After the shoot on Long Island’s Cedar Beach
they drove next to a local playground.
While Eve loaded her camera, Marilyn sat
on some play equipment and read a book –
her worn copy of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’,
which she kept in her car, and had been reading
for some time, often aloud to get it’s sense.
(She looks to be about nine tenths through
so into Molly Bloom’s unpunctuated
soliloquy of love and longing).
This photograph of a pretty woman
in her late twenties, tanned, wearing short shorts
and a stripy top, reading an egghead’s book
was greeted with incredulity, “Oh yeah!” –
and, more harshly, “The thinking man’s shiksa!“.
Among the four hundred and thirty books
auctioned after her death were works by Flaubert,
Freud, Aristotle, Housman, as well as Joyce.
She was on Long Island that day visiting
her friend the poet Norman Rosten,
one of the last people she spoke to
the day before she died. Long before they met
he wrote, ‘Morning meets memory/and kills it’.