Sunday, September 2, 2012

James Douglas Morrison, Poet: Observations on the Work - Pt 1

Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison (Wikipedia)
by LacieFae, on Waiting For The Sun:

So much of Jim Morrison’s life is a mystery to us.

We know almost nothing of his youth, not much which is certain about his passing, and very little really, about the years between.

But in some respects, his poetry might be regarded as the biggest mystery of all.

James Douglas Morrison's poetic legacy sprang up in a timing which was not particularly conducive to finding popularity on its own merit.

Too late to be a part of the Beat Generation lexicon, Jim’s work was destined to find itself in a situation which can only be described as abominable billing.

Not only did it follow such a potent performer as the Beat poetic, It’s pointedly mental focus was completely at odds with the world of confusion and swirling emotion which was the experience of the majority of Americans during that time.

Add to that its ubiquitous arcane literary, mythological and metaphysical references, and one would have expected his poetry books to go out of print in about a week. Yet his work has prevailed in a startling fashion; one would have to say it has triumphed in light of the aforementioned factors. Chalk it up to one more mysterious cosmic joke perpetrated by the master of mystery himself!

Jim’s poetry can perhaps best be characterized as drawing thematically from the Symbolist tradition and stylistically from the Beat poetic. Much of the work’s power lies in its ability to provide glimpses into a surreal alternate reality, accomplished through a minimalist style.

While Jim’s alternate reality was not in alignment with any reality we knew of, either in the physical or literary world, it was cohesive within the context of his own work. Recurring themes thought to be benign, even blessed, in our physical reality, undergo disturbing transformations within the world of Jim’s work.

Not subtle - but then, Jim was not known for diplomacy - he pointed to the results of our actions as thoughtless, irresponsible human beings, unwilling to be present even in our own lives - this at a time when most of his contemporaries chose to ignore their personal responsibility in the slow degeneration of human values, destruction of the environment and the ever-increasing move toward slavery of the average human being to those whose avarice would devour us all - Jim’s “Lords”.

Over time, his stark and disturbing visions have come closer and closer to being the reality we DO know, until there is now little to distinguish the reality of his work from the reality we see on our television news programs every single day. Perhaps the way to describe his work is as a visionary poetic.

Despite the gravity of his message, and true to the poet’s integrity, his work is not didactic. His message was an attempt in part, to deliver his audience from acceptance and capitulation - to think for themselves, rather than accept the dictates of others, including his own.

I believe he felt the incredible weight of the chosen enslavement of those who would, and still do, follow him blindly. Rather his work simply tells the truth, providing a shining beacon for the discerning observer to (perhaps) take to heart. It “clicks off the possibilities” as he once said. It is up to us to make our own choices.

But there is another face to the work - one which hints at the potential in each human being to find enlightenment, providing another possibility from which we might choose to draw.

These are my favorites of his works, for I believe they give us the greatest, if not the clearest glimpses into the true nature of this most mysterious of men - an intensely personal and spiritual side of Jim which more often is hidden in deeply obscure references which make up his more apocalyptic themed work - an excellent example being his frequent use of the hotel/motel image - the perfect metaphor for the many cells of personal reality which co-exist within the greater, or consensus reality.

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