the tongue escapes

"To have heroes is to be ridiculous. But to accept one’s ridiculousness is heroic."
“To have heroes is to be ridiculous. But to accept one’s ridiculousness is heroic.”

“I don’t know about her music, but I’d sure like to Björk her” – so said insensitive douche Garth Algar of Wayne’s World reviewing new videos in Wayne’s fake parents basement on TV circa 92 after the Big Film came out [party time/excellent] and everybody just had to see Mike Myers and Dana Carvey say, “We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy ” over and over and over again as they kiss Alice Cooper’s ring and Feed His Frankenstein … [Schwing!]

And there she is with the big dancing teddy bear and the moth in the porridge bowl — “Human behavioor, human behaviooouaaoor”— about us, we sad ship of souls chained to parents basement crying to heavens and beating our chests like filthy beasts of zoos beat our chests and look to the sky and say, “WHY US?” why did we have to be born American and suburban raised to be materialist traitors who don’t care about anything except big screen television sets and definitely have no interest in the fact that some Dementia from the Frozen North has invaded our lustconsciousness?

But critical friend sees me, catches me before MTV altar throne where Madame Dementia talks of a dress she made from a blanket [“I just [soft lilting, trilling voice] found it in a marrrket and I liked [clumsy lilt] how it felt in my fingerrrs’] and senses Nerd Friend’s awkward awestruck lust, “Oh, you just luvv her, don’t you?” says critic munching on reheated pizza “Hey, shut up!” ” “Ha, you can’t deny it, dude, it’s in your eyes, you’re in luvv with that freak show.” “Am not.” Björk sneezes and sniffles in interview. “Face it, you want to lick the snot right off of her nose!” “Oh, you’re disgusting,…” “Ha! You would, you know you would!” he leans in foul mocking sinister pepperoni breath.


French Capital twenty years later, no wiser but older and ever snottier. The dark and blue lights of Le Cirque En Chantier, in Boulagne-Billancourt – or as they say it in the taxis here, Bew-yan-Bi-yan-Core – Old spectacled French African taxi driver – “Cela! Cela!” – “Ce la?” “Oui, cela.” One pont, two pont. He gestures firmly. Get out, pick a pont. Here we go … Paris metro My God – it was supposed to go like this Saint Michel-Notre Dame–>Javel–>Javel-Andre Citroen –> Saint Michel Angueil –>Les Sevres … and then over the bridgey bridge to Île Seguin where I skip down to Cirque en Chantier [where they host Cirque du Soileil shows] But of course I messed up there you know, out at Javel (with its deserted amusement park carousel ambiance) and then couldn’t find the connection, gawking around on street corners for signs, too chicken shit to accost Francophone dogwalkers, stuttering and puttering and freaking with printout ticket [Lick the Snot right Off her Nose] flapping in the wind and there’s a taxi but it’s empty because the French driver is probably getting his pain somewhere, maybe that boulangerie over there, warm yellow lights warmth, more snot from my nose, and there goes another but it’s full, and the show starts soon, 7.30 – half an hour, don’t tell me I came this far traveled this far from There to Here to see Her and NOW I AM GOING TO MISS IT BECAUSE I CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE F***ING PARIS METRO SYSTEM!

One pont, two pont. The pont to the back is gritty industrial shamble, the one above well lit with little hipster ants streaming across it: Les Audience! A mass pathetique like moi. The cold March snot on my glove, the stream of the legs over the bridge [for no average automobile can access Cirque en Chantier] which is why French African Taxi Man said “Voila! Cela! Cela!” gesturing to the white tents on yon othershore, white-lighted breast-like domes with protrusions and antennae into the sunset red and purple wreckage of a sky, those preciously urban tulips and chimneys, more steps and heartbeats and cold breath breathed, packs of the young and the hip swarm, we are them, yes, me too, big bunchy coats — and we boys are so deftly unshaven and the girls have their multicolored yarn-sourced tights … [and they are holding hands which means they are straight like me and I am so eläted because I was afraid I was gonna have to spend the night elbowing with Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gautier and all the other sunglasses-at-night-black-leather-clad-Nightmares-of-Fashion-future who have latched on to Madame Dementia with their haute couture shrimp cocktail elite diarrhea dribbling everywhere, and imaginary Lagerfeld’s leaning in asking, “Tell me honestly, what do you think of our new collection?” And I just have cry myself to sleep in embarrassment about my {shameful} Björk albums {and naked college dormroom poster} and explain {fervently and feverishly} to all of them how I really would lick the snot off of her nose, I would, I’d eat it all up] … and these lovingly hetero scum hipster gals have funky bundled hair and some are smoking, the smoky steamy air curls up and away and into the hills with their many-colored house lights and tiled roofs and welfare safety nets, I’m here in your hollow, Madame Europe, Here I am, here within your dusky belly, you fresh and natural and dirty freak show, Europe, European, just like her, the builder of bedrock, sawer of raw, built into cliffs. I am within you tonight, your suburban lost son, peeking out of that belly button window, and that sense of guilt dissipates, smooths back and vanishes as I step inside the circus tent.

