Credit: Elektra Records

Read Jim Morrison’s poem for The Rolling Stones’ founder Brian Jones from 1969

Jim Morrison wasn’t only The Lizard King, nor the lead singer of the ’60s counter-culture band The Doors. No, he was also an incredible poet. None more so is this seen than in his perfect poem ‘Ode to L.A. While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased’, written in 1969.

Morrison has always lived outside the realm of what the establishment thought a singer should be. Neither concerned with his image or his reputation, Morrison defied the critics and always kept the beating heart of a poet centre stage.

It was a passion for literature and words that Morrison had gathered from very early on in life. Radical Reads reports how a high school friend remembered Morrison as a bit of an outcast who took deeply to his readings: “He had tons of books over there in his basement room and I’d go over there and look at them and I didn’t have a clue as to what most of that stuff meant,” they detail. “Morrison devoured that stuff when he was a teenager and he was in another world and you have to wonder how that affected him.”

The friend continued, acknowledging Morrison’s literary prestige: “The whole point is that he was so far advanced in terms of literature he took in and he really seemed to become what he read sometimes.”

His English teacher also shared this view of the growing literary mind of Morrison and it’s eccentric preferences: “Everything he read was so completely offbeat. I had another teacher who was going to the Library of Congress to check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed or he was making it up. English books on sixteenth and seventeenth-century demonology…other kids were reading authors represented in our anthology, and Jim was reading Burton’s studies on Arab sexuality.”

This winding literary road of Morrison’s journey would see him become infatuated with the subversive and confusing subject matter, relishing in the profundity of provocation. It would seep into his lyrics but also find it’s way out of Morrison through more conventional forms as The Lizard King continued to write poetry throughout his time with the band.

One such ode was his poem for Brian Jones. The poem was a mainstay of the band’s live concerts during that time as it was passed out to the crowd before many of their gigs. Printed on bleached green paper and with olive green ink the pamphlet is a thing of beauty without considering the touching contents.

As confirmed by Alan Graham’s notes saying that Morrison was “passing the poem out to everyone he met. It was published in pamphlet form on pale green bleached parchment with olive green ink.”

Written not only about his beloved hometown L.A. the poem has more resonance with the subject of Brian Jones. The founding member of The Rolling Stones was found dead at age 27 in his swimming pool on July 3rd, 1969, and paid tribute to the star as a mythical figure.

Only two years later Morrison’s own untimely death came at the same age and also saw his body found in a body of water.

Take a look below at the poem printed on the pamphlet and transcribed below that.

Ode to La while thinking of Brian Jones Deceased
Ode to La while thinking of Brian Jones Deceased

Transcription:

I’m a resident of a city
They’ve just picked me to play
the Prince of Denmark

Poor Ophelia

All those ghosts he never saw
Floating to doom
On an iron candle

Come back, brave warrior
Do the dive
On another channel

Hot buttered pool
Where’s Marrakesh
Under the falls
the wild storm
where savages fell out
in late afternoon
monsters of rhythm

You’ve left your
Nothing
to compete w/
Silence

I hope you went out
Smiling
Like a child
Into the cool remnant
of a dream

The angel man
w/ Serpents competing
for his palms
& fingers
Finally claimed
This benevolent
Soul

Ophelia

Leaves, sodden
in silk

Chlorine
dream
mad stifled
Witness

The diving board, the plunge
The pool

You were a fighter
a damask musky muse

You were the bleached
Sun
for TV afternoon

horned-toads
maverick of a yellow spot

Look now to where it’s got
You

in meat heaven
w/ the cannibals
& jews

The gardener
Found
The body, rampant, Floating

Lucky Stiff
What is this green pale stuff
You’re made of

Poke holes in the goddess
Skin

Will he Stink
Carried heavenward
Thru the halls
of music

No Chance.

Requiem for a heavy
That smile
That porky satyr’s
leer
has leaped upward

into the loam

Jim Morrison Los Angeles 1969

(Source: Flashbak)

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content