Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Stillborn Oration

(What I would have said if I had attended the Michael Jackson memorial on July 7, 2009)


On the twenty-fifth day of June 2009
The man in the mirror sighed a great sigh;
the writing on the glass unequivocal:
I have never met Michael Jackson
And never can I in this incarnation.

I exhumed images from my boyhood years
when I collected chewing gum photo cards;
John Wayne, Roger Moore, Pele, and a cute
Afro-haired boy named Michael Jackson.
What he was and what he did were strong words;
Nothing is impossible - if you believe.

I remembered loud sing-songs on the
Nile House lawns at Government College Umuahia,
Blaming it on the boogie in dancehalls
From Isuikwuato,through Aba, and Lagos
To jamming in river parties on the Thames
In the season of Bad and Liberian Girl.


Today I come to praise Michael Jackson.
I come to say his name, not to bury him.
I cannot bury a man who has not died,
And Michael Jackson is not the type
At whose door death may dance in victory.

If Michael Jackson should die,
It would be supernova of a human kind.
But Michael Jackson is no ordinary man;
I see him dance every time I close my eyes.
I hear him sing with every passing wind.
I applaud him every time I look
in the mirror; every time I want to obey,
To make a change to the world,
Starting with myself.

Michael Jackson is sunshine to many souls
Thirsting for light in their dark nights.
Yet Michael Jackson
is a man more judged than judging,
a man more reviled than reviling.
Oh did he not have this procedure?
Oh did he not have that procedure?
Did he not peel his skin to become a white man?

Michael Jackson has never asked anyone
to change his face or change his colour.
Whatever he did, he did to himself, for himself,
perhaps to feel good about himself,
perhaps to feel worthy of our adoration and love.

I therefore choose not to weep for Michael Jackson
because I know he is alive and will live forever.
Because I know he had the courage to live life
and live it his own way.
Because he is one of the greatest men to walk
on the ground God gave us.

I say, live on Michael Jackson, enjoy your life.

- Nnorom Azuonye

©2009 Nnorom Azuonye. All rights reserved.

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