“Police Say Obsessed Fan Sent Bomb Before Suicide” September 96, Florida’s finest pest controller Ricardo López (21) films himself mailing an acid-spraying letter bomb to Björk’s London home. Crafty pest man Lopez disguises his letter bomb as a book sent by Björk’s record label, Elektra. Pest Man originally wanted to inject the bomb with the HIV virus, but … What set Pest Man off was Goldie [Brit-Trip-Hop Guy with Golden Teeth] her then boyfriend, or that he was her boyfriend, [and thus unfaithful to Pest Man’s obsessive undying adoration]. [IMAGE: Ikon Magazine Cover, Dec. 95, Trashcan Mouth Goldie Sneers Like Mike Tyson With Arm Round Weary Eyed Björk [Who Has Seen It All, There Is No More To See], headline, “The Odd Couple”] The camera pans in on Lopez’s refridgerator door which is adorned with promotional photos of B’s cute little eskimo-viking-alien-inuit-princess-sealion-buttocks-Japanese-geisha-girl face and a stereo in the background plays a tinny “Come to me, I’ll take care of you, protect you …” The footage [come lay down] is shown later on show about stalkers, Pest Man [you don’t have to be afraid] López shaves head, applies face paint, and [I understand] commits suicide by shooting himself [but the show footage stills as he inserts gun into mouth so that the red does not splatter] [Scotland Yard intercepts poison package. Björk sends flowers and condolences to Pest Man’s family]

WITHIN the carnival tents of Cirque en Chantier are bars and rows of young and ancient humans of various racial and sexual orientations on benches guzzling fine wines and lively camraderie [who knew so many different kinds of people liked Madame Dementia?] and of course there is merchandise and merchandising, for this is a $how! – Who is willing to fork it over, eh, thirty €uro for a t-shirt, forty for a program? White and metal spacey furniture here and the many hanging TV screens with that faltering modest computeresque halting accent overcast, “Hel-lo-and-wel-come-to-Bio-phil-ia,” an image of her in that the big red wig of hers that she wears in the shows and on signs [And me so squeamishly ashamed to want to see her in it!] and then there is some kind of white mobile home on wheels with little TV windows and video of hip urban New York Cool Kids with floppy pants and long surfer dude hair, “Children play with Björk’s home-made instruments” a journalisty voice says– little electronic strings and buttons, one sees, like an iPad harpsichord crossed with an Atari … (see, Venus as a Girl gives back to the community) …

INSPIRATION COMES ON- I search pockets for writing implement to capture it all down and jot it all up because I am about to BURST with it, the lines are coming to me, rushing between my warm ears, but there is no pen within my pocket (though I fingernail scrape into its depths, what a fool to have left it behind!) DESPERATION ENSUES. What to do? Desperado wanders lonely, searches the floors, the toilets, even tries to steal one from a wine-purveying cashier, but he gives me the Evil French Eye [Oh, no yew don’t, yew pussy writer, yew!] and I put it right back with shaky hand because ROSY HUMILIATION I am a coward and an idiot who lacks the gravitas of Ms. Gudmundsdottir, who is not even afraid of the Chinese, [“Tibet! Tibet!” She cried at Shanghai show] Inside the blue inside inner circus ring, some church organ plays “Venus as a Boy” and “I’ve Seen It All” [There is no more to see] And I find, per chance, a blue ball point beneath my seat and then mobile buzzes with good news, “Don’t worry. She is already sleeping soundly and a lot better. Everything is okay. Good night!”

I’ve left my sick child to come here. She reached for me one last time in her red pajamas, the liquid dripping from her ears. “Daddy, am I still bleeding? I can’t hear!” And then the soothing sitter, “Don’t you worry a bit, go enjoy yourself, she’s on antibiotics now, she’s going to be fine by morning, no worries, you don’t need to change your plans don’t worry just one little bit.” “It’s not blood, honey, it’s just liquid, the doctor said it’s normal, all of this is normal. It’s supposed to be that way.” “But I can’t hear!” On the way home from the doctor’s in the afternoon snow flurries I had swallowed it, that it was stupid, that exhilarating moment when I entered in credit card digits and bought a ticket to a concert on the other side of the continent, a weak moment, a delusion that I could maintain some kind of inner personally fulfilling life away from the wives and doctors and sitters and ear drippings. [“You should have consulted me!” Imagine cross Kaja the wife in halfshame-halfshock that her [strange] husband would do something so weird – like why can’t he be like normal husbands and just watch sports?] “I’m sorry, I got carried away, she just had surgery so that she could sing and then she announced these shows in Paris … who knows when she will tour again? It could be two years. Maybe three.” [“Imagine that,” tsks disappointed Kaya, now in writing retreat in Egypt as feverish daughter drips out her ears]

