Père Lachaise revisité

Of course – Jim Morrison’s not the only celebrity / buried in this vicinity / the park is more than 100 acres / with plenty of room for undertakers / even Moliere / is in there / somewhere / Delacroix, Chopin, Piaf, Proust / about every artist France produced / there’s even a spot for Marcel Marceau / (we didn’t find him so / I don’t really know / but I like to think there’s a memorial on his grave / a granite clown miming a granite cage)

It’s difficult when it comes to memorials / you don’t want to be too pictorial / but at the same time it’s nice to have something succinct / to act as an attractive, piquant link / something that you makes you stop and think / yep – that’s definitely the detail / that adds je ne sais quoi to that memorial / although / you’d probably be right to show / a degree of compunction / carving ANY kinda scarf for Isadora Duncan



this is the end, beautiful friend

We scanned the Q code from the board at the entrance / but the phone map turned out to be more of a hindrance / so in the end we decided to wander at will / up and down the crowded hill / of mausoleums and overground plots / where we’d stop for lots / of moody shots / wonderfully, hopelessly lost / in the mossed / and cobbled avenues / between the alabaster urns & sepulchral statues / the mausoleums and family crypts / rusting palm leaves, gothic scripts / the whole place like some village of the damned / with every household neatly planned / grilles on the doors, stained glass for light / and residents who only come out at night

I was starting to get a little worried / we wouldn’t get to see where Jim Morrison was buried /  I mean – we were making progress / more or less / through the necropolis maze / of Pere Lachaise / but there was still no sign of his last resting place

in the end / beautiful friend / it was the sound of a small crowd that led us to it
we joined the end of the queue to view it

a line of metal barriers screened the spot / I guess because the grave’s been damaged a lot / by thousands of visitors laying flowers / underwear, leather trousers / hand drawn dedications / mystical incantations / candles, cards & drug libations / chunks lopped off the original stones / as powerful relics to take back home / so I suppose it makes civic sense / to coral us all behind a fence / but it makes you feel disconnected, too / like we’re visiting a freak in a rock star zoo / and the best you can do / is pause a moment in the  queue / take your selfie & shuffle through

to the side of the plot there’s a maple tree / with a wrap for the trunk protectively / because people have been taking out their gum / and looking for something to stick it on / pressed it there with the other wads / until now the tree is covered in knobs / of multi-coloured, desiccated globs / like a visitors book in the 27 club / if nothing else a metonym / for the numbers of people visiting Jim / a real-life Orpheus y’think? / who famously liked a drink / and drank and drank / till he took a bath and sank / and found himself transformed / into a rider of a whole other storm / tragically reborn / as a rock n’roll deity / hip swivelling into infinity / eyes wild, lips curled / fuck you man, fuck your world / love me two times I’m goin’ away / forty-eight years to the day / and how they come to pere lachaise / through its weirdly other worldly ways / to stand at this spot / and talk about his songs a lot / and maybe death, maybe fame / the brilliance of a candle flame / chewing it over, making their mark / heading back home through the cemetery park