Woodland Ode to Michael Jackson

I was slumped in passenger seat of a dilapidated Suburban, scarfing down a messy sandwich, when the news broke. Normally, channel 16 on the radio is reserved for logging industry emergencies. So when I heard Solara’s voice crackle to audible life to proclaim that Michael Jackson was dead, my mind came to a complete halt. Even my concerted efforts at mastication froze in mid-molar grind.

Parking lot dance party

Parking lot dance party

Treeplanting reduces the human experience into tiny, manageable physiological moments. The world is bordered by aching bone and muscle. Little extend past the horizon of hunger. So my paralysis was completely understandable: I had been yanked out of the mire of a moment and cast by a tornado of socio-cultural meaning. A semiotic tidal wave of death, celebrity, music and dance crashed over the soiled furrows of my brow.

Let me hear you say.

Let me hear you say.

Sometimes it’s hard to rank the importance of your friends in a meaningful order. Likewise, in the suburban, I had no sense that this was the most important celebrity death of my generation. Multiply this by the disconnect of bush work – any news is big news to a tent-dweller with a bug mask and a full beard.

Whiter than Michael.

Whiter than Michael.

It wasn’t until I was entrapped in the wild gyrations of an afternoon dance party that I intimated the wondrous importance of Michael. That dance can be an answer to so much. To the weighty convolutions of human meaning. To the vertiginous implications of death. To our collective failure to treat a troubled man compassionately during his life. Dance was our answer. Our apology. Our absolution.

Dance party essential: a toothbrush.

Dance party essential: a toothbrush.

The King of Pop

Is dead

Long live the Sing.

Bush people

Gather around

This antiquated audiotape

Of thrift store providence:

This is Thriller.

Rhythm is our obelisk

And Liz knows all the moves.

Her face contorts,

Her feet footloose.

Billy Hackett

Is not my lover.

But he walks the moon

Like no other.

Wood chips, gravel

Scuff spinning toes.

Clasp your crotch,

Fling your feet

To reckless angles.

Stretch your falsetto

To octaves of joy.

And don’t stop

Til’ you get it on.


Sexy raised to the 6th power

Sexy raised to the 6th power


One Response to Woodland Ode to Michael Jackson

  1. lindsay says:

    (I think we found out on CBC, bush roads weaving in and out of frequency.)

    I often wonder how you’re doing and am glad to have stumbled onto your blog.


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