Category Archives: Artwork

On Michael And The Gospels: Coincidence?

580775_539146396116757_1826863888_nThis past week, an unlikely coincidence occurred with my teaching. A coincidence that left me wondering…is there really any such thing as true coincidence? It just so happened that on the same two days that I was preparing  my English 102 classes for my usual presentation on symbolism in the Black or White video, I was also covering The New Testament and the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in World Lit. I certainly had not put any forethought into this when I planned my respective syllabi for those two courses! Yet here I was, realizing that at the same time I was prepping to teach two sections of 102 that would center around Michael Jackson and his message to the world on racial harmony (or the lack thereof, more aptly) I was also preparing another class to talk about Jesus. Yet somehow, going from Michael Jackson at 9:00am on a Wednesday morning, to Jesus at 10am, did not seem that jarring of a shift. Understand, mind you, I am not saying they are one and the same. Nor am I one of those zealous fans who is always trying to put Michael on the same pedestal as Jesus-or God, for that matter.

But as many have aptly pointed out, the parallels in their lives are certainly striking! The more cyncial can say what they want. But what can’t be denied is that both came from humble beginnings, rose to become too powerful and too feared, and were persecuted for daring to speak truths that the masses were not yet ready to hear. Perhaps one could even argue that they were both, in a sense, crucified.

Although I Realize Farrakhan Has Been A Controversial Figure Among Fans, The Subject Of His 2009 Sermon Seemed Apt
Although I Realize Farakhan Has Been A Controversial Figure Among Fans, The Subject Of His 2009 Sermon Seemed Apt

I wanted to share with you some things that especially stood out to me as I was reviewing those excerpts from The Gospels that are included in our class text. I think you will agree with me why it might have given me more than a few goosebumps to go from “Don’t tell me you agree with me/when I saw you kicking dirt in my eye” to The Sermon on the Mount, all within a matter of minutes. “The Beatitudes” in particular-that section of The Sermon in which Jesus reminded his followers who would be the blessed ones, and why, seem to have especial relevance when we compare them to everything we know about Michael’s life and how it was lived.

From Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7:

Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called the sons of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for their righteousness, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are you when they shall revile you and persecute you and and speak every evil thing of you, lying, because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in heaven is great; for thus did they persecute the prophets before you.

AME church photo
Rare Photo of Michael Attending AME Church With Tom Mesereau. They Prayed For God To Watch Over and Protect Him During The Trial

From The Tenets of Discipleship:

Do not judge, so you may not be judged. You shall be judged by that judgement for which you judge, and your measure will be made by that measure for which you measure. Why do you look at the straw which is in the eye of your brother, and not see the log which is in your eye? Or how will you say to your brother: Let me take the straw out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your eye. You hypocrite, first take the log out of your eye, and then you will see to take the straw out of the eye of your brother. Do not give what is sacred to the dogs, and do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and rend you. (This last reminds me of the public scorn and mockery that followed so many of Michael’s most sincere and heartfelt public statements regarding children and the state of our planet, or how many of his more politically important and profound songs were scorned by critics who only wanted him to remain a happy song-and-dance man for us!).

Jesus made a conscious choice to teach in parables, just as Michael used the medium of music to get his messages across. When Jesus was asked by his disciples why he taught in parables, this was his response:

Jesus_the_Teacher003“…I talk to them in parables because they have sight but do not see, and hearing but do not hear or understand…” (From Matthew 13).

Lastly, consider this account from Matthew 27-28 of how the high priests conspired to cover the truth of the Resurrection, and to convince the masses that Jesus’s body had disappeared as a result of simple thievery, rather than  the fulfillment of divine prophecy. This excerpt picks up with the disciples having been instructed to go forth and spread the news in the city:

“And as they went on their way, behold, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the high priests all that had happened. And they met with the elders, and took counsel together, and gave the soldiers a quantity of money, saying: Say that the disciples came in the night and stole him away while we were sleeping. And if this is heard in the house of the governor, we shall reason with him, and make it so that you have nothing to fear. And they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this is the story that has been spread out among the Jews, to this day.”

Does this not sound eerily like the same way the mass media operates today? Does this not bear at least some resemblance to exactly what Michael was telling us, over and over, in songs like Money and Tabloid Junkie? A truth must, by all means, be suppressed, out of fear. In its place a lie is given, to keep the truth suppressed. Money exchanges hands, all for the purpose of perpetuating the lie. Money continues to exchange hands. The lie is picked up, passed on-and believed.

