Wednesday, November 25, 2009
michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 50)
today marks the 5th month where your presence has been felt in a different way... it is, of course, a mystery as to how this day five months ago came to be. there are so many holes in the story it's no wonder that there have been theories that this event was indeed, a hoax... that you will return in physical form at some point, when you are ready.
in many ways this theory makes me very happy, as it means that you are under the facade of remaining out of the spotlight, just relaxing from the 45 years you'd performed nonstop. most likely this is wishful thinking; if you actually were still alive you'd most likely be working on some upcoming project, to shock the people even more. honestly my teacher... i say this with love. if indeed you are still here walking amongst us, you need to STOP WORKING right now, and take the time out to care for yourself. do what you wished for your mentor/teacher, james brown: step back and enjoy your life. enjoy your children while you still can.
but let's go back where we started and discuss your transcendence as it stands... it is as i said, the fifth month. i should always sense the so-called 'anniversary's' presence, since i acquire a deep unexplained sadness, and i begin to cry... i also have extremely fragmented dreams, which go nowhere. you appear in and out of them. this happens every time.
i cried on the bus, on the way back to portland... my head rested on the window. i should also know when the 'anniversary' is coming up, because i tend to feel a overwhelming sense of loneliness, as i review my life as it stands. i think about if i will ever have children in my life; i also think about how i don't want to raise those children on my own. i think about if everything i am doing has been done in vain. whether or not i believe this is the case any other time of the year does not even matter, as it is THAT MOMENT where i question everything.
and "i cry", as you once sang, "sometimes cos i'm confused". i think spontaneity is very good for someone like me (and travelling to san francisco was a good reminder of how much more spontaneous i need to be- and how much more spontaneous i USED to be. i lose so much of a sense of it living here in portland), and as much as i love this i also seek out some sort of stability. there are also so many things i want to do... spontaneity assists me in getting there, but i also need stability if i'm going to finish what i began. i long to roam and wander; but the older i get i clamor for a 'home life'. i want to be able to know i accomplished something, and i can look back and know that i did something positive in the world.
as i was crying there was something i wanted to say to you but i couldn't figure it out in time enough to tell you. i had a lot of questions but they were all so jumbled.
but yes, i did in fact go to san francisco for a few days... i did go for you, my dear teacher. i wanted to represent some of the things you have taught me. there is an event called 'prince vs. michael' (i have written about it to you before, as they do it sometimes in portland as well). the event, which took place on the 21st, was in san francisco. it was also the 7th anniversary of the event, where it's not so much of a battle than an honoring of the art of you and mr. nelson. dave and jeff, who put on the events, put a lot of love into what they are doing. they are good people.
going into the event, i only knew the people who were putting on the event. by the end i met so many wonderful, kind people. i ended up teaching some people some of your moves, and i did the 'thrillerdance' twice- once with a whole bunch of people and the other with one other person. i didn't even realise so many pictures were taken until a bunch were sent to me. people were amused that i had come all the way from portland to this event, and they wanted me to come to san francisco more often to the event, and to teach some classes. someone even jokingly suggested i move there...
one thing i did notice was that the people who were advocates of prince (the prince contingent, if you will) were very self-assured. they were self-assured, but far from pretentious. they gave me hugs, and big smiles. i thought of my sister when i saw them, and i thought of my friend barry. both of them love prince, and are quite self-assured people. of course i am making a widespread generalization (and i could be totally wrong), but this is based on the people i have met, and known. i am going to make another sweeping generalization here: people who i have known and met, and who love you tend to be somewhat sad.
i think the people who love you and your art recognise the pain you present. even though prince may have had pain in his life he presents his art to be boisterous. though in my opinion it's difficult to compare the both of you, i just wanted to say i noticed a general sort of attitude those who love prince have, and the one those who love you have.
nevertheless, the event was a whole lot of fun, and proved, in the end, if the music moves you then nothing will stop you. my legs and feet were in pain the next day; i was dancing from about 8pm until 2 in the morning, virtually non-stop. all that was left was, as you love to say, the dance. there were times it got very emotional for me, and i almost cried... it was as if your spirit were moving through me.
is it possible you were watching over me when i was in california? was it my intuition and my desire for spontaneity which led me to certain events?
the next day dave took me to a record shop (because whenever i travel somewhere i must see the record shops) where i met a man (also named michael) who met you some time ago... he saw the buttons on my jacket, asked if i was a fan and proceeded to tell me the story of how you two met. it was after the record shop was closed, of course; and you signed a record for him. he was a very sincere person. when he was contacted by news stations to speak on what he thought of you, he declined, knowing that his words would be twisted.
i'm sure that's very familiar to you...