AND YET when I tell her I must NOT go to show, because daughter is sick, [and because I was a fool to think I could have even gone in the first place, stupid stupid singer loving man] it’s KAJA who tells me that I must go, “I talked to Pernilla [former insurance house chief] and she says it’s a very weak case, that we could never get that money back {the mother in Egypt, father in France, tsk}. “How much did you pay?” “€80.” “Listen, you paid the money, you said you wanted to see your musical heroes, that you never know what could happen to them – poof – they disappear [like MCA of the Beastie Boys, I add] and you are left to live on in regret [yes, regret] that you never got the chance to see them and there is no quick insurance fixer upper for this problem and so little sick girl is left [shamefully] by Spartan father [who MUST go to Paris because he bought the tickets, to see some Icelandic witch sing about Viruses and Mutual Cores and Hidden Places and Human Behaviooor… Through the misty roads of this Other Demented Northern Land I drove with The Sugarcubes’ shimmering guitars glistening in the fog and off the silver reflectors of the orange construction highway cones DANGER then flew to Copenhagen and then on to graffitied Paris [“Don’t worry, enjoy yourself”] That’s how I went.

/ – dear friends, a few years ago doctors found a vocal polyp on me chords … i decided to go the natural way and for 4 years did stretches and tackled it with different foods and what not . then they discovered better technology and i got tempted into hi tech lazer stuff and i have to say , in my case anyway : surgery rocks ! i stayed quiet for 3 weeks and then started singing and definitely feel like my chords are as good as pre nodule ! it´s been very satisfying to sing all them clear notes again im sorry i had to cancel stuff earlier in the year , didnt want to talk about this until i knew for sure if it would work . so looking forward to singing for you in 2013 all the warmth ,björk. – /

AND THIS IS a church, the music box organ plays the rounds, [now it’s “Venus as a Boy”] Les Audience Hipsterrr settled into the many rows, [maybe some even paid €600 for the VIP pass with the promise that The Singeress *might* show up to drink champagne with them, *might*] but I have come a long way from There to Here to see Her, it is a pilgrimage of mine, not one to Saint Peter’s, but a pilgrimage to heroes and heroines to erode the wires and signals, the images and clips, to pass beyond applications into real flesh and sensation, here we congregate, those who are willing to spend €80 for inspiration and €30 for a t-shirt, for this is what they are selling us, all of the Shit-Eating Self-Centered Artists out there (me included) IN$PIRATION –> Money’ll give you toys to amuse yourself with ’til the end of your years, but Björk builds her own toys, that’s the difference, and yet money has ruled me, I starve my soul for money, spend that money on inspiration, making widgets for shadow-faced demons, stalk, lurk, starve, like the Vegan Food Absolutists starve themselves of animal proteins and vitamins to achieve pseudoreligious purity (and prove their chastity to themselves) so do we filet and skewer and barbeque our souls for biweekly renumeration. I am not the first to say these things, I know, but that’s even better because it only means that they are at least half true.

And now I can’t even think of these fool matters because there’s dozens of beautiful wimmin in shiny capes singing through the dark.

FROM (as in … yes):

” ……i still cannot believe it : i saw MY IDOL live for the first time! It’s is such an incredible feeling…so powerful!
When i first saw her coming on stage during Thunderbolt i cried! It was so surreal! The voice was INCREDIBLE. During thunderbolt she hit an astounding high note that left me out of breath …” »

“… an applause to the choir when the girls came to the stage in the middle of the intro. As soon as they were there, i realised the pregnant-one was right in front of me! [The chorus] Oskasteinar – it worked to build the tension, at least for me, those girls are a force of nature. At the end of it, Miss B came on stage.

I was shocked, ecstatic. She’s so nice and (i hate to admit it) elfish live! She’s lovely You probably cannot see it from the photos, but the Iris Van Herpen dress is sparkly She also wore sparkly low-platform shoes! …”

THE ALL-ICELANDIC female chorus [for she has come with dozens of backing singers] makes it, really and it’s the blonde girl who faces our side of the rows of chairs and catches my eye with her single braided pagan braid, that single braid, this singing woman who sings with shyness, sways with shyness as she must, just a foot off the ground and then the other foot, the hip moves left then the other hip right [for that’s about the best a northern lady can do] the beauty and supple lusciousness of self consciousness, modesty in her sway while Baroness Red Wig Björk marches around in Freak Show cadence, May I [church organ chord] Can I [church organ chord] Or Have I Too Often Now {been} [church organ chord] Craving Miracles //

