Montgomery Clift Talks in that Slow, Rounded Way of Someone Desperately Drunk

Marilyn Monroe caresses the ailing rodeo rider
 who leans against her polka dots
outside the Dayton Bar in Nevada, those polka dots
 all over her dress, like mumps, and the car door
open where they both share the same close-up.
 The misfits broken up inside and out,
Montgomery no longer the pretty boy—

his scars covered up by makeup—and the camera like a thief
 stealing from beauty, showing his cheekbones
sculpted into something hard as hubcaps, after his accident
 on Sunset Boulevard, coming down that steep hill
from Liz Taylor’s party, while they were shooting Raintree County.
 All that Hollywood in him gone: broken teeth pulled
out of his choking throat, his sports car wrapped around a pole—

in every gesture now something’s damaged, and Marilyn Monroe,
 that mother, aging more each frame of film
and avoiding the camera, as if her face would explode
 from what she felt down deep.
In John Huston’s movie death always speaks between silences.
 Let the cameras run, he says.
Perce Howland, a cowboy forbidden to return to his ranch,

since his mother remarried. His life buried in gauze with all
 those family secrets that he claws at—
the earth mother in her white hair not blonde
 or any earthly color but a lie. She finds the screeching crash
 again in his forehead, in thelongest suicide
talked about in Hollywood. Her skintight dress looking
 for the next cue through each busty breath
 swimming under the hot lights,
in the last movie she’ll ever make.

 

 

 

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