Père Lachaise Cemetery, 1991
Never mind the ordinary French,
philosophers, composers, authors,
the guillotine’s inventor and even
the founder of paleontology.
Jim Morrison is twenty years gone,
if not living the dream in South America,
and this whole cemetery is his monument—
graffiti on the proper stones and mausoleums
marks the way to his grave,
The Lizard King and Jim This Way.
Gathered at the grave are pilgrims
who barely were alive when Jim
joined the 27 Club in his Paris bath.
A pile of joints and wilting flowers, a painting
of the singer in his prime on someone’s
marble tomb, and center stage, two longhairs
leaning against the headstone,
drinking wine and arguing in French,
the kind of discussion so deep it could only be sparked
by conspiracy theories and rock and roll.
The loudest one’s vest has Jimi Hendrix
painted on the back with a mushroom cloud
of day-glow hair. The other flips a cigarette
into the flowers, pulls a black and white rat
out of his denim jacket and feeds it
scraps of bread on top of Morrison’s stone.
Frustrated agitator, poster child
for sex instead of revolution,
you left some songs that make us nod or shiver,
poems that can make us cringe.
We celebrate you here today
with spray paint, gouges in the stone
where someone chiseled at the anchors
of your marble bust and took it home,
a rat that stands on hind legs and dances,
turning wobbly circles for bits of baguette.