Red Lipstick Kisses


I visited Marilyn’s grave last week. My friend Shelley and I were very excited to make this pilgrimage. I think we both had the feeling that this was something that we were meant to do since we were very young. You can watch a short video about our adventure here.

It was a beautiful and peaceful location although it was sandwiched between a parking garage and a sky scraper. We had some trouble finding it but once we did there was a sense of being welcomed into a secret place.

One of the most striking things was the way that Marilyn’s crypt was deeper in color than the others. As I got closer I saw the reason.  For years visitors had been kissing and touching the marble. The oils from hands and red lipstick kisses have polished the marble to a beautiful glow.

Two days later I heard about the bombings in Boston while at work. I spent the week glued to the media hoping to catch some piece of information that could make it make sense but none came.

Determined to take a break from the news, I listened to a recent podcast from Buddhist teacher Tara Brach. She led us through a contemplation where we imagined what we would do if we had one year to live. At this point I thought about this project and why I feel compelled to complete it. Then she had us imagine a month to live and I thought about my family & friends and letting them know how much I love them. Then a week and I thought about picking up my husband from work and just holding each other, kissing each other’s tears. Lastly, we imagined that we only had a few minutes left. The first thought that came to mind was that the only thing left to do in these last moments is to realize how truly good I am. And completely forgive myself all the times I forgot.

That Saturday before the bombings I too touched the smooth silky marble of Marilyn’s crypt. All those touches and kisses seemed to say “I care about your suffering and I see how good you are.” I wonder how long I can hold this aspiration in my heart before I forget again.

9 thoughts on “Red Lipstick Kisses

      1. I bet. I’ve been to the spot in Hollywood where she put her hands–but I wasn’t quite the MM fan then as I am today. Have you ever read the play ‘After the Fall’, Arthur Miller’s thinly veiled play about their marriage?

      2. I haven’t read After the Fall, although I did read Timebends his autobiography with special interest in the Marilyn parts. I found it kind of illuminating in that he still felt so tender about her but they were not able to sustain the relationship. I heard that he kind of threw her under the bridge in After the Fall, which he got a lot of flack for.

      3. Well, a few years back I played his first wife in the play, and it was such an amazing experience. I would say that it is a fair account of their marriage. What kind of chaps me is that he claimed it wasn’t about her, but it’s all there–the journal he just happened to leave out for her to find, that spoke about his frustrations with her. Miller had said that there was a monster inside of MM, and it conflicted greatly with the beauty and the sex appeal, and this angelic innocence that always brought him back. “Maggie” in After the Fall, is deeply complex, almost impossible to love and Miller’s character is devastated because his love wasn’t enough to save her.

      4. That was kind of the impression I got from the book too. He said something like you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I guess maybe he was trying to protect her by saying it wasn’t about her. I will have to read the play now. I think we know so much more about her lately with her journals being published and My Week With Marilyn. Did you see the film?

  1. I think you’d be interested in the play…it’s a very intimate glimpse into their marriage. I reread it after reading a bio and a this book called the “The Secret Letters of Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy”, which are obviously fictional letters written by an actual historian, that has since been turned into a play–(delish beach read by the way).

    I did see the film, and I really liked it. I think professionally speaking, MM would have been a nightmare–and any film maker (like Billy Wilder) would say that it took so much effort to make that onscreen magic happen. Did you ever see “Prince and the Showgirl”, the movie that they are making in “Week…”?


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