Michael Jackson Has Weird Things In His Head
Michael Jackson died yesterday and everybody gives a shit.
Who gives a shit?
The butterflies dance
and the dead don’t leave cleaning products
under the kitchen sink;
they don’t track mud up the stairs
or run lobster boats off the coast of Maine.
The roofer came this morning to fix the slate and said,
Remember when Thriller came out?
I did remember, I said,
and remembered too, dancing
with Rose and Bonnie
to the old Jackson Five songs
till my legs fell off.
A Jackson Five song is like a piece of grape BubbleYum.
I chewed that stuff till my jaw swelled up the way it did
when Sam Ricard hit me
in my face
with his big fist
for being too short.
But when his grandmother died
we all went to the funeral.
Our parents said,
That’s what you do, you go
to the funeral.
You show up.
You give a shit.
Me and Gus sat in the front pew and one of us was sad.
I’m not sure which one.
Then we went back to Sam’s house and watched old people drink wine
in black skirts and yellow ties
until someone fell down–
maybe the dead woman’s husband,
maybe Sam’s big brother, Al.
When Gus’s father died
on an icy road in Cincinnati
in a car that skidded the wrong way
the whole world fell down.
That’s when I got scared
It’s like that, death—
broken cars, someone falls down.
Everyone gives a shit for a second
and then who gives a shit?
Michael Jackson had weird things in his head.
Butterflies have weird things in their heads.
When they die
no one turns on the t.v. to watch news specials and broadcasts from the Philippines.
My money is on the little boys–
that he touched their ding dongs.
My money is on Janet–
that she’s the sanest of them all.
When she dies
there will be a church in Indiana filled with sunshine, a closed casket
and three hundred mourners, who, for a second,
give a shit
and then, for another second,
turn around, distracted, a moving shadow,
headed the other way.