michael and iran

my great aunt annie, who i have written about here before, has made her transition. we think she was 91.

she was the aunt of so many children, mother of many more – she was where all the children went at some point. my only memory of her is a constant smile – 91 years of smiling creates an organic infrastructure of skin and bone and teeth and joy that is unparalleled. all signs say she was ready to go, though i’m sure that doesn’t matter much on any other side. i hope she is reunited now with all the people she had to lay in the ground over her long life. i miss her now, and will miss her, and don’t quite understand the south without her there up that road by the church.

trying to work and be a person in the process of this kind of soft expected grief is odd.

before that news, i had to sing a song about how i feel about my neighbor fred moving out. i passionately love this man, and when he and the man of his dreams are ready i want to carry their child! did this song in 2 takes, so don’t take it too seriously.


my love for him is particularly noticeable because another neighbor has moved in across the patio – not into fred’s apartment but into the apartment across the way, the one which has windows which directly face mine. the person who has moved in there yells non-stop. at everything and everyone in her life from the couch to the dog to her visitors. with all the death and violence we’ve had here, i was hoping for a young black EMT or something. FAIL 🙁

this past week has been all about me realizing that there is an appropriate michael quote for just about everything. in this instance, “i’m a lover, not a fighter” comes to mind, but “beat it!” comes out of my mouth.

i’ve been aware of how much comfortable i have felt thinking and talking about michael jackson than about iran. in the most capitalist way of understanding things, i felt that MJ was mine.

i could take it personally that he didn’t love his blackness, cause it was OUR blackness. he was messing with the parts of his face that made him look like my dad.

and iran is not mine. it’s not ours, it’s not american property or soil, it’s not a prized economic partner. we don’t deal with iran, we put them in an axis of evil and keep it moving, asking them to not to do like us on the nuclear tip. i expect conservative voices to feel ownership when they hear the news from iran, because their worldview is that the u.s. should be managing the world, even after 8 years of a global episode of “the office”.

but i am surprised by the voices on the left, how comfortable we have gotten with “solidarity” before we understand the situation and the long-term implications. how quickly we simplify the issue – it’s riveting to watch a stolen election and see people do what we weren’t willing to do here. but iran is not ours – not our reality show, not our pawn, not our toy, and not our ally on some great path towards democracy.

sovereignty is deep – the idea that other nations are pursuing other paths for how humans should exist in this world, which aren’t ours to change or control, is humbling. so far we just can’t keep our fingers (and money, and weapons and voices) out of the mix.

when moved by something happening elsewhere in the world, trace the money, trace the influence. what needs to change in the u.s. to impact the world in a better way? how do we transform ourselves to transform the world? that, to me, is the only way to engage in a foreign politic with integrity. everything else is condescension.

now michael? michael was ours, as much as a court jester or dancing slave girl for an ancient empire, and we shared him with the world, and with each other. we consumed him, for better and for worse, and he made us reflect on ourselves, our race and class and culture and self-love and childhood, our ability to move and sing and change and make mistakes and continue on.

now i keep turning on man in the mirror and hearing the dark side of that song. the man in the mirror is exactly who he did change, his whole adult life. what would it have looked like for him to love HIMSELF the way he loved his musical legacies, african and black culture as represented in his sound and his moves? what can we learn about ourselves, this country and our communities from that?