AFTER MICHAEL JACKSON DIED
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
After Michael Jackson died
His spirit slipped like steam from a kettle's spout.
At the rehearsals
At the moment his spirit was lifted
Michael Jackson's mistakes flickered and gleamed.
And for an instant that lasted ten thousand years he felt the exactly sufficient amount of remorse
After Michael Jackson died
Now, behatted, beglitter gloved, all these answers came streaming in hungry undeniable technicolour veracity. Michael Jackson relinquished himself to them. He understood why he had felt so alone, still & still still felt so alone. He understood why his father had hated him. He understood Tito's gift, and Janet's loss, and his own greatest mistake. He understood his willowy love, why Lisa Marie had said the things she said in precisely the way she said them. He understood why he had seen his father's face in the mirror. Michael Jackson understood what had made him so special, for a handful of years in the history of human beings; understood the magic of the moonwalk, of a wild, free "Woo!"; of grabbing your crotch and dancing like a switchblade, a salmon, a moonbeam. He understood that "Billie Jean" was not a song about paternity but instead about bassline, thrust, a certain neon yearning. He understood the liberated
He learned that Uri Geller was a scam artist, and Dr Tohme Tohme was a scam artist, and that Leonard Muhammad and Shmuley Boteach knew scarcely of God;
and then he ascended to Paradise.
After Michael Jackson died
He arrived at the place
By the time Michael Jackson
He looked down upon the Earth and saw his sons, his daughter, his friends;
Michael Jackson saw a million people playing "Bad" and "ABC" and "The Way You Make Me Feel", all over the world, in river towns and desert towns, skyscrapers and huts
(Michael Jackson is here
I'll never be able to understand the strangely magnetic quality that Jackson seemed to inspire in so many people, but this - this I can take with me, slip inside of my pocket. This can make me believe in the mystery of the eternal boy, the Puer Aeternus, the way that innocence and repression can all fade away to simply leave a beautiful shell, something to fill in and love as one could never love before.Posted by Sean at June 29, 2009 3:27 PM
This is fantastic, I love the part with John Lennon.Posted by Dylan at June 29, 2009 8:18 PM
Beautiful. Well put, and well imagined, Sean.Posted by byhowdy at June 29, 2009 11:14 PM
This is beautifully written, Sean. And yes(!), "I Want You Back" stands above the rest.Posted by Philana at June 30, 2009 1:54 AM
dude this so true!!!
I don't understand the rancour of Vanity Fair in relation to this.
In the swirling torrents of tributes and memorialization, this is beautiful, thoughtful, respectful without being cloying or fawning, and, most of all, hopeful.
Is it any less respectful or truthful than Otrth's articles in their fine publication? I doubt it.Posted by rgsc at June 30, 2009 12:24 PM
I'm going to live in this summer of sidewalk glitz and starlit yes for as long as I can, hoping to learn the secret of moving so that I too may become switchblade, salmon, moonbeam, for until we reach true remorse and understanding, I think this might be one of the best things we can do.
sean, this cements you in my mind as one of our finest music bloggers/music writers out there. you write about music the way i feel it in my heart, and that's the highest compliment i can personally give. thank you for this; it is absolutely stunning, and beautiful.Posted by heather at July 1, 2009 12:26 AM
this is what art does best. thank you for this incredible wonderful thing you've created, sean.Posted by chad at July 1, 2009 1:58 AM
so very beautifully written. thank you.Posted by suzanna at July 1, 2009 11:44 AM
Stunning. Breathtaking. Brilliant.
Thank you.Posted by Ginger at July 1, 2009 3:57 PM
I thought you did this pretty well, too, and even caught the Dante...Posted by Moominmamma at July 2, 2009 8:27 AM
I like this blog and I do think that Michael Jackson inspired alot of people.Posted by joshua corley at July 2, 2009 11:29 AM
yesPosted by garrett at July 2, 2009 12:15 PM
Appropriate, Sober, Simple. Thank you, Sean.Posted by Joseph at July 2, 2009 8:21 PM
Wow. What a knockout of a piece. Thank You!Posted by Rick Saunders at July 2, 2009 9:50 PM
This is heartbreakingly beautiful and perfect in every way. Thank you.Posted by Trista Evans at July 3, 2009 5:19 AM
Brilliant. Amidst all the noise and chaos of people trying to make sense of this - of him, his life and his passing - and you did it perfectly, beautifully, and eloquently in a simple poem. Nicely done.
