Roger Davis, 29, Guitarist
Last, but most definitely not least, we come to Roger. I go back to the room he shares with Mimi. Upon inspection of the walls it looks something like Dorm Room Meets Seventies Love Den. Everything Mimi owns is coated in either neon color or varying faux animal prints. His beloved fender guitar Margarita sits propped up against the wall, a testament to the timeless deities of rock. Over the green wall paint Roger has put up posters of his gods; Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and of course, his favorite and mine, Jim Morrison. Recently I've become obsessed with the long dead poet of rock and roll and Roger has been more than happy to be my guide.
Roger himself is asleep across the zebra printed bed, hands behind his head. I pad over in my socks and lay a hand on his shoulder. He opens one green eye and grins lopsidedly.
"Should I come back?"
"Nah, nah, nah, dude. It's all good. I was just resting my eyes," he yawns. I fight back a smile. Open a little wider, I can't see all your fillings.
I put my recorder on the floor and hit the key. I sit next to him. The warmth from his sleep radiates a little to me. Roger shakes a lock of dirty blonde hair from his eyes.
"Okay…Oh wait one more second."
He scoots over to find the crumpled piece of paper I assume is his poem. I shake my head.
"I know, I know. Okay, I'm ready. I'm pumped. I'm in the zone."
"You're a dork. Read on, Davis, my man."
"Okay. Well I know you're gonna be shocked and amazed but the poem I picked is…by Jim!"
"Rog!" I fake astonishment for a minute, then lean forward in anticipation. "Which one is it? I've got to know!"
"Well I really wanted to do 'Celebration of the Lizard,'" he admits. "But I mean come on you can't just read that thing like you would a regular poem. Same with 'The Soft Parade.' Those are my two favorites really. But one day I'll get drunk and be the Lizard King for you. On your birthday."
I laugh. Then suddenly get an idea.
"Okay so for you I think I want to switch things up a little," I tell him. "What I've done with all the other guys was to have them read the poem first and then talk about it. But I think since you're the last one we should end on some words of wisdom. So I think I want to do it backwards. Do you mind?"
He waves dismissively.
"Nah dude, it's your thing you do what you want. Ask away. Let's talk some Jim."
Roger always calls me dude.
"Okay great! So when did you first get into his poetry? How did you and Jim meet so to speak?"
"Oh man..." He lies back on the pillow for a second and sucks in his breath. "Let me think about that."
Instead of thinking, he gets up lazily and goes to the corner, taking Margarita under his arm and coming back.
"Help me out, girl," he says to her. "I'm gettin' old. Don't remember stuff like I used to."
I try not to roll my eyes. But my irritation fades as he begins to pluck the guitar tabs to Love Me Two Times from The Doors' 'Waiting for the Sun' album.
"It's hard to say an exact time I guess," he says, still playing. "I mean by the time I was born I'd already missed the wave, forget when I was old enough to know. But I think I was in the…sixth grade when it opened up. I hung out with a lot of older dudes because ya know I'm such hot shit."
This time I do roll my eyes.
"Oh yea, steaming," I mock.
He gives me a smirking grin and goes on like he didn't hear.
"But anyway I hung out with these bunch a like thirty year old hippie sorta guys and they were like Doors maniacs man! They'd followed the band around the whole country, gone to France to write stuff on Jim's grave, the whole works. All the stuff you and me always wish we could do. Anyway they were always playing his music. I think the first song I really sat down and listened to was "Peace Frog" and I don't know, man. There's no way to describe listening to Jim, you know what I'm saying. It was just incredible. I'd never heard anything like it. It was poetry and music and drama and, I dunno, drugs. I still have no idea!"
Roger is getting really excited, waving his arms with his hair swishing all around. Then he stops, panting a little, and gives what could very well be described as a contented sigh.
"And I just got hooked. I rapidly became the insane fan you see before you."
He makes a grandiose gesture with his hands. I clap for him.
"In high school I was even worse. I was Robbie Krieger in a Long Island tribute band called Knocking at the Doors."
I actually scream. I lean forward more and yell:
"GET OUT! Oh my God, did you do Spanish Caravan?"
"The flamenco part and all!" he shouts proudly. I squeal and he nods feverishly
"Yea I earned money for all of my college expenses playing Light my Fire until my fingers bled."
He roars with laughter at the better days and wiping tears of merriment from his eyes mutters:
"My god. What I time. What a guy he must've been huh?"
"Yeah," I sigh.
There's another pause. Roger keeps playing the chords. After a minute I ask:
"How do you feel when you hear him?"
Roger is quiet for a while.
"I guess…I guess the only word is inspired. When I listen to his voice and his words I think about how weird life is. I mean, the guy died so young but…but he'll never really die. That's what I see when I look at you and you're pissed off and singing Five to One to make yourself feel better. Or when I put The Soft Parade on and even Erik knows the words. That's immortality, man, for real. That's what it is. Maybe the reason he died so young is so that would be all we remembered of him. All his best."
I nod. It's the only thing I can do. At my side I hear the crackley unfolding of crinkled paper.
TO THE AMERICAN NIGHT by Jim Morrison
Welcome to the American Night
where dogs bite
to find the voice
the face the fate the fame
to be tamed
by The Night
in a quiet soft luxuriant
Hitchhikers line the Great Highway.
must tie all these
desperate impressions together"