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Book by Morrison, James
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Jim Morrison was the lead singer, composer, and lyricist for The Doors until his death in 1971. Several books of his poems were published posthumously.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
NOTES ON VISION
Look where we worship.
We all live in the city.
The city forms -- often physically, but inevitably psychically -- a circle. A Game. A ring of death with sex at its center. Drive toward outskirts of city suburbs. At the edge discover zones of sophisticated vice and boredom, child prostitution. But in the grimy ring immediately surrounding the daylight business district exists the only real crowd life of our mound, the only street life, night life. Diseased specimens in dollar hotels, Iow boarding houses, bars, pawn shops, burlesques and brothels, in dying arcades which never die, in streets and streets of all-night cinemas.
When play dies it becomes the Game.
When sex dies it becomes Climax.
All games contain the idea of death.
Baths, bars, the indoor pool. Our injured leader prone on the sweating tile. Chlorine on his breath and in his long hair. Lithe, although crippled, body of a middle-weight contender. Near him the trusted journalist, confidant. He liked men near him with a large sense of life. But most of the press were vultures descending on the scene for curious America aplomb. Cameras inside the coffin interviewing worms.
It takes large murder to turn rocks in the shade and expose strange worms beneath. The lives of our discontented madmen are revealed.
Camera, as all-seeing god, satisfies our longing for omniscience. To spy on others from this height and angle, pedestrians pass in and out of our lens like rare aquatic insects.
Yoga powers. To make oneself invisible or small. To become gigantic and reach to the farthest things. To change the course of nature. To place oneself anywhere in space or time. To summon the dead. To exalt senses and perceive inaccessible images, of events on other worlds, in one's deepest inner mind, or in the minds of others.
The sniper's rifle is an extension of his eye. He kills with injurious vision.
The assassin (?), in flight, gravitated with unconscious, instinctual insect ease, moth-like, toward a zone of safety, haven from the swarming streets. Quickly, he was devoured in the warm, dark, silent maw of the physical theater.
Modern circles of Hell: Oswald (?) kills President.
Oswald enters taxi. Oswald stops at rooming house.
Oswald leaves taxi. Oswald kills Officer Tippitt.
Oswald sheds jacket. Oswald is captured.
He escaped into a movie house.
In the womb we are blind cave fish.
Everything is vague and dizzy. The skin swells and there is no more distinction between parts of the body. An encroaching sound of threatening, mocking, monotonous voices. This is fear and attraction of being swallowed.
Inside the dream, button sleep around your body like a glove. Free now of space and time. Free to dissolve in the streaming summer.
Sleep is an under-ocean dipped into each night. At morning, awake dripping, gasping, eyes stinging.
The eye looks vulgar Inside its ugly shell. Come out in the open In all of your Brilliance.
Nothing. The air outside burns my eyes. I'll pull them out and get rid of the burning.
Crisp hot whiteness City Noon Occupants of plague zone are consumed.
(Santa Ana's are winds off deserts.)
Rip up grating and splash in gutters. The search for water, moisture, "wetness" of the actor, lover.
"Players" -- the child, the actor, and the gambler. The idea of chance is absent from the world of the child and primitive. The gambler also feels in service of an alien power. Chance is a survival of religion in the modern city, as is theater, more often cinema, the religion of possession.
What sacrifice, at what price can the city be born?
There are no longer "dancers," the possessed. The cleavage of men into actor and spectators is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish. If all the radios and televisions were deprived of their sources of power, all books and paintings burned tomorrow, all shows and cinemas closed, all the arts of vicarious existence...
We are content with the "given" in sensation's quest. We have been metamorphosised from a mad body dancing on hillsides to a pair of eyes staring in the dark.
Not one of the prisoners regained sexual balance. Depressions, impotency, sleeplessness...erotic dispersion in languages, reading, games, music, and gymnastics.
The prisoners built their own theater which testified to an incredible surfeit of leisure. A young sailor, forced into female roles, soon became the "town" darling, for by this time they called themselves a town, and elected a mayor, police, aldermen.
