Image Source – AP
I am a huge Doors fan, so when I saw an article about the auctioning of what may be Jim Morrison’s last poem written while he was in Paris, I had to check it out.
According to the article, it’s not sure whether this was his last poem, but it is the last poem in the notebook that was found among his possessions.
“Obviously, we don’t know if it’s the last thing he ever wrote … but it was among the last things he ever wrote – certainly.”
“What stands out is the fact that the one on page 152 was indeed the last page of the notebook,” said Lipman. “I actually saw the notebook when it was intact years ago and I remember seeing that last page and those last words and thinking, ‘Wow, this is pretty powerful stuff.’“
What stands out the most for me in this poem is the line: “I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness.” Morrison was a very heavy drinker and one can assume he drank as much as he did as a way to escape the pressures of fame. There were also rumors of heroin use during his last days in Paris, certainly another drug of forgetfulness. But personally, I think Jim, who was always obsessed with death, sensed that he was nearing the end. As such, I see the drug of forgetfulness as symbolic of the river Lethe which runs through Hades. According to Greek mythology, the souls of the dead were required to drink from the river Lethe in order to forget their earthly life. I suspect Jim was ready to forget his earthly life before breaking on through to the other side.
Last words, Last words
Image from Film: American Sniper
I confess that I have not seen “American Sniper” yet, but I am certainly aware of the controversy surrounding this film and plan to see it at some point. I try not to judge something based upon others’ opinions or media hype, but all the publicity made me think of a snippet of poetry from Jim Morrison’s The Lords and the New Creatures:
The sniper’s rifle is an extension of his eye.
He kills with injurious vision.
This idea has haunted me for years. I think that it is impossible to act, no matter how impulsively, without envisioning the act first in your mind’s eye. This may just be a split second in some cases. We may not even be aware that we are envisioning an act before we commit it. But I firmly believe that every act and every event begins with a thought, and thought is creative, internal visualization. We can choose to have injurious vision, or healing vision, but make no mistake; reality is a direct result of our vision.
Jim Morrison died 43 years ago, but people are still curious about his death. Recently, Marianne Faithfull revealed that her former boyfriend, Jean de Breteuil, provided Morrison with the fatal dose of heroin. Click here to read the article.
Anyway, the news made me think about Jim and the Doors, so I located my copy of The Lords and the New Creatures and skimmed through it. The following excerpt caught my attention.
Cinema returns us to anima, religion of matter,
which gives each thing its special divinity and
sees gods in all things and beings.
Cinema, heir of alchemy, last of an erotic science.
Film is certainly an alchemical art. It combines visual imagery, written word, music and sound. Because film communicates both visually and audibly, it is the art form which provides the ideal escape, allowing us to immerse ourselves and temporarily lose our connection with the real world. It is when we lose that connection that we open ourselves to the divine essence within, or the anima. That moment when we connect with our divine essence is similar to sexual ecstasy.
While I concede that much of Morrison’s poetry could be classified as the scattered thoughts of a drunken individual, there are some moments of brilliance, as demonstrated by this passage. His poems also provide us insight into the workings of a creative genius who left us too soon.
I love The Doors and I am a huge fan of Jim Morrison’s writing, but I have to admit that some of what was posthumously published as “poetry” is really nothing more than the scribbled thoughts of someone who was way too stoned for his own good. Much of what is in Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison falls into this category. The following poem, though, is one of the better pieces in the collection.
I can make the earth stop in
its tracks. I made the
blue cars go away.
I can make myself invisible or small.
I can become gigantic & reach the
farthest things. I can change
the course of nature.
I can place myself anywhere in
space or time.
I can summon the dead.
I can perceive events on other worlds,
in my deepest inner mind,
& in the minds of others.
On one level, Morrison is expressing how his music and poetry has the power to influence the world around him. Art has the ability to speak directly to another person’s subconscious mind. It is also an expression of the artist’s inner thoughts and being. Through the sharing of music and poetry, people are able to catch glimpses of their inner selves, something that is very difficult to achieve by ordinary interaction.
But I think Jim is tapping in to something deeper and more arcane here, whether consciously or by accident. Thought is energy, and when directed and focused, that energy can affect the world around us. The latest discoveries in physics support this. Every one of us has the ability to initiate change using our minds. In addition, shifts in consciousness allow us to perceive other dimensions. In states of heightened awareness, we can tap into the collective unconscious and connect with the thoughts of others, living or dead. Morrison is expressing this power in the poem, a power that not only he has, but which all of us have, whether we are aware of that ability or not. And to become aware of that power, all one needs to do is open the “Doors of Perception.”
I’m a big Doors fan. I could not even attempt to guess at the number of hours I spent sitting and listening to their music. And as a reader of poetry, it should be no surprise that I have also read Jim Morrison’s poetry. Anyway, this morning I picked up my copy of Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 1 and randomly flipped to a poem, which I am including in this post courtesy of Huddersfield One website.
he enters stage:
Blood boots. Killer storm.
Fool’s gold. God in a heaven.
Where is she?
Have you seen her?
Has anyone seen this girl?
snap shot (projected)
She’s my sister.
Ladies & gentlemen:
please attend carefully to these words & events
It’s your last chance, our last hope.
In this womb or tomb, we’re free of the swarming streets.
The black fever which rages is safely out those doors
My friends & I come from
Far Arden w/ dances, &
Everywhere followers accrue
to our procession.
Tales of Kings, gods, warriors
and lovers dangled like
jewels for your careless pleasure
Can you dig it.
My meat is real.
My hands–how they move
balanced like lithe demons
My hair–so twined and writhing
The skin of my face–pinch the cheeks
My flaming sword tongue
spraying verbal fire-flys
But I’m not an ordinary man
No No No
What I like about this poem is that it gives us a glimpse into how it must have felt for Jim to be on stage. It is my understanding that The Doors saw music as a way to alter consciousness. Morrison considered himself to be a shaman leading the audience into other realms. And as a musician, I can relate to a lot of what is expressed here. There is something that is ineffable which occurs when musician and audience connect on a spiritual level. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced it on occasions, but I could not express that feeling any better than Jim does in the above poem.
I think my favorite lines in this poem are “My flaming sword tongue/spraying verbal fire-flys.” There is some cool symbolism here. First, the flaming sword evokes the image of the cherubim guarding the Garden of Eden, so Jim’s words could be seen as a gateway to the Edenic state. In addition, the flaming sword offers light, hence the lyrics could also be seen as sources of illumination. Finally, his sharp words can also cut and burn, effectively destroying the established paradigms to make way for new levels of consciousness.
If you are a Doors fan as I am, I encourage you to buy a copy of Jim’s book. There are some very good poems in there and it would be a worthy addition to your book collection.