A Comet Blazing ‘Cross the Evening Sky

On this day, when Michael Joseph Jackson is finally laid to rest, I awoke to a single note, a whispered “butterflies.” Wafting from my neighbor’s open window to mine was Michael’s lovely spin on Marsha Ambrosius’ paean to longing and infatuation. I am transported to my DC childhood and a nearly unbearable crush on a beautiful brown boy whose precociously soulful sound touched me as deeply as his cherubic face and glorious corona of hair delighted my eyes. The Got to be There cover with Mike in an Applejack and a Colgate smile just set my heart aflutter. It was he who first gave “me butterflies, inside, inside and I” didn’t know what to do with them. My little heart would race and the telltale blush would spread across my cheeks, prompting teasing that would bring me to tears.

Over the years there would be a J5 lunchbox, Right On! pull-out posters, stacks of 45s –which provided the b-sides not always found on albums, bumping, roboting Dancing Machine contests; devoted viewings of the Saturday morning cartoon, appearances on Soul Train, variety shows, both others’ and their own. I learned the camaraderie-inducing effect of festival seating at the Cap Centre, where MJ and his brothers closed out their Destiny tour thirty years ago.

I had a resurgence of MJJ ardor in the Thriller era, complete with a bow-tied, yellow-vested Michael gazing out directly from my wall. And who can forget the unparalleled excitement of his show-stealing Moonwalk during the Motown 25th anniversary. My best friend Carla and I zipped around the city hoping to catch a glimpse of him during his 1984 NYC stop to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most popular album in history and for winning the most Grammy Awards, eight, in a single show.

When my friend Barb toured with him in 1997’s HIStory Tour, I joined her in London for a few days. The concerts at Wembley Stadium, were, of course, sold-out. Seeing the endless sea of enthralled diversity from backstage was incredible.The Bunyanesque statue of Michael, at first glance a hallmark of egomania, really did need to be large to be seen from the furthest reaches of the adoring crowd. He had indeed become larger than life.

Flummoxed by the oddity of his behavior whilst enchanted by his many gifts, we offer him at the altar of public consumption: revered by some, reviled by others. It is my hope that his memory is not bludgeoned by speculation to a pulpy mass of unanswerable questions.

I hear his own voice, the plaintive Gone Too Soon. I am saddened by the early passing of yet another black man, saddened by the undeniable pain of another human being, yet Michael, how glad I am your anguished soul is free. Thanks for the butterflies. Rest in peace.



11 Responses

  1. just lovely. may he rest in peace.

  2. R.I.P MJJ, We love you forever!
    Truly eloquent SP, thanks!

  3. As always, beautifully stated.

  4. Beautiful. Thank’s so much Sharon.

  5. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you SHARON for such eloquent and warm words dedicated to a true artistic genius and humanitarian marvel-
    It is in this time of divine celebration and tender mourning that I type my own thoughts about a boy/man, who YES provided the musical language and spiritual soul to my childhood, adolescence and adult life. This brotha’ was a wonderfully delightful presence and pure representation of the CREATOR of ALL.
    MICHAEL sang, danced, performed, loved and GAVE for the globe to witness- through music; that awesome force that soothes and heals us all. PERIOD!
    I absolutely enjoyed his tremendous talent and his unconditional need to express LOVE through lyric and performance. I made a conscious choice at the time of his passing to turned down the loud and distractive chatter about his trials and tribulations that he experienced during his fifty years on earth, trials that a media machine splashed through their lens at the time of his tragic death, up until minutes of his spectacular and spirited memorial service for the world to see. The media will never deliver my truth; that for me, exists within.
    The momments that led up to start of the service seemed to be filled with QUIET- for a change! I think the crowd that assembled in the Staple Center truely surprised the 3,000+ LAPD officers, that expected chaos.
    MICHAEL’S memorial had a solemn quiet fit for a KING in a an arena that normally is filled with sports or concert cheers.
    MICHAEL TRUELY WAS A PRINCE, TURNED KING in this world that so, so, needs to be HEALED! I close by saying, that I agree whole heartedly that we should all take a look in our own inner mirrors, digging deep to change ourselves, in order to change our world!
    Michael Jackson came here with a purpose, and my god, did he acheive it! A smile dances across my face as I say, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, brotha’ MICHAEL, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
    May MICHAEL J. JACKSON now rest in heavenly and galactical PEACE… and into the cosmo’s he soarssss….

  6. beautifully said sharon…i share your sentiments…oh,and the sight of that ticket made a tear stream down my cheek and also smile as i got time warped back to 1979 of that excitement…

  7. oh, thank you hunny. that was lovely, fresh tears are flowing
    and I thought I was done.

  8. Honestly, Sharon…that has to be the most eloquent tribute I’ve read to date, and one that strikes a particularly strong chord in me. Thank you for sharing this with us…as I also thank Michael for sharing himself with us.

  9. I must admit-he was my first play husband,boyfriend and date whenever my cousins and I chose to play house and I can smile at the arguments that it would cause with just the mention of MJ taken by the first caller and everyone else had to pick from the brothers. The “knowing” of his spirit is the most wonderful gift the heavens could have allowed us to experience. Thanks for sharing. By the way “Can you feel it”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Sharon,
    What a wonderful tribute you wrote about my HERO. Thank you!! I ‘ve been a fan of MJ since The Jackson Five’s first album. Michael has brought so much joy and happiness into my life and the world. May he RIP!!

  11. Sharon,

    Thank you for the moving and beautifully written remembrance. Like all of us who grew up with and loved MJ, I wish the Incomparable One the peace he could not seem to find on earth.
    By the way, dang if you didn’t make me smile by making me think about my prized possession, the J5 lunchbox!

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