Marilyn is and isn’t Marilyn

Silicone in her breasts, sponge on her hips,
A corset wrapped tightly around her body –
Now Marilyn is 36-24-36. And I am that Marilyn.
That Marilyn is and isn’t Marilyn.

I don’t know much about the world-famous goddess
Who was born to a family molded from suffering,
Born by a mother with a nervous breakdown,
And had arguments with her mother all her life
About her father whose identity she never knew.
But I know how to move my body like her.

I don’t know that she went through her puberty
At random orphanages and that there were men
Lurking around to snatch her virginity.
But I know if I wear red lipstick like her, making my lips
Look like wet and wild rose petals, and pout like her,
Every man will go mad.

I dye my short hair platinum blonde and make curls,
I have a distinctive black mole tattooed on my face,
I pull up the bra to enhance my cleavage,
And I put a pair of blue colored contact lenses
In my eyes that wear pitch-dark eyeliner.
I know if I stare with smoky cat eyes like her,
All men will turn their heads and walk into things.

I don’t know The Seven Year Itch,
I don’t know the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Cold War,
I don’t know anything about the Kennedy Brothers
And the president’s secret romantic nights with her,
I don’t know about FBI’s Kennedy Files,
I don’t know about the sleeping pills and tranquilizers,
I don’t know about her posing naked for 50 bucks,
I don’t know that she had traumas
And that she inflicted wounds on everyone around her,
I don’t know she had an ex-husband called Joe
Who continued to send flowers to her grave for 20 years.
And I know nothing about her work.
But I know she was sexy,
I know the power of her beauty,
I know she was famous,
I know she worked her way up from being poor.
I need to look like her; that’s my profession.
I need to dress like her; that’s my livelihood.
And I need to act like her; that’s my job.

In this studio, I am Marilyn.
The entry ticket includes a chance to take a photo with me.
When I blow a kiss, all of you will go wild and crazy.
I make a hundred sexy poses in front of the long queue.
When the playback of a passing subway train comes on,
I will stand on a metal frame with a fan blowing upward.
Then my white skirt will fly high and flutter.
Then I will, like Marilyn, try to catch my dress adorably.
I will blush and laugh.
My underwear will be the same color as my milky skin.
You will stare at me as intensely as the men from the ‘40s.
You will lust after me the same way men did girls ages ago.
You will think about me with the same fieriness
As men have done in all different stages of history.
You will gaze fixedly at the hem of my flying skirt,
My soft and milky thighs, little golden hair in my pores,
And my ravishing curves.
My boss knows very well whether I am Marilyn or not
Doesn’t matter to you because he knows
Something else is going on in your heads.
He isn’t Billy Wilder, but he understands the situation.
And I know it too.
This is our trade, our business.
Women admire my beauty, and men fantasize about it.
They all say: “This is the best part of the studio.”

I am and I am not Marilyn.

Eaindra
29 February 2016
Translated from the Burmese by Maung Day

– From Eaindra’s bilingual poetry collection A Poem Writes A Woman (long poems, translated into English by Maung Day, 2017)