One might ask: What was it that the high priests feared? It is a simple answer. They feared that if the truth of the Resurrection was known, they would have to admit they were wrong. And in admitting they were wrong, they would lose control and power. There would be no stopping The Believers-and no stopping of Jesus’s influence.

I can’t help that this reminds me more than a bit of all the recent controversy over the Sullivan book, and how the media has rushed to embrace its perpetuation of the MJ caricature. In fact, it reminds me far too much of how the media has handled most everything when it comes to Michael.

This Controversial Portrait Began Circulating On Many Fansites In 2009. I Personally Love It And Think It Is Quite Beautiful.
This Controversial Portrait Began Circulating On many Fansites In 2009. I Personally Love It And Think It Is Quite Beautiful.

Several weeks ago, I had a strange dream. I dreamed that I heard on the news that Michael had died. I remembered thinking, in my dream, how hard it was going to be to have to log into Allforloveblog and write a post on the death of Michael Jackson. It would be the hardest post I would ever have to write! I even recalled seeing the date on the calendar, plain as day: February 13th (oddly enough, Prince’s birthday, though I did not make that connection in my dream). I remembered how I marked that date in my dream, as the day Michael Jackson died.

When I awoke, I continued pondering about the strange dream. The irony is that Michael has been “dead” ever since I’ve been writing this blog! Perhaps in my subconscious, this stemmed from the fact that writing about him on this blog keeps him very much alive for me. But in the world of my dream, it was as if I had always been writing about him as a living figure-as if June 25th, 2009 had never occurred.

So what did my dream mean by his “death” occurring on February 13th, 2013?

Again, I had cold chills as I realized this was the first date for which I was scheduled to teach the Black or White video to my class! What could it mean?

I continued to wonder. But as February 13th came and went without incident-and as I found myself teaching a class of very eager and engaged students (attendance was overflowing that day!)- I realized that dreams sometimes mean the mirror opposite of what we think they mean. For example, a dream of going to a wedding may mean you will end up attending a funeral, or vice versa. A dream about death can often signify a dream about birth-if you believe in that sort of thing, of course.

michael-jackson-arms-out-the-end13

Michael Jackson certainly didn’t “die” again on February 13th. At least not in body. But maybe, in some way I have yet to comprehend, he may have risen again.

I like to think so, anyway.

For sure, to bring this full circle, it certainly did not feel odd that day to shift gears from MJ to JC. In fact, it did not feel like any gears shifted at all, but more like coasting in “drive.”

I am coming to believe, more strongly than ever, that nothing happens by coincidence.

In fact, I have begun to question if “coincidence” is a concept that exists at all.

 

More On Auctions: Understanding The Enormity Of What Has Been Lost, and WILL Be Lost-Forever

“We want a Permanent Museum for Michael Jackson!”

This is the rallying cry of a group working hard to try to get the estate to come to a deal with Michael Bush (Michael Jackson’s longtime costume designer and friend) to place the items in his enormous collection in a proposed permanent museum in Las Vegas, rather than allowing them to go beneath the auction block of Julien’s as have so many, many other of Michael’s most iconic as well as personal items. But time is running out. The auction is scheduled to begin November 30th.

Michael Bush Spent Almost 30 Years Dressing MJ-Including The Most Heartwrenching “Performance” Of All When He Dressed Him For The Final Time And Lifted His Body Into The Casket.

I don’t wish to turn this into a bashfest against Michael Bush, who I believe sincerely loved Michael dearly. Maybe he needs the money. But all the more reason why the estate should just work with him to make a deal and have the items on permanent display for all fans to enjoy. Heck, the revenue that such a museum could generate ought to pay for itself many times over! What continues to boggle my mind is why this has yet to be done; why so many of those who are in a position to make this happen seem so reluctant to the idea and/or have dragged their heels for so long, and most importantly, why is the legacy of Michael Jackson continuing to be sold off, piece by piece and scattered to the winds? To make an analogy, think of Michael’s legacy as a huge mountain (which it is!). But now imagine what happens to even the mightiest of mountains over time, as wind and water and other elements do their part in eroding it. Little by little, over time, the mountain is eroded away. At the very least, it becomes irrevocably altered, to something usually much inferior. What is currently being allowed to happen to Michael’s cultural legacy-via those iconic items associated with him-isn’t much different. Once items go into the hands of private collectors, they are as good as lost, for certainly they won’t be seen by the masses again-until and unless such time as that individual decides to give them up. But when that happens, it’s usually only for the purpose of being sold or auctioned off to yet another private collector. Again. And again. And then, what happens to these pieces if, say, that person passes on? Eventually, as precious items are handed down, sold and re-sold, their value becomes tarnished (too much wear and tear; too many exchanging of hands) until, finally, they risk becoming lost altogether, or too damaged to be of any lasting or practical value to anyone. And, as has been pointed out mny times, most of these items are not being bought by true fans or friends who will appreciate their true historical, cultural, or sentimental value. Rather, they are being bought up by rich businessmen who will simply re-sell them for profit first chance they get.

