Marilyn’s Pose

Marilyn's Pose- Illustration by Chuka Susan Chesney.jpg

Illustration by Chuka Susan Chesney

I haven’t heard back from you yet,

though I’ve carved your eye into paper fifty times.


If you had been born in 1959 and lived up the street,

we could have been friends.

I know you better than I did

before I dampened your eye, smudging it into nothingness

next to your flash of hair.

Your mother came over and swam in our pool.

She had pubic hair that grew

next to her bathing suit. She taught me how to swim.

The lips, now that’s something.

Lips that curve up into a saucer at one end, but at the other

spill into darkness and a cup of caved-in hand.

One time I saw you getting changed in the dressing room.

I saw how big your breasts were, and I didn’t want to be your friend.

I am sorry I felt that way.

Now that we’re headed down your body,

let’s talk about that quiet, purple world next to your arm,

next to the most vulnerable lines, fragile lines.


Is it a lie,

or are you just as human

as any woman with your big wooden elbow that works

its way into the shadowed bed sheet?

We put naked Barbies in a bucket and said it was a hot tub;

I played with Stacy and you played with P.J.

Did he spray the room with Chanel #5 to get it ready for you?

X beauty out with something beautiful, something red.

Now X is gone, and all we have left is this piece of paper.

A graduate of Art Center College of Design, CHUKA SUSAN CHESNEY is an emerging artist who lives in Los Angeles. Her drawings and paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States. Recently, she collaborated with Laura Madeline Wiseman, a poet, on a book called People Like Cats. In secret, often very late at night, Chesney has been writing poems. She often uses her own art as inspiration for her poetry.