Ramona Herdman – Marilyn

Ramona Herdman

Here’s a poem from upcoming podcast guest Ramona Herdman. Ramona lives in Norwich and her latest pamphlet, ‘A warm and snouting thing’, was published by The Emma Press in September 2019. It is shortlisted for the 2020 East Anglian Book Awards.

Marilyn

How can we blame you for blurring life
with alcohol and barbiturates,
when we all want to rub our faces blind
on your soft stomach, your breasts,

have you breathe sad bourbon fumes
into our mouths, sing a song
then sparkle a quip, tap a tune
in perfect syncopation?

You were born with one bit of luck (your looks)
and you used it like a mountain –
years of work, snow-blindness, crampon hooks,
and the whole of your life climbing.

They tell your marriages like a fairy tale –
the boy next door, the sports star,
the sensitive intellectual –
like counting to three means happy ever after.

Holly Golightly was written for you:
wild animal, living on change
for the restroom. The mean reds, the blues.
Poor slob, poor cat with no name.

Marilyn, you’re the ghost of trying.
Snowfield face and sequinned sheath.
Work and wanting and wanting in that white-out smile.
You make me hold my breath.

I watch you shimmy, in clothes too tight to walk in –
jello on springs, kissing Hitler – in heels that hurt,
thigh sliding round thigh, down the platform.
Hassled by steam and a wah-wah tune. Perfect.

R.Herdman

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