This is the fate that is happening to Michael Jackson’s most iconic costumes-those very items that we cherish in our collective memory as part of our culture and our growing up.

If you go to this group’s Facebook page, you can get a good sense of what has already been lost through the years:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/We-want-a-Permanent-Museum-for-Michael-Jackson/428569780513190

I will excerpt just a few highlights from their page here, all under the rather morbid but truthful heading “Gone Forever!” because…well, that’s what they are.

 

GONE FOREVER!

A black wool single-button front closure suit jacket , a custom red vinyl costume shirt with Velcro closures and bodysuit style bottom with a sewn on black tie. Shirt shows evidence of wear and makeup residue at neck. Auctioned and sold for $ 250,920.00

Auctioned and sold for $120,000.00

Photo: A custom created black suit jacket with single snap front closure lined in colorful African style fabric and covered in custom vermicelli beading. The jacket was created by Jackson's personal costumers and contains a Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush label. The jacket also features a prominent rhinestone crown over crest brooch at left chest. Jackson wore this jacket during his 1997 primetime interview with Barbara Walters.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Auctioned and sold for $120,000.00
Michael Jackson “Scream” shirt sold for $72,000 on June 25,2011
Photo: Michael Jackson "Scream" shirt sold for $72,000 on June 25,2011
Michael Jackson Black Glove and Arm Brace Worn During the “HIStory” Tour Sold for $216,000.00 on Oct. 10,2009
Photo: Michael Jackson Black Glove and Arm Brace Worn During the “HIStory” Tour</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Sold for $216,000.00 on Oct. 10,2009

Michael Jackson Original Pen on Paper Mickey Mouse “Bad” Drawing Sold for $56,250.00 on Nov. 21,2009
Photo: Michael Jackson Original Pen on Paper Mickey Mouse “Bad” Drawing </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Sold for $56,250.00 on Nov. 21,2009

The iconic Michael Jackson Video Worn “Thriller” Jacket. Any takers? Too bad, it’s already been sold for $1.8 Million. http://www.contactmusic.com/news/michael-jacksons-belongings-fetch-big-money-at-auction_1277489Photo: The iconic Michael Jackson Video Worn "Thriller" Jacket. Any takers? Too bad, it's already been sold for $1.8 Million. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>http://www.contactmusic.com/news/michael-jacksons-belongings-fetch-big-money-at-auction_1277489
We all know that Michael was a bad driver. 😉 😉 ( but a still good looking one! )Here’s Michael in his 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL. Sold for $104,550.00 on Nov. 21,2009
Photo: We all know that Michael was a bad driver. ;) ;) ( but a still good looking one! )Here's Michael in his 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Sold for $104,550.00 on Nov. 21,2009

 

Michael Jackson’s White Glove From Historic Motown 25 Performance in 1983. Sold for $420,000.00 on Nov. 21,2009

  • Photo: Michael Jackson's White Glove From Historic Motown 25 Performance in 1983. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Sold for $420,000.00 on Nov. 21,2009

 

This iconic performance shirt that MJ wore during the Motown 25th Anniversary was sold for $61,200 on June 25, 2011.
Photo: This iconic performance shirt that MJ wore during the Motown 25th Anniversary was sold for $61,200 on June 25, 2011.

