It is my honor and privilege to present Alfred Corn, the great American poet and essayist.
Mr Corn was asked by J.D.M.P.S to write a poem in remembrance of Jim Morrison and we are delighted with his submission.
The true Jim Morrison fan has read every single word of Jim’s writings, so “Stranger” is nothing less than poetic scripture lovingly crafted using Morrison’s own repository then presented to delight us one and all.
A. R. Graham.
For Jim Morrison
Wilderness scout unaware a sidewinder
during the night has slipped into the tent: he rolls
over onto a two-point bite through his T-shirt.
Adam woke one morning to a missing rib.
Eva appeared. Snake eyes: a knowing apple
later, the pair denuded of their innocence
joined wounds and became one flesh again,
though it severed them forever from their garden.
Prometheus, Firebringer, chained
to the gods-ordained rock, in agonic
dialogue with a vulture, whose box-cutter
beak finds a way through the ribcage
to dig out chunks of liver. Bright sunrise
to warm sunset: the thief of heat and light
lives as carrion for his winged tormentor.
Spear-wound through which the dying Master’s
blood and water poured: in the epilogue
it served (“Put your fingers in the hole”)
as court evidence to doubting Thomas.
Who wouldn’t do it, choked up, and believed.
And Paul’s equivalent? Even during a feast
of friends, he felt a “thorn in his side,” a burr
under the saddle that pricks and gives no rest.
Jim, my frontman! We won’t find a Fender burning
at your side. You light a fire in the chest’s beating
hearth, exacerbating a stab wound nothing
will ever stanch. Both entrance and exit,
a door of perception. Go in, strut a little hour
on the stage, be their Dionysus: twice born,
ripped from a mother’s womb and housed
in Zeus’s side until gestation was done. Wasted,
you wanted not this numbed-out cage of ours
but infinite, eternal room. Death’s got that.
It stretched its arms outward to a T, the crossbar
calling you to break into an amniotic otherland
where laughter and soft lies couldn’t wake you.
The embers are with us now, electric, ravaging.
Ah but you: wandering the wilderness like Cain
on your stone highway to the end of the night.
American author Alfred Corn has published ten books of poems, including Stake: Selected Poems, 1972-1992 (1999) and, most recently, Unions (2014). He has also published a novel, Part of His Story, a study of prosody The Poem’s Heartbeat, and two collections of critical essays, The Metamorphoses of Metaphor and Atlas: Selected Essays, 1989-2007. His second novel, Miranda’s Book, will be published in late 2014.
As a graduate student in French literature, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study for a year in Paris. For his poetry, he has received Guggenheim, NEA, and NYFA fellowships, an Award in Literature from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, and the Dillon, Blumenthal, and Levinson Prizes from Poetry magazine.
For many years he taught in the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia University and held visiting posts at UCLA, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Yale.
His book reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Nation, the New Republic, the Hudson Review, and Poetry London. He also writes art criticism for Art in America and ARTnews magazines.
In 2001 Abrams published Aaron Rose Photographs, for which he supplied the introduction. In 2003 he was a fellow of the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center at Bellagio, Lake Como, and for 2004-2005, he held the Amy Clampitt residency in Lenox, Massachusetts. From 2005 to 2011 he lived mostly in London, teaching a course for the Poetry School, and one for the Arvon Foundation. His play, Lowell’s Bedlam, premiered at Pentameters Theatre in London in 2011. In 2012, he was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, working on a translation of the Duino Elegies, and in 2013 Clare Hall made him a Life Fellow. In 2014 he won the international Andersen Prize, awarded for a fairy tale, by the Comune di Sestri Levante in Italy.
Corn lives in Rhode Island and spends part of every year in the UK.