My author friend Linda Sienkiewicz (and the true Polish way to say it is shin-KEH-vich). is a poet, artist and fiction writer. Her debut novel is titled In the Context of Love. One of the main characters, Joe Vadas, who comes of age in the 70s, is obsessed with Jim Morrison and the Doors.
In the Context of Love can be purchased in paperback or e-reader on
For diehard Jim Morrison and Doors fans, Linda has a beautiful story about visiting Jim's grave in Paris on her blog. What a story, I loved it, as a kindred soul, a history buff who has been known to sneak around historic sites after closing (Carisbrooke Castle) and touch every historical artifact I see...and I've gotten into a bit of trouble doing that (touching Chopin's piano keys, for instance).
Read about her experience and her homage to Jim.
A WRITER PAYS HOMAGE TO JIM MORRISON
I stared at his monument in awe, flushed and a little woozy, thinking about how much this long-haired, leather-clad icon has meant to me over the years. The makeshift gate at Père Lachaise Cemetery wouldn’t let me get any nearer than 20 or so feet. At last I was here and yet this was the closest I’d ever get to him. It was a bittersweet moment that brought me near tears.
When I was young, Morrison’s voice was like a conduit of love, passion and intensity, and his sudden death only deepened my fixation with him. His poetry and lyricism spoke to me on many levels — I understood and felt his confusion and disillusionment with life, and found solace in poetry, too.
I had brought a copy of my poetry chapbook, Dear Jim, with me to the cemetery. The title poem is my tongue-in-cheek apology to Morrison for no longer having a major crush on him, but it also speaks to how our obsessions can guide us through the dark times in our lives. Written on Jim’s gravestone is KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY, which means “Faithful to his own spirit.” In ancient times, deities who distributed the fate and believed to be life changers were called daimones (daimons). The protector deity that lived inside a person from their birth till death, and took care of their personal evolution and prosperity was called “daimon eaytoy.”
In my poem, I call on Jim to be a guardian angel. I really, really wanted to leave my book at his grave.
I walked all around the fence, looking for an opening to squeeze between or slip under. I even considered climbing over — it wasn’t that high. We weren’t alone in the cemetery, however, and breaking French law made me nervous. Recently, a woman was hauled into jail for pouring whiskey on his grave. I feared leaving my book might be considered littering.
Later that day, my husband and I took a guided tour of Père Lachaise. It was then I noticed many visitors had paid homage to the dead throughout the cemetery by leaving candles, flowers, stones, love notes, and lipstick kisses. People even set potatoes atop the tomb of Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, promoter of the potato as a food source for humans in France. I could only assume the flowers and candles littering Jim’s grave had been snuck in at night, when no one else was there.
Avi, our tour guide, was a friendly, personable artist from the States who’d been living in Paris for ten years. Feeling a kinship with him, I excitedly showed him the chapbook, hoping he might grant me permission to leave it.
His face lit up. “You should definitely do it.”
“It wouldn’t be littering?” I asked. Avi shook his head and assured me it would be fine. Together, we walked up to the fence.
“Just toss it,” he said. “I’ll be waiting over here.” He smiled as he backed away, as if to say I was on my own.
My heart was pounding. I was surrounded by other people. I felt conspicuous, like a rabid fan, still the awkward teenage girl whose kohl-lined, bloodshot eyes saw Jim’s face in every Rorschach blot, who believed she alone could light his fire.
I told myself I had to do this. It was my way of paying homage, and I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t try. At that moment, I didn’t care what anyone else thought.
Hoping for the best, I flung it. Voila! The book landed in the shade of a large monument, face up, close enough to Morrison’s grave for onlookers to know its intentions. Avi smiled hugely when he saw it, and said, “That’s perfect. People can see the cover!”
And there it will stay. Maybe another fan who climbs the fence at night to leave flowers for Jim will move it closer. If not, that’s fine, too. The book will turn to dust, as everything and everyone we love eventually does. We will be remembered for our gestures, the things we leave behind, the love and dreams we share.
Au revoir, Jim. Till next time…
Written when I was harboring a crush on Russell Crowe after he won an Academy Award for Gladiator
Thirty years is a long time, Morrison—
my mantra, my shaman, my sweet
erotic nihilist. It’s too weird to think
you’d show up panting
at my back door, and I’m no longer
the lone, braless freak in a high
school full of fresh-faced cornhuskers,
no more the sweet sixteen leather-whip
whose kohl-lined, bloodshot eyes saw your face
in every Rorschach blot, who believed
she alone could light your fire.
Admit it, Jimbo, the closest I’d get
to you now is a zipless fuck with some
look-alike on your grave in Père Lachaise.
I’ve found a new bad boy—
dingo-barking-mad with your apocalyptic
intensity— ten thousand watts of it burning
night and day in my brain.
You think he likes older women? Okay,
so maybe he doesn’t, but look, Mojo, I’m sick
of microwaving Lean Cuisine, washing
my pantyhose in the bathroom sink
every night, waking up in the same bed.
He’ll be the gladiator to defend my dreams,
someone to squeeze when my day stumbles
down the stairs into the basement.
Yes, you’re beautiful, you’ll always
be beautiful — isn’t that the tragedy
of The End? And maybe asking the Antichrist
to be an angel is a lot, but, I could use your help.
What I’m saying is: please look after him.
Don’t let him die in a bathtub in
anything. I got a big load of laundry to do.