Off the Wall

The last 15 hours of my life have been tough. Nothing happened directly to me per se, but the passing of Michael Jackson has profoundly impacted me. Ever since I first read the news, I have been on a see-saw of emotion, at moments feeling normal, to bursting into tears. I can’t remember ever being so affected by a famous person’s death. But maybe that’s why. Michael Jackson wasn’t famous. He was infamous. His celebrity was global. He was, no, is, a music icon. He is the King of Pop.

I’ve read many comments, all wondering why people are so sad about his passing, and every single one of those people cites his personal life and behavior as a reason why we shouldn’t mourn. I can understand that. But for me, it’s not about Michael Jackson, the man. It is about Michael Jackson, the singer. The dancer. The lyricist. The trailblazer. In my self-reflection as to why I was crying, I found myself going through the soundtrack of my life. From my birth until I was 21 years old, the music of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson have been a part of me, and that continues today. So this is my stream of consciousness, my tribute, to the one artist that has imprinted his music on me more deeply than any other.

I’ve been Working Day and Night. I Can’t Help It. Got to make the Money. I’m not a Street Walker, just a little Off the Wall. Just Someone in the Dark, who lives on the Niteline. But that’s Another Part of Me, I call her Dirty Diana. She’ll tell you to just Leave Me Alone, give me some Privacy. She’s a Smooth Criminal, a Thriller, a Tabloid Junkie, a Morphine addict, a Speed Demon; she’s Dangerous and just plain Bad. But now I’m getting off this Carousel, and She’s Out of My Life. And all that’s left is this Liberian Girl, Little Susie, and I Can’t Let Her Get Away. This Superfly Sister likes Butterflies and wants to Heal the World with her Earth Song, to Keep the Faith. This Beautiful Girl doesn’t want to Fall Again. Someone Put Your Hand Out. Don’t Walk Away. Just another Stranger in Moscow, forget about her HIStory.

Remember the Time we’d Get on the Floor, Burning This Disco Out until the Break of Dawn? You look like you Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, you look like Trouble. Flashing that Smile worth 2000 Watts. I guess that’s Human Nature. Sure, I’ll Rock With You to this Jam, because The Way You Make Me Feel, well, You Rock My World and Love Never Felt So Good. Baby Be Mine, Give in to Me and we’ll Fly Away.

So now she’s my Girlfriend, The Lady in My Life. And boy, is she a Pretty Young Thing. I tell those other girls to Beat It, want no part of Billie Jean. This Time Around, it will be different. The Girl is Mine and She Drives Me Wild. We’re more than Just Good Friends. No need to hide our love In the Closet. Whatever Happens, we’ll Ease on Down the Road, for It’s the Falling In Love. Is It Scary? The Way You Love Me? Sure, but I Just Can’t Stop Loving You. You Are My Life. Hope it lasts For All Time.

So she ended up a Cheater, a Heartbreaker. You saw her In the Back. It’s 2 Bad. You Scream, “Why You Wanna Trip on Me? If You Don’t Love Me, why did you say we were Unbreakable?” You put your heart On the Line, shared your Ghosts. Sunset Driver, so Scared of the Moon, feeling Threatened, need an Xscape. You Are Not Alone. Don’t leave any Blood on the Dance Floor. You would be Gone Too Soon. Heaven Can Wait. Take a look at the Man in the Mirror. Who Is It? You think They Don’t Care About Us. You think There Must Be More to Life Than This. It’s not that Black or White.

We Are Here to Change the World. We Are the World. Help The Lost Children. Repair the lost Childhoods. Wipe the tears they Cry. Come Together. We are not Invincible. Don’t sit there Speechless. You Can’t Win that way. Put aside the Monkey Business, have a Serious Effect. We’ve Had Enough. It’s time to stand up. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. Will You Be There?

I’ll Bet You’re wondering Who’s Loving You. It’s Too Late to Change the Time, Forever Came Today. Darling Dear, Get It Together. Hum Along and Dance. You’re the Life of the Party, a Dancing Machine. We’re Here to Entertain You. I Found That Girl – Little Bitty Pretty One – she’s Goin’ Back to Indiana, Maybe Tomorrow – Hallelujah Day – to find a Corner of the Sky that’s been Touched. And Lookin’ Through the Windows, she thinks, It’s Great to Be Here. I’m So Happy. I Am Love. She plays with her Mama’s Pearls around her neck, humming the ABC’s. She turns her head; Daddy’s Home. “Mama, I Gotta Brand New Thing,” he says. “Whatever You Want, I Got. I’m your Sugar Daddy.” The little girl watches her parents Sing a Simple Song, a Love Song, such Young Folks. He says, “All I Do Is Think of You. I Want You Back. Doctor, My Eyes, they see the Love You Save. And I’ll Be There. I Never Can Say Goodbye.”

2 thoughts on “Off the Wall

  1. Wow, I can't say I'm upset at MJ's passing, but that's because all I've seen the past decade or so has been his bad exposure in the news with children and plastic surgery. In a way I envy how you mourn all the good things he represented and how his music will live on forever but I think in a way it's good he passed on earlier in life, he was getting pretty bad with the surgeries, and the most idolized of people are those that passed away early- Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Brad Nowell, etc.

    My favorite MJ song? Beat It. It had Sammy Hagar do the guitar solo- it's the sex.

    Keep your head up cuz!

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