In old Russia, the Czar, each year, granted -- out of the shrewdness of his own soul or one of his advisors' -- a week's freedom for one convict in each of his prisons. The choice was left to the prisoners themselves and it was determined in several ways. Sometimes by vote, sometimes by lot, often by force. It was apparent that the chosen must be a man of magic, virility, experience, perhaps narrative skill, a man of possibility, in short, a hero. Impossible situation at the moment of freedom, impossible selection, defining our world in its percussions.
A room moves over a landscape, uprooting the mind, astonishing vision. A gray film melts off the eyes, and runs down the cheeks. Farewell.
Modern life is a journey by car. The Passengers change terribly in their reeking seats, or roam from car to car, subject to unceasing transformation. Inevitable progress is made toward the beginning (there is no difference in terminals), as we slice through cities, whose ripped backsides present a moving picture of windows, signs, streets, buildings. Sometimes other vessels, closed worlds, vacuums, travel along beside to move ahead or fall utterly behind.
Destroy roofs, walls, see in all the rooms at once.
From the air we trapped gods, with the gods' omniscient gaze, but without their power to be inside minds and cities as they fly above.
June 30th. On the sun roof. He woke up suddenly. At that instant a jet from the air base crawled in silence overhead. On the beach, children try to leap into its swift shadow.
The bird or insect that stumbles into a room and cannot find the window. Because they know no "windows."
Wasps, poised in the window, Excellent dancers, detached, are not inclined into our chamber.
Room of withering mesh read love's vocabulary in the green lamp of tumescent flesh.
When men conceived buildings, and closed themselves in chambers, first trees and caves.
(Windows work two ways, mirrors one way.)
You never walk through mirrors or swim through windows.
Cure blindness with a whore's spittle.
In Rome, prostitutes were exhibited on roofs above the public highways for the dubious hygiene of loose tides of men whose potential lust endangered the fragile order of power. It is even reported that patrician ladies, masked and naked, sometimes offered themselves up to these deprived eyes for private excitements of their own.
More or less, we're all afflicted with the psychology of the voyeur. Not in a strictly clinical or criminal sense, but in our whole physical and emotional stance before the world. Whenever we seek to break this spell of passivity, our actions are cruel and awkward and generally obscene, like an invalid who has forgotten how to walk.
The voyeur, the peeper, the Peeping Tom, is a dark comedian. He is repulsive in his dark anonymity, in his secret invasion. He is pitifully alone. But, strangely, he is able through this same silence and concealment to make unknowing partner of anyone within his eye's range. This is his threat and power.
There are no glass houses. The shades are drawn and "real" life begins. Some activities are impossible in the open. And these secret events are the voyeur's game. He seeks them out with his myriad army of eyes -- like the child's notion of a Deity who sees all. "Everything?" asks the child. "Yes, everything," they answer, and the child is left to cope with this divine intrusion.
The voyeur is masturbator, the mirror his badge, the window his prey.
Urge to come to terms with the "Outside," by absorbing, interiorizing it. I won't come out, you must come in to me. Into my womb-garden where I peer out. Where I can construct a universe within the skull, to rival the real.
She said, "Your eyes are always black." The pupil opens to seize the object of vision.
Imagery is born of loss. Loss of the "friendly expanses." The breast is removed and the face imposes its cold, curious, forceful, and inscrutable presence.
You may enjoy life from afar. You may look at things but not taste them. You may caress the mother only with the eyes.
You cannot touch these phantoms.
French Deck. Solitary stroker of cards. He dealt himself a hand. Turn stills of the past in unending permutations, shuffle and begin. Sort the images again. And sort them again. This game reveals germs of truth, and death.
The world becomes an apparently infinite, yet possibly finite, card game. Image combinations, permutations, comprise the world game.
A mild possession, devoid of risk, at bottom sterile. With an image there is no attendant danger.
Muybridge derived his animal subjects from the Philadelphia Zoological Garden, male performers from the University. The women were professional artists' models, also actresses and dancers, parading nude before the 48 cameras.
Films are collections of dead pictures which are given artificial insemination.
Film spectators are quiet vampires.
Cinema is most totalitarian of the arts. All energy and sensation is sucked up into the skull, a cerebral erection, skull bloated with blood. Caligula wished a single neck for all his subjects that he could behead a kingdom with one blow. Cinema is this transforming agent. The body exists for the sake of the eyes; it becomes a dry stalk to support these two soft insatiable jewels.
