Marilyn Monroe
Is Dead

Henry J. Morro

When Marilyn Monroe stepped on that iron grate,
her skirt billowing like a parachute,
I fell in love with her white skin and her blond hair,

and when I returned home
I broke the mariachi music on the stereo,
songs of women sleeping in buses,
buses filled with men lugging chickens and knives
through Panama and El Salvador,
migrating across the immense Mexican desert
to the fiery border.

We had come to this country
for the TVs and the Cadillacs,
for the money and the skyscrapers.
When I saw Marilyn's shimmering legs,
I was ashamed of my dark skin
and ashamed of the Latinas
and their sweet-fifteen debutante parties,
where girls became women,
without ever touching a man's body,
without ever touching my brown body.

And whenever my Uncle Reynaldo
showed up with his blond wife,
his brothers would flirt with her,
in their thick accents,
in their busboy English,
offering her their own crooked words,
shaped while working sixteen hours a day
in the kitchens, in the boiler rooms, in the factories,
working sixteen hours a day
to break through the language.

Marilyn Monroe is dead and I feel the dark
Indian blood that has run
silent for hundreds of years,
coming back;
I feel the language of peasants and machetes,
of machine guns and priests,
of gods and flesh,
the language that built the pyramids and temples,
cathedrals and plantations,
that sacrificed virgins,
that fought the Marines,
I feel that dark
language coming back.

--- From Corpses of Angels
©2000 Bombshelter Press
Box 481266
Los Angeles 90048

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