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Helen In Hollywood

 When she goes to Hollywood
she is an angel.
She writes in red red lipstick on the window of her body, long for me, oh need me! Parts her lips like a lotus.
Opening night she stands, poised on her carpet, luminescent, young men humming all around her.
She is flying.
Her high heels are wands, her furs electric.
Her bracelets flashing.
How completely dazzling her complexion, how vibrant her hair and eyes, how brilliant the glow that spreads four full feet around her.
She is totally self conscious self contained self centered, caught in the blazing central eye of our attention.
We infuse her.
Fans, we wave at her like handmaids, unabashedly, we crowd on tiptoe pressed together just to feel the fission of the star that lives on earth, the bright, the angel sun the luminescent glow of someone other than we.
Look! Look! She is different.
Medium for all our energy as we pour it through her.
Vessel of light, Her flesh is like flax, a living fiber.
She is the symbol of our dreams and fears and bloody visions, all our metaphors for living in America.
Harlowe, Holiday, Monroe Helen When she goes to Hollywood she is the fire for all purposes.
Her flesh is like dark wax, a candle.
She is from any place or class.
"That's the one," we say in instant recognition, because our breath is taken by her beauty, or what we call her beauty.
She is glowing from every pore.
we adore her.
we imitate and rob her adulate envy admire neglect scorn.
leave alone invade, fill ourselves with her.
we love her, we say and if she isn't careful we may even kill her.
Opening night she lands on her carpet, long fingered hands like divining rods bobbing and drawing the strands of our attention, as limousine drivers in blue jackets stand on the hoods of their cars to see the angel, talking Davis, Dietrich, Wood Tyson, Taylor, Gabor Helen, when she goes to Hollywood to be a walking star, to be an actor She is far more that a product of Max Factor, Max Factor didn't make her though the make-up helps us see what we would like to take her for her flesh is like glass, a chandelier a mirror Harlowe, Holiday, Monroe Helen when she went to Hollywood to be an angel And it is she and not we who is different She who marries the crown prince who leads the processional dance, she who sweeps eternally down the steps in her long round gown.
A leaping, laughing leading lady, she is our flower.
It is she who lies strangled in the bell tower; she who is monumentally drunk and suicidal or locked waiting in the hightower, she who lies sweating with the vicious jungle fever, who leaps from her blue window when he will, if he will, leave her it is she and not we who is the lotus It is she with the lilies in her hair and a keyboard beside her, the dark flesh glowing She whose wet lips nearly swallow the microphone, whose whiskey voice is precise and sultry and overwhelming, she who is princess and harlequin, athlete and moll and whore and lady, goddess of the silver screen the only original American queen and Helen when she was an angel when she went to Hollywood

Poem by Judy Grahn
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