From Narrator: “Michael Jackson’s memorabilia hits the auction block at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas just “A DAY” after his death.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrmvSy8xefs
Michael Jackson Auction Prices Soar
Lyrics from Bad album, glove and paintings in Elvis, Marilyn Monroe sale.
Silver MTV Moonman award on round metal base with plaque reading in full, “Video Music Award 1994-1995 Best Dance Video Roger Davies Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson ‘Scream’.” 12 1/4 inches Auctioned and sold for $ 43,750.00
  • Photo: Silver MTV Moonman award on round metal base with plaque reading in full, "Video Music Award 1994-1995 Best Dance Video Roger Davies Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson 'Scream'." 12 1/4 inches</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Auctioned and sold for $ 43,750.00

Auctioned by Julien’s for $70,400
Photo: Auctioned by Julien's for $70,400
  • If the Estate had purchased this from the seller to put in an MJ Museum, wouldn’t it be great to be able to see a piece of History?
    Photo: Winning bid - $56,250.00
    Photo: Singing Billie Jean during the Victory Tour 1984
    Photo: Winning bid- $68,750.00

    Sold for $10,000. An RIAA platinum record award presented to Michael Jackson to commemorate the sale of more than 1,000,000 copies of the Epic Records single Thriller. 17 by 13 inches
  • Photo: Sold for $10,000.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>An RIAA platinum record award presented to Michael Jackson to commemorate the sale of more than 1,000,000 copies of the Epic Records single Thriller. 17 by 13 inches

MJ’s own handwritten song lyrics. Winning bid is $10,000.00 Pencil on paper, Michael Jackson handwritten lyrics for the song “An Innocent Man.”  Written on the back of a “Song Packet Info” sheet, this song was written by Jackson in 1993 …

at the height of his sexual abuse controversy.  The lyrics read in part, “If they won’t take me in Cairo then lord where will I go.  I’ll die a man without a country and only god knew I was innocent now.”  16 by 13 1/2 inches, framed

See More

Photo: MJ's own handwritten song lyrics. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Winning bid is $10,000.00</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Pencil on paper, Michael Jackson handwritten lyrics for the song "An Innocent Man."  Written on the back of a "Song Packet Info" sheet, this song was written by Jackson in 1993 at the height of his sexual abuse controversy.  The lyrics read in part, "If they won't take me in Cairo then lord where will I go.  I'll die a man without a country and only god knew I was innocent now."  16 by 13 1/2 inches, framed

A portrait of famous pop culture figures wearing Michael Jackson sunglasses and his signature white glove. The figures include the Mona Lisa, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, E.T., and Albert Einstein. This was last seen in Neverland. Sold for $66,406.25 on June 24, 2010
  • Photo: A portrait of famous pop culture figures wearing Michael Jackson sunglasses and his signature white glove. The figures include the Mona Lisa, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, E.T., and Albert Einstein. This was last seen in Neverland.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Sold for $66,406.25 on June 24, 2010

  • Michael Jackson Clothes And Other Stuff
    The clothes we all know and loved on Michael…The shiny gloves,the black hats,the gold pants,the white socks….all his famous outfits are in this video and…

  • Michael almost had his belongings auctioned for financial reasons but changed his mind two months before he passed away. Let us make sure that all his belongings that meant so much to him remain intact and preserved in an MJ Museum. Pls. like our page to help us make this happen!!!
  • Michael Jackson Auction
    MICHAEL JACKSON’S TREASURES FROM NEVERLAND Peek inside the private world of the late King of Pop when we glimpse treasures from Michael Jackson’s Neverland R…

  • Auctioned and sold by Julien’s for $31, 250.00.
  • Photo: Auctioned and sold by Julien's for $31, 250.00.

  • Michael Jackson Original Drawing   Sold for $30,000 on June 25, 2010
    Photo: Michael Jackson Original Drawing</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p> Sold for $30,000 on June 25, 2010

  • Auctioned by Julien’s for $70,400
An original Charlie Chaplin sketch by MJ, auctioned and sold by Julien’s for $34,375. Why can’t this be placed in an MJ Museum?
Photo: An original Charlie Chaplin sketch by MJ, auctioned and sold by Julien's for $34,375. Why can't this be placed in an MJ Museum?