That red Aruba tree shaped chinstrapped wig, the flash of the teeth as the come down on the microphone [HARD], the stutter rumble step and crumple of electronic boulders falling everywhere – It’s her! In that tiny body! – I wish I could do it like she does it. Like an impotent man who yearns to screw, I wish to open my mouth and let her voice come out of my chest instead — Vincibus Eruptum! — yet nothing steps forward from these lips but a pathetic hushed croak [impotence] and I must pick up my little pen and scribble my dark thoughts down like a sad prisoner passing notes through the jail iron bars. I do think of My Björk Loving Ex Girlfriend here and how we went to Reykjavik and found Einar Orn’s phone number and guiltily called him from hotel landline phone to tell him how we loved his trumpet playing on “Stick Around for Joy,” and we said, “Don’t be shocked, Einar, we don’t want you to think we’re STALKERS or anything,” and Einar laughed, “Don’t you know that you can’t shock an Icelander ???” And later after we broke up and got back together she said, “You can sleep here tonight,” and Vespertine played through “Unison” and “let’s unite tonight, we shouldn’t fight” and my hands coming up with handfuls of her white flesh, in the midnight, all that warmth, majesty, just like those starry [emotional] nights with Kaja in [landscapes] Slovenia in those lofty alpine rooms on all of those sexy slovenly slopes.

Nearly the victim of a mailbomb from a crazed fan two years ago, Icelandic singer Björk was impacted recently by yet another stalking incident, this time involving her mother. A Spanish man, who has reportedly stalked the diva for four years, broke into Björk’s mother’s home last week when she was away and slept in her bed, ate her food and left threatening messages for the singer, who responded, “This is worse than the mailbomb… that the people I love are subjected to threats because of me is horrible… I feel very guilty…” adds “Only a heartless madman would finish all the Snack Pack pudding.”

” … not only she started singing, but then the Tesla Came out : i cried. One of the few time something so physical yet so spiritual brought me to tears…i’m usually more about crying at weddings

or sad stories. The voice was powerful and stubborn : she opposed intruments, choir, beats, anything : she was the queen and the master of it. She held high notes like never before, as you can see from that wonderful video on youtube.”

::“What were those pillow metallic Jamaican steel drum thingies the percussionist played (on “Virus” and “Possibly Maybe”)?”

::“It’s a hang drum.” Link [Classification: Percussion/ Hornbostel–Sachs classification: 111.24 (Percussion vessels)/ Inventor(s): Felix Rohner, Sabina Schärer/ Developed 2000] [IMAGE: {Björk percussionist} Manu Delago playing a first-generation hang]

::“The thunderbolt toy, suspended from the ceiling, fires off (electricity?) to accompany certain sounds?”

::“It’s a singing Tesla coil.” Like no duh … [electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891. It is used to produce high-voltage, high-frequency alternating-current electricity.]

::“And those pendulums?”

wikipedia links: “New musical instruments were specially developed for the album. A group of pendulums were put together, creating patterns with their moves, transmitting the movements of the Earth to the sound of a harp, making the song “Solstice” (and how they swing back and forth as the Red Wig mutters about universal things in the spotlight, but that happens much later in the show, yes …)

There is also the issue of the “Gameleste” As [shrimp cocktail-fed society man] New Yorker Critic relates on blog, “Incorporating gamelan-like bronze bars in a celeste housing, the gameleste is the work of the British percussionist” X … “and the Icelandic organ craftsman” Y [VIDEO: The Making of the Instrument] “‘Crystalline,'” Critic shares, is “one of two gameleste songs on the album, and can be heard here, in a video by Michel Gondry.” {VIDEO: golden honey droplets of light fertilize moon craters, and pulsing jellyfish of electronic networks whirlpool into eyes and the lady in the moon sings, as she does right now} Critic … “I’ve only just begun to explore the complex universe of Biophilia, which Björk first described to me a couple of years ago, at a Shun Lee dinner before Des Canyons aux étoiles at Alice Tully Hall.”

