The Heart of Michael Jackson

The Heart of Michael Jackson


Crowds spontaneously

started to gather

at the Apollo,

in front of the hospital

where his still body lay,

in fact,

across the globe

hordes poured out

into the streets

after the news


that Michael Jackson died.

The man who could achieve

with music

what he had said

in a rare interview

politicians with laws

and clever speeches

could not achieve

once again focused

our collective consciousness.


In unison, strangers

sang his words,

and together danced

his signature moves

to celebrate the man

who had for decades

embodied our collective desire

to express the ineffable.

We had cheered                      

him when he captured

in lyrics our loves and drives

and measured in beats

and energetic gyrations

our moments of ecstasy.


But then, because

there is the overlooked

law of polarity,

we vilified him

when he reflected

our phobias and fears

about looking different,

acting different,

being different,

than cultural expectations

deemed appropriate.

We forced him

to endure our collective

need for perfection

in an imperfect world

then ridiculed him

for buckling under the pressure.


In the requisite

media montages of his life

with the ubiquitous Barbara Walters

who blurs the line between

reporting and gossip

that we openly crave

or loudly abhor,

I was struck

(yes I watched)

I was struck

by how many times

Michael tapped

his chest

over his


and asked

in one way

or another

that it be




“I am a person.

I have feelings.”


Once hailed

as an icon

can the heart


Once asked

to carry

the collective

weight of our emotions,

can we

be surprised

that a heart

gives out,

gives up,

gives in

to mind and body

numbing drugs?


We speculate

and titch, titch

over the tragedy

of his finances

and wonder aloud

over the unlived

lives of his offspring.

We splash the screens

of television

and all the media forms

that have evolved

in the course

of his lifetime

and now participate

in creating revolutions,

evolutions, de-evolutions,

we splash the scenes

with recounts of accusations

of his alleged salacious behavior

knowing that only

a handful of people

know the truth

yet we feel compelled

to sully his memory.


In my heart,

I carry memories

of a man robbed

of his childhood

(yes he gained

from our theft

but at what price?)

who spent his life

seeking to regain it,

a man driven

to perfect his talent

so that he could

gift to you

and gift to me

the love of melody and movement.


 I surrender to his request

to remember his heart

and  hear his  call:

“Let me fill

your  heart

with joy and happiness.”

I tap my heart

and bow my head

to the memory

of a man

fearless enough

to dance

to the beat

of his own heart.

I let his music

enter my soul

and run out

to join the celebration

in the streets.

“I’ll Be There.”



Robin Ridleycopyright 2009