Sunday, 5 July 2009

Elegy for Michael Joseph Jackson

This is a beautiful poem by Staceyann Chin:

Yesterday the world shifted
faster than I could swallow my breath

images of you flashed from screen
to screen
every medium covered you

so I laid in my lovers arms
her hands keep me warm
even in this high June swelter
I like to snuggle

I listened while beads of her seeped through
her perfect skin

art is the canvas upon which my heart dreams
I am listening to your boyhood
fantastical
magical cliche

I wish your time here had been easier for you

I would have loved to hear
what made you smile
without the cameras

can you whisper it to me/now
have you seen Ms. Fawcett?

who would have guessed
you would exit on consecutive days

as if it were planned
the media had to double up on the coverage
Farrah went slow

you went/ta-da

as always you never never landed stealthy
Michael had to do it loud

the monkey
Lisa-Marie Presley
the boys/the beds/the dance in front of the courthouse
on top of the car

every episode of your reality TV life
thrilled us
you were bad/black boy turned pale

your African nose turned up by surgeons

your stick legs bent
ankles glittering across race
white girls in Oklahoma wept your name
your gloved response
was imitated by children in China
in Chile
in Chattanooga

I remember being so tiny
singing along with a half-pint you/Someday at Christmas

every year I play that song on repeat

I imagined you
your innocence a beacon
your voice
carried me someplace
far away from the terror of my own life
I adored you/Michael
without question/I thought you an angel

before the accusations
before your expression began to shift toward frightened
before the stories about your father
you were simply the center of a glistening constellation
right there between Orion and the Big Dipper
each point a sibling

your star rose faster than anyone could follow

how lonely it must have been to be
a god among men

you took our breath away
yesterday
we were without words

so we sang the verses you left us
all across the planet
we all stopped
and bellowed our best impressions of you

in Brooklyn we rolled down the windows
and turned your vocals up

in Harlem
they took to the streets
and walked on your moon

holding fast to the joy of memory
you in a red leather jacket
directing the world to move

blood and bones
you served us all your parts

some we digested better than others

five decades/five decades
you must have been tired, Michael

it was a long walk between yesterday
and the last time you loved the man you saw in your mirror

in your heart
you must have seen how far you had traveled from your own genius

I have a vision of you
open arms/heart breaking/you finally let go

today
I imagine you
at rest

your expression relaxed
your skin brown like the boy I remember
your feet strong
your arms muscled and holding a self you could recognize

today
I dream of you in notes of once upon a time
wish for you tales of beyond foerver
ending with happily ever after

I hope you've found your peace/Michael
if anybody looked like they needed it
it was your grin/shy
held back by all the times they cut you

in spirit
may you grin wide
without hesitation
now that you no longer have to sing
I hope you've found your voice

legend that you are/be sure
to say hello to James Brown for us
tell Luther we have missed him
for now
we'll keep playing these replicas you made
each player
exorcising the tragedies you endured
erasing the ones you created

over and over again
we'll listen

in time
all we will hear are the better parts of you


copyright Staceyann Chin