Good afternoon Joanne:
Thank you for the speedy reply. :) I'm submitting for your consideration "Homecoming". The poem was originally published on my blog, Raven's Wing Poetry, April of last year.
As I mentioned in my last email, the poem about the Miami incident. It is my attempt to "get inside Jim's head" in the moments before the concert and while he was onstage. It's been said that he used that concert to, in his estimation, say something substantial and significant and was especially influenced by his witnessing the Living Theatre performances. I've also heard that Jim had nagging self-doubts about his vocal abilities, and possibly about whether he was saying anything of real significance with his words. As a poet, I can really relate to having those kinds of doubts and fighting them myself.
Also, as you might have seen me mention on my Twitter feed, I am an adult with Asperger Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum condition. One hallmark of autism is narrow, specialized, obsessive interests (at least that's what they call it). I prefer to see these obsessive interests as emotional and mental touchstones that captivate our hearts and minds, as well as possible points of reference to help us understand the world around us. One of my special interests happens to be The Doors—Jim's life and poetry in particular.
(BTW if you want to include any of this if you post the poem, feel free.)
The poem, and my bio, follow my signature.
Thank you again,
"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence." - Frederick Douglass
Please visit my blogs:
Wonder if this is really home.
Feel the air cling to and buzz on your skin
as you exit the plane.
Watch neon write poems
with the glare and hiss of brilliant letters like slit veins
on the darkened windshield of the taxi cab
that pulls up to the curb.
Feel your throbbing head scintillate
as the night slowly pours into your eyes and ears. Watch it
compete with the footage of the last three days
as it loops around your brain, pulling you forward
to the inevitability of an angry stage
about to break under your collective weight.
Rehearse what you are going to say
as you assume the stage.
Wonder if you really do
have anything to say at all.
Enter the cab.
Feel the film loop around your cerebrum
constrict, the snake growing meaner, fiercer, tighter.
Remember the shouting in your ears,
the declarations of one’s own slavery: passports,
Replay that last moment when you assumed a stage
and lay yourself on an altar alongside a dozen others,
removing clothes, pleading to the audience before you:
Half-watch the streets buzz, hiss, and slur by your window
as you write missives in your head with borrowed words,
buzzing nerves, and your own indignation.
Watch the umbra of an old family photo creep up
into your consciousness: chase it away like
so much detritus left over after
cars on a desert highway collide.
Exit the cab.
Feel the outer wall of your heart collapse
by the horn blasts of an unseen, circling army.
Watch the buglers’ calls march up your nerves,
light upon the hairs on the back of your neck.
Down a beer to chase the army away.
And then another.
And then another.
Keep chasing them until the army drowns,
a pack of hapless Egyptians asphyxiating in your Red Sea
on whatever you can find to kill them off.
Enter the auditorium.
Feel the sonorous drumbeat of a ticking clock slowly die
as your nerves and mind become lambent,
lighting up amber like the beer you have been ingesting.
Rehearse your missives again inside your brain.
Climb up to the stage. Inhale. Exhale.
Grab a passing measure of music and climb on, riding it in crest
over the unsuspecting crowd before you.
Rehearse your missives again. Inhale. Exhale.
Dismount, and begin delivery.
Feel the stage buckle and bow beneath the collective weight
of the four of you.
Inhale. Exhale. Rage on.
When the crowd shuts their ears, threaten to disrobe.
Perform tauromachy with the crowd using your
unzipped fly and boxer shorts as a cape.
Inhale. Exhale. Rage on.
When it is all over, exit the stage.
Hope that you finally had something to say.
Nicole Nicholson was called to poetry as a teenager and has never left. In 2010, she won a Naturally Autistic People Award from the ANCA Foundation for an unpublished collection of poems, Novena. Her work has also been featured in Hyperlexia, qarrtsiluni, Awe in Autism, and The Art of Autism. She has published two chapbooks to date, Raven Feathers and word, and regularly blogs her poems at Raven’s Wing Poetry. In addition, she is a contributor to We Write Poems, an online community of poets, and blogs about her Asperger’s related experiences at Woman With Asperger’s. Nicole currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her fiancé.