Tinkling, sparkling GAMELESTE [ipad astral water droplet gamelan celeste] in the Cirque, Red Wig calls, Icelandic gems respond [“Crystals grown like plants”/”listen how they grow”] There are stars and worms and viruses on the giant screens suspended [“In the core of the earth”], the words all of blood and nature [“CRYSTALLINE!” they respond, fierce, like daggers, “internalnebula-a-a-a-a” “CRYSTALLINE!” “rocksgrowingslower” “CRYSTALLINE!” “icanfeelclaustropho-bia-a-a-a-a”] … and the shiny caped chorus opens its echoing mouth and the towheaded girl [“It’s the sparkle you become”] sways like water, it’s all quite wet here in the Cirque but also hot, like blood itself, like the liquid in their lips [“when you conquer anxiety”] {Much applause and woo-ooo} The Singer, in dress resembling slippery shiny cat vomit (but also pixie-elf like!) answers the audience with: “merci beaucoup!” “merci biens” and “my french is horreebl” and the impotent writer scratches away that “art is the vehicle for an idea, or emotion, or both, we cannot tamper with the idea, no we must preserve its purity,” and rambles like he knows what he’s talking about until, “the vehicle can be altered, no, it MUST be altered, in order to ensure,” because Björk and her pendulums, hang drums, and tesla coils and GAMELESTE have gotten him all sexxed up and, “the successful delivery of the idea via spectacles, to which are opened receptacles,” and the final breakthrough, “I will do things better from now on, take it apart, reassemble it so that the message is clearer than ever of how I feel how this voice wells up inside me and must come out, the tongue escapes in different ways …”

” … one of my favorite performances. I don’t know if you have heard about Wagner’s theory about “total piece of art” which comprises music, dance and art: i found this in this performance.

HER DANCE MOVES WERE A B S U R D ! Me and the girl near me started to laugh with pleasure at her moving throughout the stage…

but then, during the last part: she gave it all: her steps were like TOTALLY coordinated with the beats, her voice was flawless and her yearning was touchable, and made me belong too.”

There is something to be said of the connection of the dots [on screens] the red and orange circles, the way the music snakes along and the [BEEP] the red circle enlarges and then the line that connects it to the [BOOP] green square widens until [BOP] it arrives. Who thinks of this stuff? Pathetic ridiculous people. I am one of them [“A pretty wife …”] An enormous room of homemade instruments, altars [“A cool car”], musicbox twinkling tectonic bass rumbling [“What more could you want?”][“Like a virus needs a body, a soft on tissue feeds on blood, someday I’ll find you, the urge is here …] And there she sways, modest braided girl, does she know that we are watching, does she like it? OR Are they watching us? More rolling about, tremors delirium, she sootens & smoulders like the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano itself, good ol’ Ey’llfuckyou Volcano.

July 04 (or was it June?) Manhattan rich guy hotel university alumni event [Says father before I embark on train, “Who knows, someone might offer you a job … “] [And the hors d’oevres “Hi, my name is David, I work for Goldman Sachs, what did you major in? …”] Sweaty face, clammy hands, peeled and crushed soul, soul juice oozing out under the toilet stall door …[“Alumni events ain’t my bag, baby”] Hiding in the tiled and mirrored john with view of toney Central Park and Gotham [and She lives somewhere down there, or so They say] then that big wave of OH FUCK this SELLOUT BULLSHIT washes over me until I tear off my tie and ride the subway downtown to hipster centrale Piano’s Bar for the East Village Medulla album release party, where I’m the sole suit there, but the heads don’t care and I don’t care … I just cannot be bothered to care … and she trills away in the Icelandic language interview with subtitles, trill, trill and we’re all very happy, every one of us embarrasing snot-licking pathetic music fans … trill

CIRQUE EN CHANTIER AGAIN, Paris, the tongue escapes from the lips and then draws/is drawn us back in. This is not SEX per se in the ferocious sound, but there is goodness, holiness, saintliness, natureness, nary a love song, only goodness in Ice Lady’s cavernousness. The werewolf inside me, my little pet volcano that some {pathetically} call “emotions” … Awakened, it claws to the surface [path into the light] claws scratch screamballs its way out [such is the violence of nature] and the Little Woman in the Red Strap-on Wig [that tiny body] in darkness opens her mouth too [as deep and puzzling as Gollum’s Cave] and BITES down into the sound, BITES INTO IT but from where does that sound come? Somewhere up through the floor and the mic, it comes out and gasses us all until we die and are resurrected by its lethal tenderness and chant along, stand, stomp, APPLAUD. I fear as we bang the floors for an encore, I fear for the risers that they will collapse and then the cacophony cosmogony subsides as the girls in the flashy capes in the lights arrive again and [with saintly deference, modesty] sing us into oblivion…

At last B says they have been waiting for this one, she tosses out a meaty treat to sate the girls’ hunger for thunder … Allt sem hann leiðir (Everything that he leads) allt sem hún fleygir (everything that she throws away) allt sem hún fleygir (everything that she throws away) náttúra! (nature!) ég get tekið (I’m able to take) ég tek við því (I receive it) Náttúra – ” the Icelandic Ladies mosh and roll around the stage while Venus as a Girl commands, ég get tekið ég get tekið Like rocks falling [yes] this is not the joy of sex to amuse you [but I still see you swaying blonde pagan modesty] this plus sex, plus sound, plus – that’s all this is, something plus, the substance itself, unrefined into words and distribution channels like “sex” or “concert” and “it.”

