Poetry is the painting of the literary world. Words are your colors and you have to use them thickly. The emotional impact upon the reader is much stronger than in longer forms such as short stories or novels. Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s “Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison” paints a mystical journey with Jim Morrison.
The Jim Morrison that appears in “Crossing Kansas” is a personal Morrison that she met (like most of us) through biographies, documentaries, and films. Morrison comes to her, Martin-Bowen, or the unnamed female protagonist of the poems when he manifests out of her car radio. Her Morrison is more an archetype appearing as the shaman, the literary scholar, Banshee, James Dean and even as a trickster spirit guide changing appearance at will. During the journey across the plains of Kansas they encounter the Indian myth of La Loba, the wolf woman or bone woman who gathers the bones of the dead to rebuild them so they have new life, and Morrison and Martin Bowen head off to Mexico in search of La Loba. Is Morrison seeking resurrection through his visitation with the poems’ protagonist?
Martin-Bowen does paint those pictures upon the page, her words thick with imagery and meaning: “she rebuilds my throat/spine and all four femurs/wraps them with honey/an elixir, and I turn gold.” While Martin-Bowen’s poetic style is different from Morrison’s own poetic output, you can sense some of the same themes in her poems, such as resurrection, examining our belief systems, and of course the Indian motifs.
“Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison” is available from Amazon in paperback format — as it should be, since each poem creates a picture on the page, line against a blankness that provides form instead of electrons ordered on something more ephemeral and less substantial than a book of poems such as “Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison.”
Originally published June 11, 2016.
Ms. Martin-Bowen has a new book out: “Where Water Meets the Rock”.