In September when I ask the Manchester Chapter of the Connecticut Poetry Society what happened this summer I figure that Michael Jackson's death will head the list. Here's what I have to say about that:
1. I once turned down free tickets to one of his concerts.
2. The problem with the death of "The King of Pop" is that pop is king.
I'll bet you didn't know of the death of Harold Norse on June 8. (Check out these poems.) I do not suggest that Norse ranks with Jackson but I do suggest that in his milieu he was as important and influential as Jackson in his and that pop as king will almost always trump The Arts in America and I don't like it.
The artist walks the world without his prosthetic nose, struggles anonymously with life and occasionally makes five bucks for a dose of truth. Truth doesn't sell, creates no icons, is not welcome. The King of Pop, loaded with talent, is now being laid waste in the halls of gossip, voyeurism and ogling-- and that is what most of my poetry group will think of as the hallmark of summer. Harold Norse? At this point I think Michael Jackson envies his death. My real hope is that the two of them are up there shaking their heads and alternately laughing and despairing at those of us below.