When my friend Mark Stidham texted me at 5:30am on Monday with a David Bowie quote, I thought he was pulling a nostalgic all-nighter, not a vigil. It was when I saw Marion Siegel’s post about Bowie passing that I understood how relative our perception is. We think we know what our friends, heroes and esteemed villains are up to, but we hardly know what we are up to.
The poet Rumi said “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there,” David Bowie was that field.
I first saw a picture of Bowie on my friend Andy Goldman’s wall, which was a shrine to guitar gods and rock legends. Bowie was wearing a dress and he scared me. I felt I was getting in over my head. Instinctively, I knew he was deep. That picture was from 1970.
Bowie was an element, a fire that threw out sparks for almost fifty years. For a good solid fourteen years he was seriously way ahead of his time and out of this world. He was not only the king and queen of Glam rock but he was a poet, a shape shifter, the embodiment of Change.
He gave generations permission to be themselves beyond social and institutional restrictions. He expanded our definition of freedom:
“And I want to believe In the madness that calls ‘Now’ And I want to believe That a light’s shining through Somehow
And I want to believe And you want to believe And we want to believe And we want to live Oh, we want to live… I want to live… Live”
“Oh no love! you’re not alone You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care Oh no love! you’re not alone No matter what or who you’ve been No matter when or where you’ve seen All the knives seem to lacerate your brain I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain You’re not alone…Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful Oh gimme your hands.”
Rock and Roll Suicide
“How many people lie instead of talking tall?…
You’re a flash in the pan, I’m the Great I Am.”
Right up until the end, he changed his persona into a blind oracle that looked like it arose from Pan’s Labyrinth; Lazarus rising from the grave to take the dying singer’s final curtain call.
Rock star, Movie Star, White Star? He says no, “I’m a Black Star” He is gravitational, he is the alternative to a Black Hole.
He is our chance to rise to our most outrageous and live our expression to its fullest.