Tag Archives: Jim Morrison

Live every day like your hair was on fire

“Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T S Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers …”
– Bob Dylan

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
– Eskimo proverb

“There are so many little dyings that it doesn’t matter which one of them is death.”
– Kenneth Patchen

“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”
– Edvard Munch

“I want a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman.  I want to hedge my bets.”
– Wilson Mizner

“I meant, said Ipslore bitterly, what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile? 
Death thought about it, Cats, he said eventually, Cats are nice.”
– Terry Pratchett

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice; there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”
– Frank Zappa

“I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return.”
– Frida Kahlo

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.”
– Jim Morrison

“For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean.  As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it.  That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge.  When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water.  We call this the moment of death.  That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves.”
– Bill Viola

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. ”
– Crowfoot

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
– Meister Eckhart

“… and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
– William Shakespeare

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting …”
– Walt Whitman

“He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.”
– William Shakespeare

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

“Live every day like your hair was on fire.”
– Zen proverb

Michelle McGrane’s ’17, rue Beautreillis’

“We have started the crossing
Who knows? It may end badly …”
– Jim Morrison

Saturday, 3 July 1971.  Le Marais, Paris.

It is after eight in the morning.  I wake to find your side of the bed cold.  Curled up naked, I blink groggily and stretch, the twisted sheet wrapped around my legs.  A terracotta pillow retains the faint imprint of your head.  Where are you?  Through the closed louvres I hear the rumbling traffic along rue Beautreillis and the shrill, excited voices of chattering children.

Our palace of exile is stuffy and warm, shrouded with dope and stale sandalwood.  Your khaki slacks, a musty sweater, lie discarded at the foot of the bed beside a whisky bottle and an open notebook, the pages tattoed with your large, sprawling scrawl.  A rudimentary French-English dictionary.  A dog-eared translation of Une Saison En Enfer.  A scattering of clippings and photographs:  our memories of another life:  Laurel Canyon and Love Street, Venice Beach and Sunset Strip.

I reach for my white djellaba.  A robe of dawn dreams and sacred stars, you said; the one you bought me as a gift in Algiers.  The dripping tap draws me barefoot through the bedroom.  Past an overflowing ashtray, another empty bottle.  Past your favourite pair of boots, ready to walk along the banks of the Seine or across the road to Les Beautreillis with its blue and white striped awning.

I call your name and open the door.  Summer sunshine slants through the small high window illuminating a mosaic of dust motes.  The smell of urine from the unflushed toilet.  The smell of vomit:  sharp, acidic, partially digested pineapple chunks.  You are soaking in the bathtub, your tilted neck nestled in the porcelain curve.  The taste of iron as rust flakes on the roof of my mouth.  Are you trying to scare me?  Even in sleep, I have not seen you this peaceful.

Blood blossoms beneath your right nostril.  The pale pink water is lukewarm, your hooded reptilian eyes half-open.  Breath stilled, a slight smile becalms your face like fading faith.  My arms and legs shake.  I try to lift you, cradle you, naked and wet, to my breast.  Instead, water splashes the dirty linoleum.  Again, I cannot hold the weight of you.  A renegade cockroach crawls through the dead zone.

Somewhere upstairs, strains of Piaf:  a far-off mourning for no one and everyone.  Absence.  Fear.  Guilt.  A kaleidoscope heart eroded, exploded.  Did I truly think we could grow old together?  Did I think you would live forever?  Our strange course is run.  No time for guardian angels and highway Indians, for pagan enchantments and shamanic visions.

Crouching down on the slippery floor, I trace the blue veins in the palm of your hand.  Too many things I still need to say … I kiss you.  Again and again.  The slow ache possesses me.  Alone you have journeyed to the shadowy cave.  Maggots have not yet devoured you though the dark gods have delivered your final poem.  The tap drips.