“… and when she ordered us to stand up my spine was aching for all the things i did in the last two days, but i did it anyway, obviously ! It was pure energy, let me tell you!

VOLCANIC!!! When she sang Declare Independence, I raised my arm and cheered [“raise your flag,” she incites catastrophe, “higher, higher”] But I was also sad because I knew it was almost over. And then, like the wind, she disappeared from my eyes.”

The encore, the departure, the post-orgiastic come down. Ice Ladies exit, go home to their dreams and whispers and €600 per guest parties, though the people do stand and shout and whistle and stomp because they want more, they will always want more of her, but they cannot have her all the time and so must settle for merchandise, for $20 CDs and €40 programs and €30 t-shirts. [“Can I get two of the red one in small?” “Small?” [Raised eyebrow, contemplating big man’s size] “Yes, they are for my daughters.” “€60 please” “Merci!”] The clear plastic bag swings from my pathetic fingers, the sharp-edged elbows and hipster flash flooding.

“She has given us all that she can give,” he scribbles [maddeningly] away, “and she will give no more nor ever needs to.” Then another maxim arrives in ink, something along the lines of, “To have heroes is to be ridiculous. But to accept one’s ridiculousness is heroic.”

coughing up blood

Ride the snake ... to the lake.
Ride the snake … to the lake.

BIRTH NAME: James Douglas Morrison/ Also known as The Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Risin’ (anagram of “Jim Morrison”)/ Born: December 8, 1943/ Melbourne, Florida/ Died: July 3, 1971/ Paris, France

Paris, France. That man, that scary, scary man, first glimpsed by eight-year-old eyes on large family room television set with limb movements representing fiery flames, like a corpse sitting up and turning during the cremation ceremony on the Ganges, “Come on baby, light my fire.” I’d been exposed to Ozzy, Maiden, any form of nasty mutant death they showed on cable TV (unsupervised), but That man was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen, “And our love become a funeral pyre … Come on, baby …” Is he a hero? No, he is not. I do not look up to him, think, “Now, why can’t I be more like Jim?” What, die in a bathtub in Paris, France? They say of a heart attack. Or was it foul play?

Modest roots. Navy brat. I remember my own father – “That’s the thing about children [disappointed tone] you never know what you’re going to get.” [IMAGE: Morrison and his father on the bridge of the USS Bon Homme Richard in January 1964.] Their falling out? A note from Dad upon hearing, “I eat more chicken than any man ever seen. I’m a back door man.” “Dear Son AKA Lizard King, Give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I consider to be a complete lack of talent in this direction.” That’s how you wind up dead in Paris in a bathtub of a heart attack. Or was it an overdose?

The light on the streets of the Latin Quarter this morning is soft and not quite white, not quite yellow. The Greeks of the restaurants with their rotating wheels of carving meats have gone to bed with the gals from the souvenir kiosks. All shuttered up. Only the kindly boulangerie is baking arm-long breads that are hard on the teeth yet satisfactory to the soul. The bread (le pain) is designed to go down the esophagus, and down it goes like so many things that go down, the muscle yields, like Nico yielded to Mr. Mojo Risin’, as did Pamela Courson, et al. [At the time of his death, Morrison had at least 20 paternity actions pending against him] And I now can see the gothic cathedral NOTRE DAME OUR LADY [And another bite of the sandwich at last gives way to swallow] Rest myself against a filthy cold stone wall above the frog-green waters of the gushing Seine, broken glass, plastic bottles rubbish and a salty mouth wound from le pain. He was here, I sense, here coughing up blood.

An empty tourist ferry sails by.

MORRISON JOINED COURSON in Paris in March 1971. They took up residence in the city in a rented apartment on the rue Beautreillis in the 4th arrondissement of Paris on the Right Bank [in case you didn’t know that] and went for long walks throughout the city, admiring its vanguard architecture.

Like many today. Even in the early morning the Parisians are smoking their cigarettes at damp café tables with their hard breads and soft buttery croissants, reading about things, Euro crisis maybe, but probably not symbolist poetry, but what a grand city Paris is to have even given us symbolist poetry! We just love you intellectual Paris, we adore you. Like Owen Wilson staggering around and Woody Allen in his little burned bread of a beret hanging on his little Brooklyn head [aaaand ACTION!] I too stagger and wonder if I should I go to Pere Lachaise to visit Jim. What will I say to him? What is there left to say?

