An Homage to Perfect Mistakes
There were so many of him. Suave, savage, svelt, charismatic, aloof, in your face and distant. Flaming red hair, uneven eyes, lips that kissed the dark of the world and made the night blush. Androsexual, asemetric, omnidrogenous vixen queen, who reigned as king of a world created from the chaos of unknowing. A world that reformed and recreated with each brilliant mistake.
Driven by the power to create, the young man grew old, and never stopped creating. And, as it is after death, the blackstar rose and we remembered the rose tinted ideal, the ageless beauty, the sadness of his heartbreak, his power of prose and genius of poise. But, in truth, it took forever for Bowie to be Bowie. One mistake after another from David Jones mod-topped saxophonist, through the long haired hippie artist, Bowie fell from star to star until he stumbled upon space, a grande mistake.
Ziggy was a kaleidoscopic mash-up of stooges, velvets, vaudeville, music hall, Hamilton and Warhol in Matchabelli warpaint and an electric smile. He joined Roxy and Rex and turned the world on its gender specific hind and left us all undefined, before eschewing swing for the swagger of the duke, and then the a young american and then…
He stole from heaven and gave us low, pulled from the depths and blessed the sky with a blackstar. We owe him a great deb. He was perfect. Perfection as the product of great mistakes. This tainted saint an ADHD spirit with an artist’s heart – restless, uncertain and forever ch-ch-ch-changing.
A whole generation of us fell in love with the prepunkpunk of rebel rebel channeling our inner bitchy teen. I was amazed that a secret part of me identified as a girl. And, quite unsettlingly, a girl to whom I was super attracted. In one swell flop I had acknowledged my angry teen damage and fell in love with myself. Honoring the darkside, indeed.
But, artists long for freedom. Some can abide little external form. Patti Smith walked out of the bookstore in which she worked at 23. She had no job again except art. Just art. She and Robert on the floor of a room in the chelsea hotel cut and pasting thier future. All the while with the doubt and self-blame of an artist. Those born to create, live as secret frauds in the societies to whom they pretend.
But, some among us do not pretend. John lennon never had another job except delivering milk one summer for his uncle. That must have been something. The the universe respects tenacity and we keep pounding those chords, making nistakes and falling thru the gates of change, and eventually time and space will correct to meet us, warped around our wRped gravity. Not that I can speak for the universe, but I long to imagine it respects those brave enough to make mistakes. The universe might well be the product of a series of mistakes. It takes one to fondle one.
Always make better mistakes. Make more mistakes. Make louder mistakes.
Celebrate imperfection and find beauty in this moment, as it is. This is ruling your world, as Sakyong Mipham calls it. The ability to rise from your own ashes and be here now, embodied and awake, apologizing to no one. A royal mess. A monarch of your own confusion and your own partner, lover and saint. Standing in the darkness we are privy to a light so bright, the universe can’t help but notice. The light of compassion. And, eventually taming our wild heart, we find in time the method for birthing the spirit from the wood without dampening the flame.
To me, this is the power of meditation. Especially Vajrayana. And Bowie practiced this. The transmutation of pain into power. The releasing of spirit in order ease the suffering of the world. Sit erect facing the flames, settle down to earth to open, accept, and simply breathe until we have distilled pure wisdom. Our costume body, like a bell jar allowing the flame to focus into clear light as we sit and sit and compose a personal opus that lights the world. And when we take a seat there, we are the cracked actor on the stage of now. An actor portraying the monarch, creating a part as it unfolds in complete synchronization with the moment. Our moment. Did we create ourselves, or are we created? Do we set trends, follow them, or die beneath them? We are well beyond simple explanation. All of us. A product of mistakes so great we can only fall forward.
But David danced across stones that would have fell another. He rose to his occasion, took a seat and made a difference.