In my last post, I mentioned a poem about Jimi Hendrix I wrote in 1988 which was edited by Howard Nemerov.
Purple Star Ship Of Jimi Hendrix
Fierce Muse, hot Janis of the gold Guitar,
rock and roll upon a wasted desert stage
and sing through me of the black Angel priest
who wanged his jolting way into our hearts
and cleansed us of our freezing hate with lust,
a lust transformed to love. Now raising high
her balanced judgment scales, with piercing eye,
thus sings my soul, full-gowned in moonlight.
Art is a lie that helps man see the truth,
and rescues aging souls from freezing hell.
It grabs his collar, drags him back to youth,
and opens blind eyes with a burning spell.
Behold, the shaman flies upon his star-ship
shaped long and sleek, a metal-bright dragon,
painted purple in sacred strawberry fields,
and streaks through northern skies on melodies
that ripple over our heads, a cosmic show
of love, retrieving lost souls from death.
This voodoo child, an orphan lost, is called
Jimi Hendrix, Lucifer of guitars,
light-maker in a dark mechanic world,
necromancer of rock and roll music,
medium for a lost generation of kids,
seeking to find the reappearing sun.
He wandered aimless in a rat-race land
where men worship glowing one-eyed god,
trapped within the prison walls of poverty,
until he saw beyond the veil of time,
and with an old guitar smashed down law walls
to gaze with unblinking eye and courage straight
into the dazzling eye of the nuclear sun.
Then he struggled through a thick social mire,
which grimed his dark ebon skin with mockery
and muddied in dry white his humid face,
but now he cuts chains with rocking fire
and blasts away the mask of social slave.
Listen as this young Janic priest wrestles
with pain and death, riding his guitar down
to black underworlds in a million minds,
diving into oceans of murky sound
to search out the deep sea plant of magic
so he can heal, with psychedelic shows
of clean unsullied imagination,
a hundred million sick and dying souls.
Our bright heart, the scarlet song bird,
is trapped, songless, inside a bony cage.
Does two-faced Jimi night-man have the key?
Not everyone will want to dance, be free,
but he shall lure them to the blazing fire
beneath a sprawling oak, and there inspire
all mummified office-workers with new life.
The young gray-haired seer sees in the past
what the aging bright-eyed teenager will need.
For us he lurks where old wrinkled monsters
slumber, where he shall battle our demons
with his sword of sound, slicing sharp and hot.
Godzilla stomps on crushing feet from deep
within the fearful minds of our children,
but Jimi strides forward with Heavenly songs
to slash his gulping throat, and save our kids.
Could Vulcan with black fires temper such a blade,
and seal its bite with sonic searing waves,
he too, with Rod of Aaron, could raise the dead,
as does Jimi the Jammer, who saves us
from our endless daily monotonous routine.
We trudge through the days with a heavy pack
of worries and fears strapped to a bent back,
but with cups of purple haze to grace our lips,
we wrangle those dead weights off and hurl them
down the rainbow mountain of experience.
Jimi is the dream weaver, a quick spider
in the healing hands of an angry God,
suspended in our place over pits of pain.
Crucified upon a blazing white cross
by defiant man against chaotic skies,
he sacrificed his soul a thousand times
for every one of us, and opened wide,
with his loud buzzing sound machine as key,
the pearly gates of hell, we streaming through
to dark inner worlds of anguish and self-doubt
and fire torments. And there the blacksmith
adjusts moon-lit horns, claps his evil hands,
and tempers fine our molten bodies and minds
into crystal bodies laced with golden hearts.
Could MichelAngelo carve a black David
better than Jimi transforms our lives,
he too would be the master of our pain.
Thus with carving blows to our frozen souls,
this magic son of God paves a highway
to hell, dark land of Demonic forces,
and helps us find the Stairway to Heaven,
that land of reason bright Platonic forms,
candles activated by passionate flame.
Watch him leaping like a lame lunatic,
crippled and broken by harsh reality,
dismembered and remembered by frantic feats
only clowns and tight-rope walkers know.
Let this wild master initiate you
to his Mephistophelean mysteries
of universal time and space and spirits.
Frenzied spirits dance in free amoral turmoil,
bright demons ravaging shy virgin souls
who are lost in a television wonderland,
teaching them the art of pleasure from pain.
Snow white boys and girls, sleeping dreamless,
are terrified awake by nightmares of red
that untap psychic oil wells, long brewing
and bubbling in their deserted bosoms,
that, gushing now as crystal springs, refresh
their blooming eyes, watering ice that melted
from Arctic lands of worry, hate and fear.
Would Jimi lead us all to hell and back,
a piper picking tunes on foolish hearts,
a preacher proclaiming a new gospel?
He helps us overcome all past restraints
and break the shackles that bind our spirits
to the dull merry-go-round of this world,
leads us deep inside ourselves to find
and touch the Flame, and then he leads us on
to the ideal world of painful perfection
where eternity is in the hands of God.
But never must we tarry in that shapeless land,
for there is only ageless timeless sleep,
a senseless nonexistence without a body,
so forward we ride, returning to the Earth
refreshed, reinvigorated, and reborn,
where every form is flexible, enflamed
with those glass spirits from unlocking hearts.
With tingling hands the dreamer puts to sleep
our raging minds, to show that spirit comes
springing high from within the flesh machine
we occupy and drive throughout this life.
Where now is that flickering inferno
of cosmic courage, that high raging soul
who vibrated like a heart-pulsing star,
pulsing so hard he exploded one night?
He fought with sensing sounds our demon soul,
and with the harness of song, he made us whole,
but at the moment Jammer confounded death,
his passion flowing outward to our hearts,
he shattered into a thousand loaves of bread,
and now we feast upon his flesh and blood.
His path strikes a blazing supernova light
across the sky, a falling star of death,
an image in the heart, a springtime breath.
O Jimi! Lame lord of light-leaping laughter,
have you gone so far beyond our world bounds
that you have lost the way forever, never
to return to us, still chained to this earth?
I think his star has sunk into the sea
of vast eternity, where he shall never fade.
A vibrant note still lingers in the air,
a trembling musical tear for that wild,
wild demonic master of clown performance.
So weep that he is gone, and drink your tears,
building strength for the return of our fears.
So green-eyed Jana speaks to our weary hearts,
and she droops exhausted, a wilted flower
sucked dry of her sweet aroma nectar.
Stars and flowers are fated thus to die,
so laugh and dance, my friends, but do not cry.
Our time on Earth is but a short swift hour,
made fun and excellent with channeled power.
Locked in our aching souls the secrets sleep,
these shamans give their souls for us to keep,
that we can find ourselves, to live and love,
but first we sink below to soar above.