at this point past the shock, there are just way too many triggers... i feel my heart constantly sinking. recently i was in the midst of reading a biography about him for the book i was writing- one of those dozens of books that came out during the hype of 'thriller' and 'motown 25'... i find it impossible to even finish now, much less open it. i feel like a mother whose child has finally left the nest to attend college or get married- i want to leave my room exactly the way it was on the day he... transcended... all of the posters on my wall, all of the dolls, the books. it's like i know he will return, but i really know he will not return in the same way i knew him.
all of these triggers... i look down at the book i was reading on the makeshift coffee table in my room, and i pick it up and open it. the page i opened - i have no idea what the context was, but my eyes could only see amongst the blurred text, "when he died, michael..." was the author talking about an artist? someone in his family? i have no idea, but i immediately shut the book and placed it back on the table. everywhere i go, i can't move without reading or hearing the number 25... this was the day it happened. this was also the age where he was globally recognized, as well as the number associated with his presenting the backslide (instantaneously patented as the 'moonwalk') to middle america, and the world.
as i was riding on my bicycle 'little susie' rushed through my brain... i felt sad, altering the introductory lyrics to suit how i was feeling, and still do feel: 'somebody killed... michael/the man with the tune...' all he wanted was to be happy, and to make people happy (just like any one of us)... he wanted to narrate to the world the joys and struggles of humanity. and consistently they have tried to physically silence him. until they finally did. he had a survivor's spirit... he DID fight so hard to live; he faught so hard for his art to live: within us and around us. and they killed the man with the tune.
i have all of these songs in my head that he's sung, but i can't bring myself to actually LISTEN to them. i can't even bring myself to even really listen to ANY music.
bilal was performing tonight. a few people made attempts to convince me to go see his performance, as surrounding myself with music and like minds would encourage the healing process... the truth is, i conferred with him most of all; i asked him if it was alright to go. he laughed and told me it was okay. he told me that it was okay to still be in a grieving period, but do not be stuck in it, due to my love for him. he said something to the effect of, 'do not miss out on things because of me'. i feel him speaking with me more...
i am sure he's aware of my frustration with the outside world- in general, and ESPECIALLY right now- but i know that he is right.
so... i did end up going to the venue but i ended up not attending the show. in the midst of waiting to get a refund (i did in fact get a ticket) i realized that i always feel out of place at shows like this; even though it feels wonderful to be around my people (as there are not a lot of us in portland) i feel so isolated, culturally... i feel so unsophisticated... all the women dressed up in their heels and fancy dress; their hair and nails all did up and their purses possibly filled with make-up... the men with their fancy loafers and their dinner jackets and derby hats... and there's me, with my shoulder bag, doll (which i have carried EVERYWHERE with me since it was given to me last year) and sequined glove... even though i am in my 30s (surely the same age group as the people going to the show) i feel like such a kid, so small in comparison... even though these situations won't make me change who i am and what i do, i still feel a bit insecure. it just makes me want to close up, and just go back home. just like i have been feeling all this week.
i got home and felt much more secure with lumbia.
and i did what i said i was NOT gonna do- i watched video footage of him in relation to his transcendence. i watched a video (supposedly one of the last rehearsals) of him practising with other dancers amongst a montage of trademark sounds and music... where the main theme was 'they don't care about us'. the only word i can think of in relation to this video is a word commonly used in relation to his transcendence- surreal. in light of his 2 1/2 minute speech officially announcing his "final curtain call" on 5 march of this year (i already wrote my feelings on this speech in an earlier blog entry); the pauses he made in between the screams were indeed, as my sister wrote to me, prophetic.
in this speech his voice, his cadence resonates in extreme ways with me, and it scares me. "these will be... my FINAL (his emphasis) show performances." the way he arcs his fingers together, to prove that he means every word he says. the way he wants to tell the world what is going on in his life- it would have been a perfect opportunity to hear, but he was drowned out by screams, and he never finishes his sentence. his semi-staccato phrasing made me think of the time he resigned in the middle of their show from performing with his brothers in 1984: the sheer relief in publicly stating that he cannot take this life anymore. his brevity in announcing this tour defines that there are no mere words for true relief. the way he moves his hands and his body in just as staccato a manner is forever imprinted in my mind. on 5 march i was not home, and i stood up until the early morning and waited for him to deliver this speech. i decided to go home as he had not yet delivered the speech, only to find it was delivered an hour late (he appeared as i was riding home). i ended up watching the speech later in the day.
the way i am feeling now, i have reverted back to the time i was 6 or 7 years old, watching 'thriller' for the first time... in watching the last ever practise of his life, as well as the video that showed the dancers auditioning to be on the tour with him- and the end of the video walking in the studio to greet the dancers, to their surprise- this has got me shaking. this shaking is a similar feeling i recall having in watching 'thriller'. i am going to use another adjective my sister used to describe how i feel about these videos: frightening. watching his last ever press confrence/speech; watching him practise for a last time and watching him greet the dancers is frightening. just to watch him , knowing what happened between three months to a day later is unbearable. i can only imagine how the dancers are feeling.
just as the soundtrack to the 'thriller' film gave me chills every time i heard it after watching it, i may not be able to listen to the HIStory album for a while, because of this association with the current events. as i find this album to be his artistic moment of truth, the fact that i saw a clip of him performing songs from this album one last time may tell us about what his state of mind may have been. if indeed his set list for this tour was a collection of songs his fans chose, it's quite telling about what OUR state of mind has become.
and to us, the world may just be a cold, frightening place.
and just like 'thriller', after watching these videos i don't know if i'll be able to sleep soundly. in watching these videos i have reverted back to stage one of this grief period... it just seems so unreal that i do not have my teacher here with us... i mean, he was just practising, wasn't he?
once again, i know for sure that life is not promised... but when that promise of transcendance finally comes, this acknowledgement does not guarantee that pain for everyone else does not appear... right now i am just shaking. my body aches, and my heart hurts.