Friday, June 26, 2009
For Michael Jackson: The Man In The Mirror, Darkly
Dateline June 25, 2009...
CNN is on the boob tube. I'm feeling a little transfixed by just the phrase at the bottom of the screen "Michael Jackson Dies."
Late in the afternoon, I didn't and wouldn't believe the hype. There was a breaking news report that he was rushed to a hospital. Even that wasn't shocking. But 'cardiac arrest' was just cause to pay more attention... and to worry. When about an hour later it was announced that he died, the reality of the moment became surreal. I could hardly wrap my mind around it.
I don't know about you, but having lost family members whom I truly loved and who knew and loved me, I can rarely cry at the deaths of celebs... even those I feel a certain kindred to don't jerk my tears. However, people like Michael Jackson are so much a part of my life, your life, OUR lives that the sadness of them passing feels like the death inside the one remaining corner of our childhood.
Yes, deep in the hoopla of his utter celebrity, he went on to make a freakish spectacle of himself... and vividly remembering Jackson as he once was, it became disturbing to see him. Yes, there was a swirl of suspicion and mystery surrounding him, his activities with young children, and his chronically bad judgment.
However, the essential truth is that Michael Jackson was first and foremost, arguably, the Greatest Entertainer this world would ever see. When he performed, there were sparks and something like electromagnetic energy shooting from his body. There are so many talented people in this world, yet his talent loomed so large, it was almost otherworldly. I feel fortunate to have lived in a lifetime that produced Sinatra, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Prince... and then, there was Michael Jackson. So Young. Gifted. Iconic. Michael Jackson's music magically bridged gaps in culture, erased color-lines, spanned across generations and managed to rock the world in its entirety! It was no easy feat, and yet his career changed the course of modern history. Michael Jackson was clearly an innovator whose like we'll not see again.
The person he became in the later years of his life was a stranger to me. But whenever they replay those old J5 clips, it feels like home... so close to the heart and the bone and the soul of me.
The pretty brown skin afro-topped boy with so much talent, it exploded from him, this is what I choose to remember.
I miss THAT cat, and his talented brothers. I missed that cat long before he died. I miss the way he made me feel.
And so, with Michael Jackson's passing, it's as if something young, dynamic, free and full of possibility has died a sad death inside me.
Thank God for the music, the videos, the memories, and these beautiful people playing his songs and dancing in front of the Apollo and all over the world today!
Maybe that's what we're really supposed to remember: the way it made us FEEL!
My soul was awakened by Michael Jackson.
I was amazed by the gift of Michael Jackson.
I admired the music of Michael Jackson.
I sang the tunes of Michael Jackson.
I was addicted to the grooves of Michael Jackson.
I imitated the moves of Michael Jackson.
I grew up with the legend of Michael Jackson.
I celebrated the ascension of Michael Jackson.
I was fascinated by the aura of Michael Jackson.
I was transfixed by the wizardry of Michael Jackson.
I was so very proud of Michael Jackson.
I wanted to be Michael Jackson.
I became disappointed in Micheal Jackson.
I was saddened and confused by Micheal Jackson.
I was alarmed and concerned about Michael Jackson.
I became a little ashamed of Michael Jackson.
I was mystified and afraid for Michael Jackson.
I tripped upon the icon of Micheal Jackson.
But maybe I was wrong about Michael Jackson.
I wanted to believe in Michael Jackson.
I now grieve the life of Michael Jackson.
Thank God for the Music!
Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson.