domingo, 20 de novembro de 2011

Jim Morrison and Marilyn Monroe - Compared Texts

Jim Morrison and Marilyn Monroe – Compared texts
Words revealing two tortured souls


Since the very first moments of Humanity, Art is a tool to express the deepest impressions of our perception. The draws of our ancestral in the caves are the proof of this.
Moving forward in History, we’ll find out Literary Schools where the poems is just a way to reach the other side – the other side of mind, that stays beyond the bounds of reality – like the Symbolism.

Looking to the poets themselves, we can see tormented people, anxious for express their thoughts. Many of them had a hard life. The Greek Mythology brings to us Orpheus as the Father of Poetry. Orpheus’ Art was his greatest power, such as his worst curse, ‘cause it gave him the opportunity of transcending Death to meet Eurydice, but it was just a moment – he had lost her again, then experiencing a pain greater than before.

On this text we’ll see how two icons of American Culture – Jim Morrison and Marilyn Monroe – can be understood through their Poetry. So you’d ask me why are they related and how their written production are linked. I’ll explain that.

Morrison and Monroe were both of them seeking for freedom and love. Just like Orpheus, both lived a journey of glory and decay, living joys and pains that were experienced by a few people. They were in the Tartarus to rescue what they thought they couldn’t live without, but they’ve lost their desires. The true freedom to Marilyn and Jim was their nemesis – death came to built up Legends where there were before a singer with the soul of a poet and an actress damned by her own sensibility. They had the same fate through different ways.

Although the comparison we’re doing is carefully elaborated, we’ve to consider some points; Monroe’s texts were all informal (they’re from Marilyn Monroe – Fragments released last year), but Jim’s texts were published as poetry. In this personal study, we should put their works on the same level ‘cause we’re not searching for technical evaluation but for the analysis of their hearts through their words.

In the same way, we should consider that they were very different. Marilyn was playing with the world while Jim let the world play around him. Marilyn was addicted to glory and fame (perhaps a valve to supply her personal missing) while Jim was addicted to shocking people – as we can see in the whole Miami Incident (1969). These points are well registered on their lines.


            In Monroe’s more existentialist poem, we could see how complex was the Star’s mind:

I stood beneath your limbs
And you flowered and finally
Clung to me
And when the wind struck with the earth
And sand – you clung to me
Thinner than a cobweb I,
Sheerer than any –
But it did attach itself
And held fast in strong winds
Life – of which at singular times
I am both of your directions –
Somehow I remain hanging downward the most
As both of your directions pull me

Marilyn saw herself as a “cobweb”, what means that she was delicate and fragile (weak, at all). When she wrote “I stood beneath your limbs”, what we can notice is a very dependent woman who sought for true love during all her life – she married three times, her first husband was Jim Dougherty, then there was Joe Dimmagio and the third was Arthur Miller, but she failed on her trials – she seems to express that on the sad line “somehow I remain hanging downward the most”.

In Morrison’s turn, we have a complete different view of life; as we can see in a poem titled “Power”, from Wilderness:
I can make the earth stop in
Its track. I made the
Blue cars go away

I can make myself invisible or small
I can become gigant & reach the
Farthest things. I can change
 The course of nature
I can place myself anywhere in
Space or time
I can summon the dead
I can perceive events on other world
In my deepest inner mind
& in the minds of others

I can
I am
When you ignore the shamanic references on Jim’s line, you can see a man very proud of himself, a man believing in his personal power (“I can become gigant & reach the farthest things.”) – the fact that Jim was a lover of Nietzche’s work fits pretty good w/ the spirit of this poem. Jim’s alter ego called the Lizard King fits with Nietzche’s concept called Will to Power (the will to power – on Nietzche Philosophy – is the force that drives the man through all his life).

By these poems we are facing two different egos – the female one near to hell and the male one near to heaven; Marilyn recognized herself and her faults, as Jim recognized himself and his own power as showman. Of course, Marilyn had such power as a Hollywood Diva, but it did not change her inner opinion about herself. Jim incorporated the public’s devotion, building a safe zone to his ego. Marilyn – who had a disturbed childhood –   saw all this love and devotion as one more way to suffocate her.

Sex, love, relationships
If personally they were so different, there was one point where the Lizard King and the modern Giradoux’s Ondine: the way of loving and their relationships with their lovers.

In a poem from Wildnerss Jim describes brilliantly a relationship:

And I came to you
       For peace
And I came to you
For lies
And you gave me fever
& wisdom
& cries
Of sorrow
& we’ll be here
The next day
The next day

The lines show basically the story of relationship, mostly marked by sadness. Jim wrote about the exchange between lovers (goods and bad things –  fever”, “wisdom” and “cries/of sorrow”).
Marilyn could understand Jim if they meet, as we can see by a untitled poem from 1956 when she was married with Arthur Miller;

Where his eyes rest with pleasure – I
Want to still be – but time has changed
The hold of that glance.
Alas how will I cope when I am even less youthful –

I seek joy but it is clothed
With pain –
Take heart as in my youth
Sleep and rest my heavy head
On his breast – for still my love
Sleeps beside me

Marilyn’s poem is more specific and descriptive about an evanescent relationship. We can surely see these words as a confession about her marriage.