As for myself personally, I’m not so much concerned about things like cars as I am Michael’s wardrobe-those famous and iconic outfits that he wore for his videos and stage performances. But also, items such as his personal artwork, lyrics, and awards won deserve to either be placed in a permanent museum or at the very least, given to his children.
Now that we’ve had a look at what is already gone forever, let’s have a look at what WILL be gone forever come December 3rd-if nothing is done!
Sale highlights include a 30th Anniversary of Madison Square Garden show signed prototype helmet which was wired to illuminate a row of battery powered lights below the visor. The helmet is signed in black marker to designer Michael Bush and states “To Bush Love Michael Jackson,” and Jackson’s “Scream” video costume which includes a pair of black spandex pants with matching long sleeve shirt and mesh tuck strap. Each costume piece is marked on the interior in gold marker “2/2” or “2/2 M.J.J,” indicating that two costumes were created for Jackson’s famous video shoot. Michael Jackson’s Captain EO white spandex shirt featuring ribbed neck, zip closure and a rainbow motif is also included as well as the King of Pop’s Awards Ceremony jacket which is a black wool jacket embellished with red armband, gold tone metal floral buttons, metallic embroidered crown patch at chest and buckled leather straps at right shoulder. Jackson wore this jacket when he attended the 3rd annual Soul Train Awards in 1989 where he was honored with the Sammy Davis, Jr. Heritage Award, the Heritage Award for Career Achievement and awards for his single and video for “Man in the Mirror.”

 

From the Julienne’s Idols and Icons exhibit last May. Exhibits I have no quarrel with. These items DESERVE to be seen. But when it comes to Julienne’s, an “exhibit” is nothing more than a display of the goods. It’s the same thing they do in Wal-Mart to get you to buy what’s on the shelf! Imagine going in the Smithsonian Institute and finding a price tag on Orville and Wilbur Wright’s airplane! Is this any different?

This was a poignant passage from Latoya’s book Starting Over. It is a passage that is also featured on the “We Want A Permanent Museum For Michael Jackson” Facebook page:

“Despite all of this licensing, I could not even have a few of Michael’s personal photos of him and me, just to have them hanging up in my house so I can be surrounded by happier memories of my brother. ” Absolutely not,” I was told. I become incredibly sad whenever I think about everything that has been taken from the family. The worst part is that th…

e trustees have never asked the children if they want anything what once belonged to their father. I can’t imagine that the trustees ever will. I know Paris would love to have some keepsakes from her father, or anything, for that matter. Michael’s estate has begun selling off large numbers of his possessions at auction, including everything from his furniture and memorabilia to his handwritten notes. Because I miss my brother so much, I want a few mementos of him, and with the family denied access to his personal belongings, I have sent Jeffre and others to auctions several times on my behalf to buy pieces that Michael and I picked out together, pieces that have significant sentiment for me. I cannot bring myself to go in person because I feel too embarrassed that I am being forced to purchase my own brother’s possessions.”-Latoya Jackson
This passage is a very sad but real reminder of the very unique dynamic that exists between the Jackson family and the estate. It also reminds me of why I so often find myself divided when it comes to issues concerning the estate. If one were to ask, do I think they’re doing a good job at managing Michael’s money, business interests, and post-mortem “career” then I would say yes. But still…there is something undeniably very wrong with this picture when a family cannot have access to their own brother’s and son’s personal belongings, in some instances even the very things they may have given him themselves! I really believe the family should have access to those items. They shouldn’t have to stoop to the level of having to attend auctions-or sending others to attend auctions-just to bid on their own brother’s/son’s things.

Where does respect for Michael as a business “entity” and as a father, son, brother, and husband begin? And when it comes to the business entity end of things, where do we separate the corporate end from the need to preserve a cultural legacy for future generations to appreciate?

Perhaps I’m just naive or incredibly idealistic, but I believe a compromise could be reached that would be a win-win for everyone. A permanent museum may not satisfy the instant need for cash, but over time, it could certainly generate enough in tourism dollars to pay for itself many times over. Why can’t the estate simply pay Mr. Bush what the collection is worth, and put the collection in the permanent museum in Las Vegas (or wherever, ultimately, the museum turns out to be?). Yes, a lot of Michael’s costumes and personal possessions have already fallen into the hands of private collectors, and there isn’t much that can be done about that. But there is still a lot of stuff left that could be salvaged for fans to enjoy now and in the future, and more importantly, for his children to have.

As for the charities that would benefit from this auction, could they not just as easily benefit from the proceeds of a permanent museum?

If you feel as strongly about this issue as I do, please take a moment and sign this petition! Petitions don’t always work-true-but they certainly can’t hurt, and at the very least, they send a strong message that this is an issue that people care about greatly.

On a cheerier note, Michael Bush’s book King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson comes out at the end of October!

UPDATE: (10/05/12): If you are in the UK and interested in seeing the Michael Jackson Tompkins-Bush exhibit, here is a link with that information: http://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/

A Celebration of This Dance Called Life, in Words and Pictures

I am posting my special birthday tribute to Michael a day early, in anticipation of the fact that I will be leaving town early on the 29th, heading for Gary, and will not be back until Monday, September 3.