BTW, There is nothing more to be said, so let's move on.Posted by D.R. at July 3, 2009 5:50 PM
Terrific writing, Sean (and a very interesting demo, too). I heard about MJ's death at Glastonbury, where it put a strange tinge on a great weekend. That's a memorable poem.Posted by David B at July 5, 2009 7:13 AM
Amazing. Beautiful.Posted by Professor Zero at July 6, 2009 3:15 AM
VF's response to this cemented why i read blogs like yours and not print media re: art & entertainment. your piece was thoughtful, interesting, and freely-given. VF is a scrambling, overpriced dinosaur devoted to cheap cruelty.Posted by chris, TX at July 6, 2009 12:46 PM
This is like a magic trick. I'm completely caught up in the illusion.Posted by Christian at July 7, 2009 8:28 PM
After Michael Jackson Died the fifth thing he learned was, people be stupid. All he ever had to do to make the media love him, after all the chaos, after all the molested children, was to die. He should have tried it sooner.Posted by Red at July 7, 2009 10:35 PM
One of the most pretentious things I have ever read. Utter guff.Posted by Gill Stevens at July 8, 2009 9:09 AM
I've returned to this almost daily for the better part of a week now, whenever the distraction of the talking heads and mainstream circus threatens to bury Michael in an avalanche of reporting about the death of Michael. There is no agenda here, no scoop, no sexy tagline; There is simply empathy, love, and humanity. Your have given voice to what so many of us feel so achingly in our hearts. Thank you, Sean, for this gift.Posted by Joshua at July 8, 2009 11:53 AM
This is like a turd in a laundry basket. I would not spoon it in my mouth and you would not want me to spoon it in yours. Won't somebody think of the children?
When Jesus died I pretended I knew him and that it affected me personally and that I was the most affected and hurt by this terrible news because i wanted to be the person who got the most attention. Everyone thought my eulogy was very very clever and emotional and my fragile little ego felt a bit better. Please love me again, I'm the most upset.Posted by Sally Linfield at July 10, 2009 7:20 AM
I am struck by the extreme polarization in the comments on this tribute... I, myself, found it to be a pleasure to read: magical in parts, whimsical and indulgent in others, presumptuous, thoughtful, forgiving and damning all at once. A very complex and imaginative thing for someone to share. The comments here appear to say much more about the spirit of the commentor, rather than the merits of this very human, very touching, if imperfect piece of creative writing. My favorite review, was also the simplest. "yes."Posted by Mike Kelley at July 10, 2009 10:15 PM
Thank you for an amazing piece of writing.Posted by t at July 10, 2009 11:28 PM
Watching all the news pieces about Michael and listening to the radio tributes hadn't made me realize he has passed. Now, after reading this, I know he is gone. The title made my soul jump a little, it is so abruptly matter-of-fact.
This made me cry, and I'm not a huge fan of MJ.Posted by Kay at July 13, 2009 6:55 PM
this is really amazing. you write so beautifully, i hope you're published one day. i wasn't nearly as distraught as some people to learn michael jackson had died; it didn't affect me in any particularly deep way. but this did and helped me appreciate him.
also, just for the record, i'm pretty sure this is ten times better than the poem maya angelou wrote in his honor. just thought you should know.Posted by Tristan at July 15, 2009 6:43 PM
I agree with your vision, poem, dream... I sometime visit the other side and this is what I see and feel when i am visiting. I also know the two dimensions are not separate as people might think! They are one in the same. How foolish of the world to think we die after we leave the body. How foolish to think we (humans) do not know all things. In the quietness from within me... i find your presentation above to be the absolute truth. Much Love J.B.Posted by qttpie2002 at July 18, 2009 1:35 PM
I feel sullied by this huge arse-rag. Do not think this is the way of my life, I have a horse you know. This is pile of my horse's leavings on a bed of rocket with some balsamic vinegar.
