Friday, September 16, 2011
The Poet in Exile by Ray Manzarek, reviewed by BL Kennedy
The Poet in Exile
Thunder Mouth Press
New York, NY
“He sucked in a great cleansing breath and then looked at me. His eyes were deep and peaceful. He was a different man. I could look into his blue orbs now. I couldn’t back then; too much turmoil, too much chaos, too much power. A strange and dark power that always mad the green thing in the pit of my stomach stir, its tentacles sending a shiver of fear through my body.”
Let me flat out state that I am a hardcore fan of Jim Morrison, which is not the same as being a hardcore fan of the Doors. I think the band, the musicians Ray Manzarek, Robbie Kreger, and John Dinsmore, were fused conduits of energy invoked by the shaman Jim Morrison. That said, lets get on with this review.
First, I wanna say I kind of like Ray Manzarek. I mean, it must have been really hard being the old man backing up the shaman poet. One time, in Davis California, I had the chance to run into Manzarek at a local bar. I said “Ray Manzarek!” and he said “I never saw the body, it was a closed coffin”. Then I said “I just wanted to say hello.”
So now here we are, years later, I’m this comfortable old fart living in his apartment in Sacramento reading books and watching repeats of that 70’s Show. Occasionally, I make a trip to my favorite neighborhood bookstore, Beers Books, which is convenient because its right across the street from Waffle Square, my favorite junk breakfast joint. So, like I said, years have passed. There are what, at least 7 or 8 biographies of Jim Morrison and the Doors and it doesn’t look like its gonna stop anytime soon. So here I am in Beers Books and I see a book by Ray Manzarek, The Poet in Exile, filed under the section of ritual magic, which is right next to the UFO section, which is right next to the section of walking Zombie Templars, the Virgin Mother, and more UFOs. Anyway, you all know the rumors that Jim Morrison faked his death. There was no body, just a casket full of rocks. AT least that’s the rumor. It was all a hoax, a death hoax thought up by Morrison himself and perpetrated by Pamela and the other members of the Doors. So, I find this book The Poet in Exile by Ray Manzarek which puts forth the proposition that the Lord was indeed Petitioned. In this book, Manzarek claims to have been contacted by the supposed dead lead singer of a band that he does not name. God it takes a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
Anyways, so I think you get the picture. The fictional singer in the novel is actually Ray Manzarek’s creative imagination telling us what really happened with Jim Morrison, and like of all of us Morrison fans know, there is a secret cache of poetry, artwork and empty whiskey bottles lying somewhere in America or in Iran. Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit unfair to Mr. Manzarek. I mean, I think that fans of Jim Morrison realized way before any members of the Doors that Morrison never died. SO, in a sense Mr. Manzarek is a Johnny Come Lately. However, in all fairness, I simply have to recommend this novel, not only because it’s a fun read, but it belong in any Doors fan or Jim Morrison’s fan collection. Now, I understand its hard to find. But if you can locate a copy of the Poet in Exile, I promise you will not regret it. Remember, don’t step on that myth, because it just might bite you on the ass.