Film confers a kind of spurious eternity.
Each film depends upon all the others and drives you on to others. Cinema was a novelty, a scientific toy, until a sufficient body of works had been amassed, enough to create an intermittent other world, a powerful, infinite mythology to be dipped into at will.
Films have an illusion of timelessness fostered by their regular, indomitable appearance.
The appeal of cinema lies in the fear of death.
The modern East creates the greatest body of films. Cinema is a new form of an ancient tradition -- the shadow play. Even their theater is an imitation of it. Born in India or China, the shadow show was aligned with religious ritual, linked with celebrations which centered around cremation of the dead.
It is wrong to assume, as some have done, that cinema belongs to women. Cinema is created by men for the consolation of men.
The shadow plays originally were restricted to male audiences. Men could view these dream shows from either side of the screen. When women later began to be admitted, they were allowed to attend only to shadows.
Male genitals are small faces forming trinities of thieves and Christs Fathers, sons, and ghosts.
A nose hangs over a wall and two half eyes, sad eyes, mute and handless, multiply an endless round of victories.
These dry and secret triumphs, fought in stalls and stamped in prisons, glorify our walls and scorch our vision.
A horror of empty spaces propagates this seal on private places.
Kynaston's Bride may not appear but the odor of her flesh is never very far.
A drunken crowd knocked over the apparatus, and Mayhew's showman, exhibiting at Islington Green, burned up, with his mate, inside.
In 1832, Gropius was astounding Paris with his Pleorama. The audience was transformed into the crew aboard a ship engaged in battle. Fire, screaming, sailors, drowning.
Robert Baker, an Edinburgh artist, while in jail for debt, was struck by the effect of light shining through the bars of his cell through a letter he was reading, and out of this perception he invented the first Panorama, a concave, transparent picture view of the city.
This invention was soon replaced by the ???Diorama, which added the illusion of movement by shifting the room. Also sounds and novel lighting effects. Daguerre's London Diorama still stands in Regent's Park, a rare survival, since these shows depended always on effects of artificial light, produced by lamps or gas jets, and nearly always ended in fire.
Phantasmagoria, magic lantern shows, spectacles without substance. They achieved complete sensory experiences through noise, incense, lightning, water. There may be a time when we'll attend Weather Theaters to recall the sensation of rain.
Cinema has evolved in two paths.
One is spectacle. Like the Phantasmagoria, its goal is the creation of a total substitute sensory world.
The other is peep show, which claims for its realm both the erotic and the untampered observance of real life, and imitates the keyhole or voyeur's window without need of color, noise, grandeur.
Cinema discovers its fondest affinities, not with painting, literature, or theater, but with the popular diversions -- comics, chess, French and Tarot decks, magazines, and tattooing.
Cinema derives not from painting, literature, sculpture, theater, but from ancient popular wizardry. It is the contemporary manifestation of an evolving history of shadows, a delight in pictures that move, a belief in magic. Its lineage is entwined from the earliest beginning with Priests and sorcery, a summoning of phantoms. With, at first, only slight aid of the mirror and fire, men called up dark and secret visits from regions in the buried mind. In these seances, shades are spirits which ward off evil.
The spectator is a dying animal.
Invoke, palliate, drive away the Dead. Nightly.
Through ventriloquism, gestures, play with objects, and all rare variations of the body in space, the shaman signaled his "trip" to an audience which shared the journey.
In the seance, the shaman led. A sensuous panic, deliberately evoked through drugs, chants, dancing, hurls the shaman into trance. Changed voice, convulsive movement. He acts like a madman. These professional hysterics, chosen precisely for their psychotic leaning, were once esteemed. They mediated between man and spirit-world. Their mental travels formed the crux of the religious life of the tribe.
Principle of seance: to cure illness. A mood might overtake a people burdened by historical events or dying in a bad landscape. They seek deliverance from doom, death, dread. Seek possession, the visit of gods and powers, a rewinning of the life source from demon possessors. The cure is culled from ecstasy. Cure illness or prevent its visit, revive the sick, and regain stolen, soul.
It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It insures his existence.
The happening/the event in wh...
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Book Description Omnibus Pr & Schirmer Trade Books, 1970. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0711905525
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-0711905525