I wandered lonely as a kookaburra, spilling my burning seed on the face of goats. In the middle of the mound was a single golden egg, laid by the boy-king Michael. I dug and dug until I found it but it was not inside and he called me and said that life in heaven was boring and I sang a song and fell asleep in my car because I was bored of having cod for tea.Posted by Jean Garson-Wilber at July 20, 2009 9:43 AM
the deat of micheal really touched me but i could only cry and look for solace.ooooooh,how i wish god understands my feelings,i would hav chose to die for micheal.MAY HIS GENTLE SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE,AMENPosted by ezeuko candy at July 22, 2009 11:33 AM
Gloved One, Loved One
Gloved, One, Loved One
My heart is heavy, as I watch news footage of you gliding across the stage and gyrating your pelvis,
I personly dont think MJ is dead but even though this poem didn't change my mind I think this is a nice poem for people who think he's dead (witch he IS NOT) so anyone who thinks he's dead I think your crazy and since all of the people who posted a commet besides me is stupid so you might want to think again!Posted by melisa at August 25, 2009 11:38 PM
and you better see to make sure head isn't hollowPosted by melisa at August 25, 2009 11:43 PM
and you better see a doctor to make sure head isn't hollowPosted by melisa at August 25, 2009 11:44 PM
and you better see a doctor to make sure head isn't hollowPosted by melisa at August 25, 2009 11:44 PM
It amazes me that onanism like this passes for poetry, I thought we'd moved on from this prissy, twee nonsense, but judging by most of the reactions on here maybe not.
There are people who make it their full-time job to criticize, heckle, mock, and condemn people from behind the veil of anonymity on forums across the Web, such as several found here. They take joy in tearing others down and disrespecting the dead. They think they are funnier, slicker, and smarter than everyone else. They are full of themselves. They exhibit the same mentality as the tabloids and tabloid junkies who tried to tear Michael Jackson down. Sick society. Rest in peace, Michael. You were too kind and talented and giving for this world. At the end of the day, justice will be served.Posted by CoCo7 at September 1, 2009 1:08 AM
amazing! the best i've read on him so far.Posted by candice at October 16, 2009 2:12 AM
Absolute beauty!Posted by Nichele at January 15, 2010 10:09 PM
I think this is a nice poem for people who think he's dead (witch he IS NOT) so anyone who thinks he's dead I think your crazy and since all of the people who posted a commet besides me is stupid so you might want to think again!Posted by kurtlar vadisi pusu at February 19, 2010 10:09 AM
the storie is nice bt some of the things r nt truePosted by yonela at March 5, 2010 3:30 PM
Reading this for the first time since I originally read it in 2009, it's still as evocative as ever and a very fine tribute to Michael Jackson.Posted by tanya at December 26, 2010 9:27 PM
Just found this unfortunately. I'm a big fan of MJ but this kind of mythologising makes me feel sick. Faux-religious, faux-spiritual claptrap. MJ was a hugely talented musician and singer no doubt and no doubt also he was hugely misunderstood and probably quite disturbed, but let's stop the mass-grief syndrome, it's ridiculous.Posted by Caruthers at April 28, 2011 11:30 AM
wow.Posted by Maureen at July 6, 2011 1:45 PM
As a huge Michael Jackson fan I found this piece to be highly insulting, both to my intelligence and the memory of MJ.
For example - "He thought of the leaf he had watched once in the window at Neverland, he had watched it do nothing but be."
really really bad 'poetry' using cliched, hackneyed ideas of simplicity, the beauty of nature, peace in death etc etc. I'm astonished at some of the positive comments on here at what is essentially a fawning, badly written worship piece about a talented but deeply disturbed man who none of you knew.Posted by Seely at September 14, 2011 6:05 AM
I am a loaf, come eat my bread. Your bread is dry oh sire, your bread is old and dry. Wet it with the tears of the boy-king and ye shall eat. We shall, we shall, oh sweet rejoicing, we shall.Posted by Steven Hacker at January 17, 2012 7:34 AM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. His debut novel, Us Conductors, will be published by Random House Canada/Tin House Books in spring 2014. His work also occasionally appears at McSweeney's. Follow him on Twitter or reach him here.
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