sweetly else, a man and woman sweetly moved. I know no one forgets the ugly things they’ve known, and yes, I know that love, for us, is sweat and panic and some cameras, but it’s still love, and we’ve done nothing wrong. So let them laugh and then forget it all: those drinks and pills, hands wet, that man who, grinning, made us dance so here we are, we’re dancing. Let’s just pretend that one of us—who would remember who?— slipped through the grand and glittered dark and said, Hello, fella. Hello and take my hand. 
 
Poet Patrick Ryan Frank does a fine of sustaining a tone that keeps the poem's speaker anonymous--it appears that neither the personas of Monroe or Capote are speaking, issues of gender and sexuality are handily avoided, or at least obscured to the extent that it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that both dancers are speaking as one. Still, this is something you find in a paperback novel that purports to reveal some inside secrets of the famous, powerful and tragic that reduces their stature to the mere sentimentality . The references to drugs, to media, to a world in general that seeks them out and in order to both adore and destroy them , are to be expected in a piece that cannot re-imagine these iconic figures beyond an interesting premise.


 This fails both as poetry and barely qualifies as gossip, albeit a well-intentioned gossip. This might have been a poem that speculated about a what sort of plausible but unexpected set of things these two might have discussed in such close embrace,the irony and tension might have been subtly and intensely expressed without reference to their real world celebrity, but Frank has done otherwise. Rather than imagine what was inside the magic space between them, that mutual private time where titles, professions and other signifieds fell from them, it becomes merely tacky, an episode of "Dallas". Why would be interested with such trivia this poem offers? 

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