“No water so still as the
dead fountains of Versailles.” No swan,
with swart blind look askance
and gondoliering legs, so fine
as chintz china one with fawn-
brown eyes and toothed gold
collar on to show whose bird it was.
Lodged in the Louis Fifteenth
candelabrum-tree of cockscomb-
tinted buttons, dahlias,
sea-urchins, and everlastings,
it perches on the branching foam
of polished sculptured
flowers—at ease and tall. The king is dead.
(Marianne Moore, 1932.)
“One day she abruptly asked me, ‘Do you like the nude, Elizabeth?’ I said yes I did on the whole. Marianne: ‘Well so do I, Elizabeth, but in moderation,’ and she immediately pressed on me a copy of Sir Kenneth Clark’s new book, The Nude, which had just been sent to her.”
(Elizabeth Bishop on Marianne Moore in “Efforts of Affection,” p.147 in Bishop’s Collected Prose.)
Is Mississippi Mississippi? Is there a Petula in Indiana? I was told by an art editor from Harper’s Bazaar I spoke with clarity.
I clipped a page from Life magazine showing Marilyn Monroe’s tomb stone which read Em Em 1926-1962. I was impressed by her dates. Like Joe. (Joe D.). Joe De Em. Joe Death. A playing card figure this way also that way. The card part of the Cardinals, a baseball team.
As William Wilson signing off on the telephone wittily said Tah Tah I did not get it and he said it was hat hat backwards. There is no necessity for two hats one does not have two heads but in scarpbook I kept as a a child (yes, scarpbook, not scrapbook. I did not glue down crap but carp. Now those fish did struggle with Elemrs glue in that book!) I treASUREd a photo of a two-headed turtle. ASURE is a mistake in useing the typewriter.
Marianne Moore is certainly not Marilyn Monroe. In collage, Marilyn’s head could be but on Marianne’s body. One could pretend to be someone one is not. Children’s play. I’ll be you and you be me. Be my valentine. Ray Johnson wearing Marianne Moore’s hat. Lend me your ears. May I have a pint of your blood? Can you lend me a dime? Can you spare a brother?
(Ray Johnson, typescript sent to William S. Wilson, November 2, 1966)