Tag: David Bowie

David Bowie 1947-2016

bottle enigmatic

One hour ago I found out that David Bowie died.

I frantically searched for the etching I made of him in high school art class and the sketch I did of him to illustrate this post but with a sinking heart I remember that most of the relics of my youth have washed away in flood and burned up in fires. I wanted to show how much he meant to me in pictures.

IMG_20150511_234407

I’m 14 years old in this picture and wanted to BE Bowie. He gave me the courage not to hide myself. While my hair was derivative, it was merely the diving board into my own style interests and predilections. I don’t know when the first time I heard Bowie was, I know my parents liked him and listened to him before I noticed him. When I was 13 I went on a trip to California from Ashland Oregon with my mom and the first thing she did when we got to Mill Valley was stop by Village Music to pick up the new David Bowie album “Let’s Dance” and she told me she thought I should check out the new tv station “MTV” to see his video because she thought I would really love his music.

Nothing I’m saying here means shit. I don’t think there’s a way I can sum up how much David Bowie’s music and integrity and vulnerability has meant to me. I can tell you that for years the first song I always played in every new apartment was “5 Years” because that officially made a place home to me. I can tell you that Young Americans got me through a terribly dissociative summer alive, not a small miracle. My friend Jessica was the other person who got me through my 15th summer. But then I entered into a nervous breakdown in earnest and the one anchor to all the auditory hallucinations and cutting and numbness, the one voice that kept me strapped to my commitment to the truth, to art, to voice, and to carrying the torch of life on earth, was Bowie.

band jacket contrast

(Anyone else bothered by the missing buttons besides me?)

David Bowie was part of my primal scream. He was there with me when I found myself in pieces. He was there with me when I discovered the power of words in the maelstrom of madness. He was there with me when the mental dust settled. I knew people like me had worth because Bowie showed us that otherlies could see into and beyond light and shadows through to truth, should we take up the challenge.

scratchy twenties contrast

This is a retrospective, bitches, so of course you’ve seen these pictures before if you know me AT ALL.

I know androgyny was in me without Bowie to show me the way, but Bowie gave me courage to express the side of my sexuality and my identity that I might not have had the courage to express without his example.

2869295971_c8fcf1aec2

“let the children lose it, let the children use it”

2869295915_c649603178

That wool suit was sly. It taught me that gender is more complicated than clothes. It taught me that humans are so much more fluid than gender assignation leads us to believe. It taught me that girls come last no matter what they wear, that we can’t win because to men we will always be virgin or whore and it has nothing to do with what we actually do with our vaginas. Wear a fucking suit and men feel emasculated. Wear nothing and men feel powerful if they think you have no power of your own, otherwise they feel emasculated.

Fucking hell.

1226166360_9e34efdd15

Bowie gave me the courage to be an unapologetically evolving human being. He taught me to be fluid, changeable, honest, and fearless.

I cried tonight when I found out Bowie died. I don’t cry easily or often. I honestly didn’t expect to cry tonight. I know that living 69 years and cramming a shit-ton of genius art into it is a life excessively well-packed and well-lived, and yet I feel such desolation knowing Bowie’s left this planet. Us otherlies are more otherly than we’ve been in a long time without him.

beligerant smoke sepia

If we don’t take up the chalice of otherliness we all lose. Even the normals lose, because without us they have no context. Bowie was the patron saint of otherliness.

I know we won’t let his torch drop into obscurity.

Everyone ignite your torches of peace tonight.

Spread love all the way into the fringe of light, nay, all the way deep into darkness where corpses rot and you still have the power to heal them.

Give light, give love, give transformation.

Bowie was poet, musician, painter, lover, addict, genius, artist, actor, and father.

He was the best of all of us.

He was the best of me.

Magic Happy Shrimp Sex

more desert

The only thing that has the power to make me sentimental is the late-night trifecta: beer+(the right) music + a late late hour.

Flying over endless desert made me incredibly uncomfortable on my trip to and from Colorado. The desert is my mental and emotional hell. It’s dry, hot, empty. Barren of the things that bring comfort and sustenance but is full of snakes, spiders, and scorpions. What the fuck kind of person finds their spirit calling out in such a desolate death farm?

