Before the fame, before the music, before the Doors,
before the blackouts, before the Miami shenanigans, and
the arrest and the banned venues and his untimely death
in a Paris bathtub, Jim Morrison, little Jimmy was a
long-haired film student, an anonymous drifter, a
son of a naval admiral, a punk, a dreamer, a trouble maker,
a voracious reader, a renegade, a genius, a demented
rambler fueled up on Kerouac and acid with his thumb to the skies,
hitching a ride west out of Florida with the poems of Rimbaud
in his back jean pocket.
Arriving and leaving, loitering on the fringes
of big cities, conversing with the outcasts, the hobos, the unwanted,
street lights gleaming on shards of beer-bottled glass sprinkled
in the alleys, a razor blade pulled to his throat one night
in New Orleans by the lover of an erotic lesbian
he tried to fuck in a dive bar.
Writing, reading, always writing, jotting down conscious
expanding thoughts in spiral notebooks, scraps of dialogue
overheard at rundown bars, passages laced with the
wisdom of Nietzsche & Joseph Campbell, poems too,
so many poems written as the whiskey sang in his veins.
One more pill, one more drink, hell yeah there it is, little Jimmy,
a drunken Dionysus in exile from the age of anxiety, man, a time
when the post war people were paralyzed by fear, their minds riddled
with a peculiar unease, everyone everywhere just blindly conforming
to the whims of their authority figures, shit man, they’ve become
walled-in, domesticated, tamed pets caged up in air-conditioned
paradises as widespread consumerism siphoned the souls
right out of their obedient little bodies. Not Jimmy though,
Jimmy wanted a great awakening. He wanted to break on through
to the other side, shatter the brittle walls that separated the infinite
from the finite, always straddling that fine line between life and death.
Poetry was the avenue Jim wanted to take, fuck everything else.
A poet is what he is, “the priest of the invisible”,
“the unacknowledged legislator of the world,”
to attain and reveal the unknown, to push the established limits,
to throw all the senses into a frenzy and help people see beyond
the imaginary horizons that confined them. Jimmy understood
that to become a poet you must live with a fierce intensity,
gulp down the chaos, revel in the sadness and despair, and yes,
even flirt with death so as to capture life as naked
and whole as possible. Jimmy saw that the people, the great masses,
have been led astray from the cosmic jungle and nudged into
the profane wilderness of modernity where they’ve lost contact
with the center of who they are.
On the road, on the road again because the west is the best,
arriving in Juarez at the midnight hour, big fat rats scurrying
across the damp dingy streets, little Jimmy sitting there spitting
his broken Spanish to Mexican prostitutes in a boozy cantina,
journeying deeper, ever so deeper to the end of the night, this is life,
Jimmy yells, hell yes, fuck it we’re all mad, up to Cali the next day,
California love, barefoot Jimmy, ditching his graduation to smoke dope
in the warm sands of Venice Beach with nothing but dirty jeans
and a ragged shirt he’s worn for 7 days straight, visions of
Indian blood on dawn’s highways, Shamanistic dreams during moonlit
drives, ride the snake, ride the snake to the end of the night
where the doors of perception will open for those who knock.
Summer of 65’ on a hot August day, Jimmy encounters an old film
school buddy by the name of Ray Manzarek walking along Venice Beach.
“Yo, Jimmy,” Rays says “what’cha been doing, man?”
“I’ve been writing, even wrote a few songs,” Jimmy says.
“Well shit, let’s hear ‘em.”
Jimmy kneels in the sand, collects his thoughts, and slowly sings…
Let’s swim to the moon/uh huh
Let’s climb through the tide
Penetrate the evenin’ that the
City sleeps to hide…
“Those are the greatest fuckin’ song lyrics I’ve ever
heard,” Ray says, “shit, let’s start a rock ‘n’ roll band
and make a million dollars.”
“Exactly,” Jim says with an ornery smirk and a subtle nod,
“that’s what I had in mind all along.”