the next day (which was my last day in san francisco) was a day of highs and lows... in wandering about this town (which i have not previously been) i opened myself up to more positive experiences; but in between was some sobering news. within one hour i found out a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and another friend with hearing loss. upon hearing this news i wasn't compelled to go out and 'live life to the fullest' any more than i already think we should; nor was it a reminder of the impermanence of life. it was what it was, it is what it is. however, you don't always expect to hear news of this sort, in the middle of wandering about.
as sad as that news was to hear, i decided not to dwell on it, as these are strong-willed, resilient people. i walked on and on that day for hours on end, just wandering... i ran into a chiropractic office with a copy of some information on the toxic ingredients in influenza vaccines, from a chiropractic perspective. i was intrigued, as that is not something i see every day. i walked in and asked if there was an extra copy of what was on the window outside, and a man screamed, "i have those buttons!" he exclaimed how he was the biggest fan of yours! it turns out that he was on a flight to london on the 25th of june, when he heard the news about you. he was going to go see you in concert. he even showed people on the plane what he was going to wear to your concert. since he could not see your show (due to the events which occurred) he instead saw 'thriller live' in the theatre. he also spent two days in 2005 in front of the courthouse, when you were on trial, supporting you.
and so of course i interviewed him.
these moments are what i miss; not having to plan things with others. just working around the excitement people share, and being open to whatever happens. i long for life in portland to be like this...
by the end of the day, my legs hurt so much from over four hours of walking- and by the time i got back to portland i developed swollen ankles. i could hardly walk without extreme pain, due to also sitting on a bus for almost 20 hours. but it was truly worth it. i hope i have honored your teachings...
during the bus trip we had to change over, stopping in sacramento. i occupied my time there by people watching (something i love to do) and reading some books i brought with me. there are no longer coin-operated televisions at greyhound stations apparently; they are now replaced with flat-screens perched just below the ceiling. it's quite distracting to have this blaring noise (even if it's not even that loud). being that i have not watched television regularly in 15 years, it's easy for me to not get sucked into the cathode rays. so, amongst my people watching i spot a young girl at a vending machine, sighing dramatically.
i asked her what was wrong. she pointed to the candy bar, stuck in between relinquishing its spot and protecting the other bars from being eaten. she lamented that she was getting the candy bar for her mother, and that she now lost money. i told her i would offer to get her another one, so that both bars would come out. she declined my offer.
moments passed, and i run to get change to get the candy bar.
i walked up to the little girl's mother, two candy bars in tow. she offered me one of them, and i just said no, it's okay. i think she mentioned that i did not have to do that, and i believe i said something to the effect of, 'it's okay...' i returned to my spot to wait for the bus and proceeded to read, when i looked up and saw someone walking towards me. it was this little girl whose mother was now enjoying her candy bars. she reached out and gave me a hug. she said, 'GOD BLESS YOU'. i asked her what her name was; she responded, 'justice'. i told her my name, and we shook hands. we bid each other safe travels.
that moment could not have been more perfect. justice? my teacher... were you watching this?
as the night wore on into the next day; in between reading i look up to find on this screen perched up near the ceiling, a report on how the doctor who supposedly was the man to give you a bunch of drugs before the fatal moment- is back at his office, at work. could this experience at the bus station get any more surreal?
delving back into my reading, i hear your name being called nearby... are these the ancestors calling again? i hear your name again, to find out there is a conversation being held about you. must i be called to 'set some things straight'? we shall see.
i walked over to the men having this conversation. when i told them i heard your name being called, one of them mentioned the context: there is always a case whenever you are dealing with women and children. i proceed to tell them to read the full transcripts of the trial, which are of course, online. in my reading of the transcripts i find, just like this case surrounding your transcendence, the two major cases concerning the allegations against you to have many holes. the prosecution was not credible.
but let's not dwell on the past like that... one of the men had one of your songs on his telephone- or some sort of i-pod or something. i proceeded to dance. i even showed them the dolls... i'm sure they thought i was crazy (at least that's what i read from their looks, body language and laughter) but i don't really care... i'm just sharing what you have taught me.
i returned to portland, and on the next day i worked, on this day, marking the 5th month... has time passed quickly, or has it ceased to move? surely, it waits for no one. therefore, in this time i will continue to learn from you, and share all you have taught, and are teaching me.
it was indeed wonderful to return home to lumbia, where she curls up on my lap (then paces back and forth, speaking loudly until she falls asleep) as i write this... when i returned, she looked at me with her wide eyes and asked, 'you went all the way to san francisco, for HIM?' and in turn i say to her, 'ah, my friend, someday i hope to take you there, and perhaps you will know...'
and she will.
it's been a while since we last spoke in this way my dear teacher, but i hope you've been hearing me loud and clear the whole time.
your humble student,