I suppose deserts make a lot of people see, for the first time, through the wrong end of the telescope to discover how small they are and discover God in that smallness. I don’t consider myself a particularly lucky person but perhaps in this one way my life prepared me early for the fact that we’re all specks of nothing against the endless awe-inspiringly epic backdrop of a few thousand/million/trillion solar systems.

Doesn’t  mean shit to me spiritually. I’m always thinking about the spiders, snakes, and scorpions milling around just out of sight.

Wearing striped socks distracts me from the vastness of the universe.

Just before I come home from work every day I have this moment when I hear all the things I need to write, when I feel the elusive words slipping down from the attic that I was grasping for when I was sitting in front of my screen on my day off. I try to hold onto them in the last hour before I head home hoping that I can run inside and transcribe them all like gospels. But the second I walk through the door all the clear strong words evaporate like morning fog, immaterial, barely relevant compared to my son’s immediate need for food.

I forget to settle back into the minutiae. You think the story is in the wide heroic actions, but I always find it in the pancake batter crusted on the fork left in the sink, hard as plaster and as appetizing as eviscerated trash. I don’t care about the large gestures as much as I care about the way a room smells the moment your heart shatters, or all the moments a lover isn’t thinking about sex, or the last onion frying in the pan.

I’m struggling hard to reconcile my day job with my family obligations and the obligation I have to my writing. I came here to my blog tonight because I remembered just in time that this is the chronicle of it all. Of everything. The good, the bad, the ugly.

I have come to treat it as the place I shed my political skin. The place I shed my socially conscious skin. The place I shed my spiritual skin, such as it is. I have made a bad habit of forgetting the real purpose of this virtual space of mine. This is an ongoing letter of sorts, a ceaseless note to self.

NOTE TO SELF:

The Wilson verdict in Fergason is depressing, predictable, and despicable. I stand with the protesters for justice in Fergason in spirit and in belief. I know I’m white and as such I’m part of the epic problem in this nation, at least symbolically. But in reality I am always going to stand up with my fellow humans of all races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and genders for equality, for civil rights. And I’m not afraid to get hurt doing it if that’s what’s called for from me.

The desert makes me feel parched of hope and vision.

The only reason I am able to travel by plane at all is thanks to my anxiety medications.

VIVA LA MODERN MEDICINE!

Last time I flew without the aid of SSRIs I nearly disintegrated into a feral puddle of claustrophobic panic and disorder. I was certain the flight attendants were withholding water from me on purpose and trying to kill me with cookies loaded with enough thirst-inducing sugar to fuel a rocket.

I can’t choose between “Cracked Actor” and “Loving the Alien” tonight.

I’ve already listened to Miley Cyrus while writing this so please feel free to judge me harshly for being – I don’t know what – a philistine? A music junkie? A person without taste?

Also: FUCK YOU.

Listening to “Loving the Alien”  makes me smell “Paris” perfume and hear the purr of Mercedes Benz motors stretching down the highway through Marin County.

Listening to “Win” reminds me of wool “Willi Smith” trousers, socks printed with Chinese characters that probably spelled things like “Magic Happy Shrimp Sex” and “You Dumb Americans Will Buy Anything”. It reminds me of discovering San Francisco as a 15 year old. Let loose while my mom went to job interviews, I remember the fog and the smell of Macy’s. I remember feeling like I was HOME for the first time in years. The same way I felt when I arrived in Scotland.

Scotland and San Francisco are still the only two places that have made me feel that visceral sensation of being HOME. Being where I simply AM.

I love Santa Rosa and I feel at home here and I hope I never  need to move away again. It feels like home now, but not in the same visceral way as San Francisco and Scotland always feel.

I don’t regret moving out of SF. Not after the 200 rounds of ammunition were shot out a block from my last apartment there. And other shootouts. And other violent noises and daily city aggressions.

This post feels like one long slow bleed. It’s because I’ve written so little in so long.

“Five Years” is the perfect way to end this night.

The only thing I miss about my youth is how brilliantly I wore vintage men’s suits.