When analyzed together, – in despite of their specific characteristics – these poems compose a completive figure; especially in the second part of each poem:

And I came to you
For lies
And you gave me fever
& wisdom
& cries
Of sorrow

While in Marilyn’s turn:

Alas how will I cope when I am
Even less youthful –

I seek for joy but is clothed
With pain –

Both of them compare and reflect about the two sides of an unique relationship, “you gave me fever/ & wisdom/ & cries/of sorrow” and “I seek joy but it is clothed with pain” show exactly that the love was a two-faced experience for both writers, mainly focused on the hard moments.

Jim and Marilyn were notorious by their sexual/romantic life, being classified as “promiscuous” by the American society. Many people suppose that Jim’s love was Pamela Courson, but he had a long list of affairs, just like Marilyn had many lovers.

Jim and Marilyn were always surrounded by lovers who probably adore them, but when you read their words, you just feel that it was like if they’re alone all the time. Their souls were a vortex of pain, and the loneliness seemed to never leave them.  

Allegoric poems

That silent river which stirs
And swells itself with whatever passes over it
Wind, rain, great ships
I love the river – never unmoored
By anything
It’s quiet now
And the silence is alone
Except for the rumbling of things unknown
Distant drums very present
But for the piercing of screams
And the whispers of things
Sharp sounds and then suddenly hushed
To moans beyond sadness – terror beyond
The cry of things dim and too young to be known yet
The sobs of life itself

You must suffer –
To loose you dark golden
When you covering of
Even dead leaves leave you
Strong and naked
You must be –
Alive – when looking dead
Straight though bent
With wind

And bear the pain & the joy
Of newness on your limbs

Loneliness – be still

The piece is a rich poem from Marilyn Monroe, where the river sounds like an allegory. He seems to be calm (“It’s quiet now/And the silence is alone”), but it’s just an impression, ‘cause beyond the silence there are lots of thing expressing themselves (“excepts for the thunderous rumbling of things unknown/distant drums very present”). It could be a metaphor for Marilyn’s state of soul, ‘cause everyone saw the amazing blond bombshell but no one could see the sensible soul laying down this mask. This inner torture is suggested by the lines “Sharp sounds and then suddenly hushed/To moans beyond sadness – terror beyond/Fear”.

In the next part, she seems to be trying to understand the cause of her suffering “You must suffer – to loose you dark golden”. Perhaps if Marilyn could understand why she was damned, she could try to fix it.

Morrison’s poem fits w/ Marilyn’s research for meaning of the suffering:

Mouth fills with taste of copper
Chinese paper. Foreign money. Old posters.
Gyro on a string, a table
A coin spins. The faces.

There is an audience to our drama
Magic shade mask
Like the hero of a dream, he works for us,
In our behalf

How close is this to a final cut?

I fall. Sweet blackness
Strange world that waits and watches
Ancient dread of non-existence

If it’s no problem, why mention it.
Everything spoken means that,
Its opposite & everything else.
I’m alive. I’m dying.

            Just like Marilyn, Jim work with things beneath the material reality. He used the dreamlike to express what’s beyond the obvious. The first part of the poem seems to be a hallucinogenic vision. Then there’s the part that bought to us the same feeling of suffering we’ve got in Marilyn’s poem: “There’s an audience to our drama/ Magic shade mask/ Like the hero of a dream, he works for us/ in our behalf”; Jim should be conscious about all the attention he had got from media & public (“There is an audience to our drama”) and what they think about him, which picture of Jim Morrison was drawn in the collective brain of America (“Magic shade mask/ Like the hero of a dream, he works for us/ in our behalf”). It resembles a lot Marilyn’s line who seemed to express the storm inside her soul (“sharp sounds and then suddenly hushed to/moans beyond fear”).

            The last part resembles a prophecy. The prophecy of Jim’s end, the expression of his sadness on the Paris days at 1971: “I fall. Sweet blackness/ Strange world that waits and watches/ Ancient dread of non-existence/ (…)/ I’m alive. I’m dying.”. This last line “I’m alive. I’m dying.” Expresses a two-faced condition that is also present on Marilyn’s lines: “When you covering of/ even dead leaves leave you/ strong and naked/ you must be –/ alive – when looking dead/ straight though bent/ with wind”; Marilyn felt the same thing: Dying even being alive, both of them killed by the glory who surrounded them.

            Stronger than any argument is the end of these two iconic artists: Marilyn died in strange conditions at 1962 followed by Jim in 1971, in equal mysterious situation. Even at their death, they were watched, ‘cause, as Jim wrote: “There is an audience to our drama”.

            They found their final rest running away from the fame, finally achieving the so desired nemesis.

Yasmim Deschain

*Sorry for the mistakes on the English Language, I'm Brazilian*

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