Friday, July 10, 2009

Here Be Dragons

Wow! Week 71 of Raven’s wordzzle challenge. Please join in the pleasure of spinning yarns on the virtual wordzzle porch with 15 daunting new words.

Here Be Dragons

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: sober, spoilage, knight, laugh and the world laughs with you, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard

The mini challenge: economy, Michael Jackson, ladder, clue, structure

I recognize that people have very strong feelings about Michael Jackson. My sense of kinship and empathy spring from a common experience of having one’s childhood taken. Of course, my stage is much smaller, but one never outgrows the pain and sense of violation.

Michael Jackson. His tragic death shocked me and came as no surprise. Fragile and complicated, at once Norma Desmond and Laura Wingfield, he embodied the paradox we live.


Michael Jackson had no economy of scale. He gave himself away, then tried to recoup his losses at Sotheby’s.

A thoroughbred, drilled to perfection and trained to please, he had no clue how to live in the world. And so the performer retreated to a fairy land of chutes and ladders. And cool everglades. Giraffes and tigers loped the wild with no structure or stricture.

But it was not to be. Haunted by his demons and hounded by a relentless artistic drive, the boy prince could not rest or live in the wild.

ten word:

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: sober, spoilage, knight, laugh and the world laughs with you, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard

When he was at the peak of summer

and felt the thrill of blueberries running down his chin,

when he was dead sober and crashing the apartheid of MTV,

he slept ‘neath the shadow of a lampshade as any boy would;

No need for deadly nightshade or drugstore remedies.

One day the fog rolled in and the keyboard fell badly out of tune. The knight in epaulets surveyed his kingdom and saw the spoilage of the vine.

He called a meeting of trusted advisors and received false council. Laugh and the world laughs with you. He knew better than this. He knew this was no laughing matter. He would call the drugstore and the owl would be a silent witness to dreamless sleep.

James Baldwin made a prophetic statement about this possibility in his 1985 essay “Here Be Dragons.”

“The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring,… money, success and despair–to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated–in the main, abominably–because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”

In a world that demands
pick old or young, black or white, woman or man
Michael Jackson was a border crosser

He was controversial, enigmatic and strange. Aren’t we all?

He made us happy with his brilliance and profoundly uncomfortable with his troubles.

Now he belongs to eternity and we are the custodians of the legacy of his music and the reshaping our ethnic geography.


Raven said...

Brilliant as always. Michael Jackson has always made me sad and I think you have captured his dilemma in your mini. I love the Baldwin quote, especially that last paragraph. I love the way you use language. My favorite line this week, I think is: "the owl would be a silent witness to his dreamless sleep."

DawnTreader said...

Very well done to fit all the other words into the context of Michael Jackson!

Akelamalu said...

Well done on writing a eulogy on Michael Jackson using all the given words :)

Dr.John said...

Beautiful eulogy and great use of the words.
Very well done.

Reston Friends! said...

Very nicely done!

Reston Friends! said...

Oh, and Gabrielle, I was going to send this via e-mail, but couldn't find a link for it. It's 'counsel' when giving advice, not 'council'...I only know this because I've served as legal counsel! Otherwise, brilliant!

Maithri said...

You are a genius!! Truly.

I just wanted to drop by and say thank you, thank you, thank you...

From my heart,

For every kind word that you sent winging to the heart of Africa,

For poems that lifted my spirit, For light that flowed like water,
For kindnesses past my deserving..

Thank you my friend,

I heard you on the wind,
And it helped me to keep going when the road ran jagged beneath my feet,

Winged love, Maithri

the watercats said...

wow!.... how profound this piece of writing is! I completely forgot that this was a wordzzle!.. brilliant and touching, thank you!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hello there!

Very interesting post and so well done.

I agree with you that MJ really had no way to cope in the world

Stephen said...

I enjoyed reading the essays on Michael Jackson. It's sad the way things turned out in his life.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Cloudia said...

Aloha Gabrielle;
Your comment at my blog was so sympatico that I had to come visit you. Your profile & etc only made me happier that I had come. Now I'm following your blog ;-)

Sometime I'll tell you some Canada Goose experiences....actually I mention them in my little novel.

Nice meeting you! Don't be a da spiral...

Comfort Spiral