Patti Smith visiting Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris, 1975, by Claude Gassian.
“something new is coming down and we got to be alert to feel it happening. something new and totally ecstatic. the politics of ecstasy move all around me. I refuse to believe Hendrix had the last possessed hand that Joplin had the last drunken throat that Morrison had the last enlightened mind. they didn’t slip their skins and split forever for us to hibernate in posthumous jukeboxes.
they are gone and we’re still moving.“
~ Patti Smith, “Jukebox Cruci-fix,” CREEM, June 1975.
Jim died a sad July 3rd of 1971. The morning of the 7 of July, he was buried at Pére Lachaise, on the zone reserved for cheap graves. Pam paid for the ceremony and coffin, 878 franks, 50 dolars of today.
In August of 1971, the autorities putted a wooden plaque with the wrong name (Morisson), but then was stolen. On 1972, they putted black metal plaque, mispelled again “Morisson, James Douglas”, this plaque was stolen too.
On 1973, they putted a little rock plaque but it was stolen too, so they left the grave unmarked.
On July 2nd of 1981, a Yugoslavian artist sculpted the Jim’s bust on white marble. After being painted, broken and destroyed was finally stolen on one night of August of 1988.
On 1998, Morrison family instaled a stone with a metal plaque, written James Douglas Morrison, 1943-1971. With the famous greek inscription KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY. This is a curious phrase, because it has different translation. It means “Faithful to his own spirit” but also means “By his own demons”.
This morning I had coffee with a very important friend here in Paris. Jim and I go way back, well… by way back I mean 1990’s for me and for him it’s so way back that he might not even remember. I was always a fan of his music, he had a small band that was somewhat popular… but it wasn’t until a small “documentary” about his life and music came out that I really felt our worlds paralleled. I began to read all his poetry and books. We had a lot of similar experiences. He had once lived in the same region of Florida where I was from and he too moved to Venice, California at a young age like I had at 19. He’s since then moved on and now permanently resides here in Paris at Pere La'Chaise. Coffee, a rose and letter in hand, I finally met up with him to express my adoration…
walking through the gardens of Pere La'Chaise
A special moment shared between me, Jim, and about 25 other tourists.
I hope you don’t mind that I “borrowed” the rose from Oscar Wilde. I wrote the letter after some really good French bordeaux so it might be difficult to read, but it’s the thought that counts.
May you find peace, love, and plenty of groupies as you break on through to the other side.