NEW YORK — A handwritten poem by Jim Morrison found among his possessions in the Paris hotel where he died in 1971 ends with the line "Last words, Last words out."
Written on the last page torn out of a thick notebook, the double-sided document is the highlight of an online auction that went live Thursday. Auctioneer Paddle8 said bidding through June 25 is expected to reach between $60,000 and $80,000.
The lead singer and songwriter of the 1960s rock group the Doors died at age 27. The exact cause of death was never determined and speculation has abounded.
Whether the poem's words were a foretelling of what was to come is anyone's guess. The flamboyant rocker famous for such iconic tunes as "Light My Fire," ''L.A. Woman" and "Riders on the Storm" was known for his darkly poetic lyrics and alcohol and drug use.
"He was kind of obsessed" by the theme of death from the very first album, said Simeon Lipman, a specialist who works on Paddle8's "Legendary" series of music memorabilia auctions.
"Obviously, we don't know if it's the last thing he ever wrote… but it was among the last things he ever wrote—certainly."
The notebook was originally intact and then broken apart and sold in pieces over several years, he said. The page being sold is numbered but not dated.
The "Last Words" poem, which also contains the line "I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness," appears on page 152. The reverse, page 151, contains another poem—or possibly the start of the same poem—beginning with "Well, I'm a Soul Cobra Man"—another favorite theme of the rocker who liked wearing snakeskin and who sang "I'm the Crawlin' King snake."
"What stands out is the fact that the one on page 152 was indeed the last page of the notebook," said Lipman. "I actually saw the notebook when it was intact years ago and I remember seeing that last page and those last words and thinking, 'Wow, this is pretty powerful stuff.'"
"His writings can be taken so many different ways. Personally I like to visualize what he's saying. … That's what makes his songs and poems so relevant today because people can envision them," he added.
The notebook the page came from was found inside Morrison's "Fascination Trunk," which contained other personal belongings including books and other notebooks.
Morrison moved to Paris in 1971 to take a break from performing and to focus on his writing. He died a few months later. French police ruled out foul play and an autopsy was never performed.
Morrison's grave in Paris attracts tourists from around the world.
"He is the prototype of that kind of brooding, brilliant rock star," said Lipman. "Because he died young, he's timeless like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe."
What makes the document special is that it "combines a lot of different threads," he said. It's written in Morrison's own hand, deals with the themes of death and snakes, and was found in the hotel where he died.
Paddle8 is a four-year-old company that targets new and veteran collectors with items of contemporary art, design and memorabilia estimated at $100,000 and under.