[“Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection. Send my credentials to the house of detention …]

Our souls were once twinned. Jim spoke to/for me. In the darkness of high school unrequited love melodrama, this sick-headed youth found solace in his parents yard by listening to, “This is the end, beautiful friend, my only friend the end …” And in high school bands, “Break on through to the other side!” Arguments about whether that was a bass or just a bass pedal on an organ [it was a real studio bass guitar, you fucks] And when my own real life Jim, Jim Shea, a young comedian who suffered from everything (now he’s a big-shot-hot-shit lawyer) Fifteen-year-old Jimmy Shea rolling around on a lawn in his pathetic self pity wallow crying in a drunken mewl, “I’m the Lizard King, I can do anything!” And the other high schoolers congregating like old Cubans at a cock fight, “Shea’s really gone crazy now, Lizard King? Huh!”

There is plenty to say to my Soul Twin Mr. Mojo Risin’, or plenty to transmit back to him. So much he has given us directly and vicariously via Oliver Stone and any number of best selling [No One Here Gets Out Alive] books and the music, [Soft Parade], well … we thought Paris would be good for you Morrison, you’d leave those dead Indians in the desert, leave the others to their Doors of the 21st Century tours and lawsuits and books about lawsuits – Fuck it, Morrison, let Paris take you in, suckle on Gray Sacred Lady Notre Dame, eat the beignets, the hard sandwiches, bask in the symbolism. Go visit Man Ray the avant-garde photographer, he’s still alive in 1971, five more years left in him [See, he dies in November 1976, says so right here] go see Man Ray, pay a hero a visit before he’s gone, talk about pictures and anagrams and nicknames, [My dear Emmanuel Radnitzky], because we all need our heroes, and so do you …

Consult the Scripture of Art, dear Back Door Man. And that one time, at Jessica Pisa’s Sweet 16, they made all the theater people get up and sing, “You make me feel so good, you make me feel so good,” which is fine if you are a gayboy, but not fine if you are an ashamed scaredycat self loathing fuckface, as I was, and so I summoned my inner Mojo Risin’, Like, “You make me feel so good … Father, yes son, I want to kill you. Mother, I want to rrrraeerrarrearrrrgghhhh!” Then I leaped off the stool and into Pisa family home video legend.

[I die for a second in embarrassment in Paris of 2013, and then sip the chocolate dusting off my still-warm morning cappuccino and resume, all downwind of Shakespeare and Company, a man bikes by]

What do they say of this foggy time, Anno 1971, Nixon, Brezhnev, shag carpeting, All in the Family debuts – What do they say? They say that Morrison had asthma and was suffering from a respiratory condition involving a chronic cough and vomiting blood on the night of his death. Remaining members of The Doors attest that Morrison had been coughing up blood for nearly two months in Paris, but none of the members of The Doors were actually in Paris with Morrison in the months prior to his death. Intrigue, suspense!

Remember that cover for Morrison Hotel? What they didn’t show you was Jim coughing up blood in the toilet of that bar next to some other drunk who was also coughing up blood after the photo was taken. This same “they” also says that the Lizard King’s snuffing of heroin was accidental, that he thought it was but simple man’s cocaine, or did Pamela kill him? This same “they” says that too. In one account, he lies in warm tub, coughing up rivulets of blood, calling to Pamela to get an ambulance, but she nods off, stoned on her own, and when she awakes …

[Or maybe she was pretending to be asleep. That’s what you get for being an unfaithful famewhore, Mojo Risin’!]

That’s not what Sam Bernett, a former manager of Le Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus nightclub, says. He says Jim went to buy heroin for Pamela [aww, sweet], tried some, and died on the shitter in the club. Gross. Then the drug dealers brought his [coughing up blood] body back to rue Beautreillis and dumped him in the tub and left country, lickety splickety. All to protect the sterling reputation of Le Club! Wouldn’t want to impinge on future dope deals! THE FRENCH CONNECTION. According to a Madame Colinette, who was at the cemetery that day mourning the recent loss of her husband, she witnessed Morrison’s funeral at Père Lachaise. She was standing there at Père in her fur coat with her poodle and arm full of bread and copy of Le Monde, watched the pitiful drug-stricken attendants, dark druggy-eyed Pamela, too, bid adieu to James Douglas Lizard King, tossed a couple blossoms on his box and then made like the Seine itself, gushing off, rippling off to someplace, everyplace, but not there.

The film didn’t end in the cemetery. It ended with the scene of him in the tub and red lights on his dead open-eyed face [Though it was really Val Kilmer, in the performance of a lifetime.] They tried to get Jim to say, “Babe, we couldn’t get much better” instead of “higher” on the Ed Sullivan show, remember that part, “Dig?” And Ray the keyboardist was for it, because “it’s just a word,” but then Wise Back Door Man sayeth, “Why don’t you change your name to Irving Manzarek? After all, it’s just a word.” HE HATH SPOKEN!

