Saturday, June 27, 2009

Look to the Light, Michael Jackson!

What a grievous month! Starting with the "accidental" death of David Carradine, the "accidental" occurrence when I told my (now former) boss to f-off... And now my Michael Jackson.

Sure, his death was an "accident" - NOT!

Of course, when any famous musician dies, it is always a conspiracy. I don't know why that happens. A kind of denial sweeps over the public. These are not just human beings we are enjoying - they are "stars". They are immortal. So when a death happens, yes, we want to celebrate their lives... But there is always the painful reality that gets revealed - ten year's, twenty year's - and then thirty year's later - the really-really-ugly reality and truth. Because, you see, by giving the dead lots of time to be dead, we are giving the dead some respect. I find that ironic, don't you?

Certainly everyone felt Kurt Cobain's death was not an "accident". The death of Jimi Hendrix was not an "accident"; Jim Morrison was destined to die, but was it by "accident"? We think not; indeed he may have been murdered but we'll never know. And Elvis? That was no "accident", but how do we even know for sure if he's dead?!

It really hurts when you grow up with someone, watching all the "accidents" happen. That's how life is.

Certainly Michael's life has been no ball-game over the last 10 years. In the last 3 years, he had to witness all his personal property go up for auction, move out of the country, get slapped with lawsuits from every angle, and... Is it no wonder he needed pain-killers? It was either that or start telling the truth.

Michael Jackson was never good at lying.

He was just too tender-hearted of a person to pull it off; so I think that fact was slowly killing him, like torture. As Mark Twain once said, "You can't pray a lie".

It is stunning to look at the old, original videos of Michael as a young child, and see how he is performing for his Dad. In fact, his confident posturing, gesturing, the little gold rings on his fingers seem to shadow his own father... The eager look of desire for approval in his eyes. You see, Michael changed as he got older; and then he changed by torturing himself, since he had no one, really, to tell the truth to. He tried, when he wrote MOONWALK - he tried to get there, and then he gave up. I am sure that book was heavily edited.

But growing up, we thought Michael was gorgeous and beautiful. Eloquent, sexy and talented. All the girls in high school were nuts for Michael Jackson! He was all those things you look for in a boy - pretty, seeming to have his shit together, energetic, funny, bright, shy, intense, expressive, gentlemanly. He was just the kind of guy you wanted to hold and kiss for hours. The boy you wanted to go to the prom with. We were glad we never heard stories of him getting too cozy with anyone but Diana Ross - he left so much to our imaginations! Especially when he was performing songs like Dancin' Machine, I Wanna Rock w/You. Between him and all his brothers? He was enough to make you pass-out - - right in front of the TV.

Michael became intensely shy... He talks a little about this in MOONWALK. He said he felt that he was under a lot of pressure to keep producing songs and performing. I think it was more than that. Child abuse does strange thing to people.

This is not the time to go into it; suffice to say, Michael really needed to individuate himself, break away from the stronghold of his Dad. Already by this time Michael was dealing with some emotional baggage he couldn't dismiss. He became accident-prone, on top of things, and tripped and broke his nose on stage when he was 18. (That was the first nose surgery.)

You know, we, his fans, just thought he looked more handsome with his new nose.

His father told him - "You didn't get that nose from me."

Please forgive me for being anything like you, Mom and Dad. I didn't know I had to be perfect; I didn't know that was my job in life.

The other day a friend told me - "Orandon, artists don't take shit jobs. Why would you take a shit job? Why would you ever do something like scrub floors? That would be enough to piss anyone off!" Well, I don't think there's a specific job description for Rock 'n Roller - some of the most sensitive artists on the planet, and Michael Jackson was no exception. Was he special? Let's just say he'll be irreplaceable.

What great artists do is learn how to mimic, until they are able to discover their own style. The shit-work would be in, teaching yourself how to please your Dad, as he's swatting you with a belt; forcing yourself to move around a stage, dancing and hitting the high-notes like Little Richard; learning how to stretch the truth and tell a yarn in front of the public, on camera; being coached by your managers and producers to believe you are entitled; finding yourself very sexually confused and still a virgin at the age of 18; girls are throwing themselves at you, and you don't even know if you
like them (except for friends); and finally being told, you're entitled to spend money, indulge yourself and work under pressure since you've been supporting your family from the age of 5.

Yes, I feel a little bitter when it comes to Michael Jackson's life. It's like having something ripped out of me... Something which only, in the end, leaves a giant black hole of loss! Great loss, that I will hopefully accept some day. But today? I can't accept it - it hurts too much. This is what happens when you grow up with someone; he affects you. You remember his presence during both the good times and the bad. You see yourself getting older too, but possibly learning from the mistakes and wounds of your friend, and choosing grace and kindness.

I want to feel relief at the thought that perhaps, finally Michael Jackson will have some true peace in his being. His soul needs our prayers.


So because I am still dealing with my grief, this is all I can say for now.

I was super-pleased to learn we have Michael's glove and sequined coat here in Seattle, at the Experience Music Project, a museum for rock star memorabilia.

It was fun to go down to the Space Needle, watch the little kids dancing in the giant fountain to Michael Jackson's songs... The 11-year olds were working on the Moonwalk. Then, at EMP, this sweater was on display with the glove. Cute - it is in fact a ladies sweater, loosely knit with no buttons - fragile looking! The glove is also knit, probably these were both made in China.

It was sobering to be in the room with these items, watching Michael perform on a giant-sized screen. (Even with that performance he was critical of himself.) The songs were - I Want You Back, Never Can Say Goodbye, I'll Be There, which he performed with his brothers before leading into Billie Jean...

Watching him wave the glove across the screen over our heads, somehow I felt as if it was a cry for help.

These days, fans can do outreaches online, make our thoughts known in ways we couldn't do for Michael Jackson 20 years ago.

I wish for him to see God's light, and be in it.

Right now, I doubt that Michael's soul is aware that he has died. When people are addicted to narcotics, it is impossible to tell the difference between sleeping, dreaming and waking.

So I think his spirit was willing - he was in the process of talking himself through the motions of doing this one last tour in July... The spirit is willing, but the body can only take so much pain.

His spirit has been passing over us, watching all the colors and sounds of our celebrations and ways of saying goodbye, then returning home, to try and figure out what has happened.

Where did my body go? Why can't I open my eyes?

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009
May you see yourself in the eyes of those who love you,
and may you find God's light and love, quickly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

God Bless and Keep Your Great Spirit