About a year ago I began writing a collection of poems that I planned, eventually, to encompass Michael’s entire life, from birth to death. I have kept these poems pretty much under wraps (mostly because I’m a perfectionist who never trusts that my work is “good enough” until I’ve revised about fifty million times!) but in the spirit of celebrating Michael’s birth and his extraordinary life, I will share with you the first three poems of the series. When I began the collection, my idea-being very much inspired by Dancing The Dream-was to write a series of poems in Michael’s own voice, telling his own story as he might have told it. There were times when I could almost hear his lilting voice in my head, channeling these words through me! I still have much more to go, but I hope you will enjoy these first three pieces. They hold a special place in my own heart, as I felt, with these, that  I was connecting to a period in his life that was his last vestige of true innocence.

I am also very proud and honored to accompany these poems with the beautiful original artwork of Mimi O’ Garren, who has given me permission to use them. These are some of the same prints that I will be (hopefully) presenting in a special book to Katherine, Prince, Paris, and Blanket on August 31st for the Everland Project.

I told Mimi that since I would be gone for several days, I wanted to have something beautiful on the front page for readers to see and appreciate until I can return to post about the events in Gary. I think these prints fit the bill just fine, for they are definitely beautiful, are they not?

Just like Michael.

In the meantime, I will try to update via Facebook and Twitter when I can, but there is no guarantee I will have internet access, so please be patient. Unlike 99.9% of the world’s population, I am not entirely mobile yet-I’m still hung back with the horse and buggy! Remember that if you leave a comment, your comment may be held in que until I can release it (especially if you are a new poster). I will still be here throughout today (the 28th), so if you have any last minute well wishes or messages for Katherine and the kids, please send them on. After tomorrow, I will not have access to approve comments, so if yours does get held in que, just hang tight. I will release all comments as soon as I return next week.

 

 

My mother said-

 

I was born on a hot summer night

That no moon shone.

Her water broke by accident;

Later the contractions began; the

Rhythm not ceasing till I came to be.

 

I was silent and scared her

In my silence till the doctor’s slap-

Afterwards she held me,

Caressed my long fingers-

 

Which she said made her think

Of her father-in-law

 

And then held me quiet to her chest

Till I cried no more, for I was safe there

 

More safe than I would ever be again.

 

I slept to the beating of her heart

 

The first rhythm I ever recalled

 

And thus it began for me,

The rhythm of this dance

Called life.-(c) Raven Woods

“Lonely”

When I came home-

I didn’t know yet I was one of many.

The world existed only for me

In this blissful state that leaves too soon.

 

I didn’t know I had big brothers and sisters who fought

Over who would hold me, play with me, eventually

Teach me wrong from right and sometimes right

To wrong again; we would live and learn together.

I didn’t know Mother sang songs to keep from crying.

I didn’t know then that one day Father

Would tell me not to call him that anymore.

 It was good times. I grew.-(c) Raven Woods

 

 

My brother said-

I mocked him by age three; stole his moves.

It wasn’t like I was stealing; just mimicking what I saw

Only even then I had a natural knack

 To take what I saw

And make it better.

Mother said I danced to the squeak of the washing machine,

Hand on hip like I already knew what cool was.

I could have told them I didn’t know Cool yet

But I did know the meaning of being happy, secure.

And free.

I climbed the trees in our back yard. I imagined

I was like the birds; sometimes without Mother knowing

I fed and petted the rats who snuck inside.

 I loved them all-the birds, the rats-I loved the rats because

They were misunderstood; the birds because they were free

 And happy, like me.

It was all so brief, so brief.

 

One day I woke up, five years old,

Beating my wings against a cage;

I never even saw the door snap shut; the bars come down.

 But one day I sang for my school.

I sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and didn’t understand

Why it made my grandpa Samuel cry; looking out,

I saw many crying, some standing. Everyone was clapping.

 

I felt so happy inside knowing I had made them happy

But still did not understand why grandpa cried

 I only knew later that day when I played

It was the last time I would know what it meant

 To sing and be free

At the same time. -(c) Raven Woods

My Personal Favorite Piece, “Michael And George.” Can You Also Spot Prince, Paris, and Blanket?
54 Years Later, This Dance Called Life Continues