Where to start, where to end? That film, those iconic images, rented on VHS, Andy Warhol and his telephone [“Somebody gave this to me. They say you can talk to God through it, but [effeminately hesitates] I don’t know what to say”] and the fake Velvet Underground and the strange men in horse-drawn carriages [Densmore says, “Let’s get out of here. These people are vampires.”] and “Strange Days” playing in the background, “… have fallen.” Nico [whispers, “Mowison, come heow,”] in the red elevator blowing Jim, and the door opens and Pamela sees Jim being fellated by those Teutonic Model Lips (so much thicker and more plastic Hollywood in Oliver Stone than in real life, according to old B&W film clips) and Jim/Val laughs at Pam/Meg, and teenage boys everywhere in 1991 cream themselves and say: “I want to be THAT GUY when I grow up. Jim Morrison’s MY fucking HERO!”

I know so much about this man, Mojo Risin’. I know who blew him in an elevator in 1967. Another empty ferry goes sailing by, but this one in another direction. It passes under the bridge.

[IMAGE: Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise]

‘”WHAT ARE YOU WRITING THERE?” Asks inquisitive tourist man with lilting Swedish accent who has been looking at used books outside ye new Shakespeare and Co.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about the Doors,” I answer.

“Ah, Huxley, The Doors of Perception?”

“No, THE Doors.”

“You mean the band?”

“Yeah. People know so much about that band, about Jim Morrison. They know their songs and what their songs are about and about Jim Morrison and his life.”

He contemplates beside his bike with used book under armpit. “Well, I don’t know how much he knew about music, but Jim Morrison was a … how do you say … he had charisma.”

“That’s just the thing,” I say. “He was inspiring, and yet I don’t think anybody wants to wind up like Jim Morrison. So he wasn’t that inspiring.”

Swede contemplates more. “You mean dead in a bathtub?”

I shake my head no. “That’s just one version of it. There’s another version that he died on the toilet in a nightclub while he was buying heroin.”

“So how did he wind up in the bathtub?”

“The drug dealers dumped him there. They didn’t want the police snooping around the club and busting up their business.”

“Makes even more sense,” he says.

“It does?!”

“Sure! Who does that? Dies in a bathtub … what, you relax so much that you die … of a heart attack?” I don’t know” [doubtful Swedish face]

“Well, another version is that Jim snorted heroin instead of cocaine. He thought it was cocaine.”

Swede Biker snorts himself. Not sure if that was a laugh or just winter snot. “That’s the thing about rock singers,” Swede says.


“Sooner or later, you have to decide whether you are going to be a Bono or a Morrison.” He says Bono to rhyme with “Oh, no,” but all the MTV veejays have always said, “Bono” to rhyme with “Mano-a-mano.” Is there something I’m missing here?

“What do you mean?” I probe.

Swede sighs. “Let’s be fair. Bono was once experimenting with life, with religion, you know he went through a deep religious period, right?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Bono was, like, experimenting with religion. But then … well, look at what he’s become. Morrison though, he went out at … it’s like he reached the top of the hill and then he just went out.”

“He peaked, you mean. Climaxed.”

“Climaxed!” Swede’s eyes light up, he likes the tingling word. “But Bono climaxed …” he holds a hand in the air, “and then he went downhill,” hand dives to knee-level, “into what he is today. I mean, he’s just Bo-No. He’s a nice guy and all, but …”

“He is,” I approve. “Very philanthropic.”

Swede shakes his head up and down and then back and forth. “It’s like there is all this weight on you, you know, when you are a rock singer.” He taps at shoulders. “All of that weight like, like Kurt Cobain. Morrison, Cobain – they just couldn’t take it. Couldn’t handle that weight.”

“He was the same age too, 27,” I say. “Part of that club. The 27 club.”

“They have their own club?”

“It’s an expression.”

Swede ruminates. “And Elvis was 27 then, too, wasn’t he. He went out young.”

“No, Elvis was middle-aged.”

“He was?”

“The Beatles basically killed his career, then he had his Comeback Special, but then he got all fat and addicted to pain killers and was wearing that white suit in Hawaii. You know the one all the Elvis lookalikes wear?”

Swede gestures yes.

“Then he died on the toilet, too.”

“Like Morrison!”

“Well, we don’t know if he died on the toilet or not. What a way to go though.”

Swede nods at the depth of the statement. He savors its underwater tectonic trench depth, as if he is there at the bottom of the ocean himself, somewhere between South America and Africa.

“Yeah, well, I’ve got to get going …” Swede tosses his pack on his back and mounts up on his bike.

“I’ll remember that though,” I say. “You’ve got to make a choice – Bono or Morrison.”

“We’ve all got to make that choice,” he says, knowingly, and rides away on his bicycle past the old Hippies selling used records.