Mr. Bowie has gone elsewhere.
Not gone to space with Mr. Ra, expanding and contracting along with the rhythm of the universe, omnipresent and insensate. Love it though he did, he was but an emissary and advocate, a friend to the spaceboy and the starman and the lost soul drifting blissfully in his tin can bound for oblivion. For all his stellar affectations, Mr. Bowie was proudly, profoundly terrestrial, an Earthling to the end, steadfastly staying here with all the madmen to serve as a blinking beacon of oddity in a world gone sane.
Not fallen to Earth with Mr. Lennon, lying helpless on the rocks as chameleon comedian corinthian and caricature bleed into impotent icon, a failed Lazarus to be measured and framed and hung upon your wall. Mr. Bowie drew too many breaths, led too many lives, wore too many faces to ever be damned to misguided martyrdom, to become a totem to be excavated and archived until even his small affairs become the stuff of myth. There is no triumph so indelible that it cannot be overwritten by tragedy.
Not preserved in amber with Mr. Bolan, wedged in a crack in the past, finite and time-stamped. Is it a victory to have never let us down when one never truly had the chance? Mr. Bowie had the time to blunder, to build a faulty machine here and there, to dance like no one was watching when in fact everyone was. Better to be a bendable, breakable man than some Sisyphean superman condemned to spend eternity crashing in the same car.
Not lashed to the stage with Mr. Jagger, strutting and fretting his way again and again through an act long since cracked. Mr. Bowie gave of himself gladly but would not be slave to the grind, branded bundled packaged and paraded through the coliseums, jumping when they say jump, jamming only as good as the paycheck afforded as his own voice became little more than white noise to his ears. Better to maintain the mystery, speak for the sake of saying and not the sake of speaking, stay deep enough in the shadows that the regular never begins to outshine the star.
Not gone to Heaven with Ms. Simone, towering over humanity as a pillar of perfection, holding hard against even the wildest wind. Heroic though he could be, Mr. Bowie did not aspire to godhood nor would he have it thrust upon him. Pushing through the toasts and tributes and venerations, he remained ever that dapple-eyed boy from Brixton, possessed of a soul that grinned and gimbled with the gods but stayed rooted in the firmament even after the angels had gone.
Not gone to Hell with Mr. Reed, wallowing in his own gravy, seeking out ugliness in hopes of mining a few granules of ruined beauty. Mr. Bowie indulged his darkness to be sure, lurching through the realms of broken men and scary monsters and things that suck you while you’re sleeping, but he did not stay in a bad place for too long. Hovering just outside a fantastic abyss of his own creation, he held his slashers and suicides and savage jaws and shoes shoes little white shoes at arm’s length. Not a demon, not a saint, merely a cockeyed kook with a tooth for the macabre.
Mr. Bowie has gone elsewhere. He will not be returning and he has left no forwarding address. He has left you a message. You may decipher it at your leisure. The message is for you and you alone. It may not be an easy code to crack but the effort will be worth it. The moment you know you know you know.
Mr. Bowie has gone elsewhere. There is nowhere else he’d rather be.
Jesus he was a handsome man. And what I want to know is how do you like your blueeyedblackeyed boy, Mister