An Ode to The Japanese Marilyn Monroe by Stephen J. Golds

International Noir, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen J. Golds, Travel

japanese maralyn

Art is by Julie Nicolle.

An Ode to The Japanese Marilyn Monroe


When I first met you in that darkened bar, 

I thought you were 

a Japanese Marilyn Monroe.

Your lips mouthed sex, 

your eyes whispered laugher and 

your hair spoke dyed 

ash blonde electricity. 

Sex and beauty were always

your currencies and 

you almost bankrupted me.


Towards the end 

we were just two people 

slow dancing in the dark and 

stabbing each other 

to death

in a damp attic.

You killed me 

many times

but you always 

knew how to do that best.


A friend got to showing me 

your wedding photo the other night. 

And perhaps I caught your eyes 

for the final time in that darkened bar. 

But this time 

you were wearing the long ivory dress 

of a proud bride, 

not the short skirt and 

easy smile 

of an easy party girl. 


I saw the guy stood crookedly 

next to you in a cheap suit, 

who seemed a poor imitation of me. 

I wondered 

if that was deliberate 

on your part 

but I doubted it.

I looked at the woman 

in the photograph and

I still saw the Japanese Marilyn Monroe. 


I saw the woman 

who tossed the diamond necklace 

I’d bought her off 

a downtown Hanoi hotel balcony 

into the deep blue 

of a swimming pool below. 

Who kissed me softly 

on the face in a back alley clap clinic 

after a Friday lunch and 

after six shades of roses. 


I saw the woman 

who had sent me images of her

shallow self harms, and

who made all those suicide late night calls. 

I saw the woman 

who had made me breathless 

with any number of injuries that I’ve come to

avoid acknowledging like a war torn vet. 

You were my Okinawa,

my Viet Nam, my Iraq and my Somme.


I saw the woman 

who had laughed at the most 

unsociable of times, and 

the girl who’d gone to her knees 

in the most unlikely of locales. 

Who loved to fuck 

everywhere but between sheets. 

Who’d worn my shirts around the apartment 

and my sunglasses swaying in the park and 

who had lied about being on birth control. 


I always imagined 

seeing your wedding photograph 

would bring back 

a lot of the undead and unhealed,

but I just gulped at my warm beer and 

wondered if the guy stood haphazardly 

next to you knew exactly 

what he was getting himself into. 

Marilyn Monroe had been 

a very sad and a very sick woman after all.

Stephen J. Golds was born in the U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. Glamour Girl Gone, his debut novel, will be released by Close to The Bone Press  on January 29th, 2021.