Breaking up is hard, but keeping dark is hateful
I had so many dreams
I had so many breakthroughs
But you, my love, were kind
But love has left you dreamless
The door to dreams was closed
Your park was real and dreamless
Perhaps you’re smiling now
Smiling through this darkness
But all I had to give was guilt for dreaming
I made my pilgrimage to Lafayette Street in Soho, New York yesterday. I went specifically to pay my respects to my life long musical hero David Bowie.
I’d been planning this trip since before the Thin White Duke left us and, as I approached Houston Street, my heart was in my mouth. I came armed with my trusty Nikon to capture the scene, knowing that I would be unable to process my emotions in the moment.
As the apartment building came into view, that strange blankness I know so very well came upon me. I’ve learned that truly intense emotion shuts me down and that the processing can take days. (I’m feeling it now as I sort through the pics I took. And coincidentally, Paul Dempsey is singing Ashes to Ashes on my player right now).
I’d seen the news reports of the spontaneous shrine that had appeared outside the building the day following the announcement of his passing and was curious to see what remained of that heartfelt tribute.
It was all still there, though, I guess that the stricken fans had stopped coming these many months later because all that remained were the dried husks of faded flowers, grief scrawled in black marker, and a spray painted message ‘lets dance’. It all looked a little sad and why wouldn’t it?
New York has yet to organize a suitable monument to the eccentric genius from across the pond who made that city his home. I assume that we will one day have a site like Lennon’s Strawberry Fields at which to contemplate our deep sense of loss but, for the moment at least, this slowly deteriorating shrine on Lafayette Street will have to do.
It looks just exactly as sad as we, his grateful acolytes, feel when we listen to that last brilliantly courageous album.
After spending some time with the messages of those lost at sea, I wandered around the neighbourhood my stolen idol called home.
Behind the building is a small and ancient looking cemetery by a church. It seemed strangely appropriate to come upon it in that moment.
The rest of the surrounding area is as eclectic and edgy as you would expect of a place Bowie felt comfortable in.
Eventually I had to go, but there were many backward glances towards the place where genius lived for too short a time. It was hard to walk away, it felt like severing a cord in some fashion. I’m glad I could walk in his world for a few brief moments but am so full of sorrow that he is no longer in it.
It had all been a surreal* experience to be sure, but one I will be eternally grateful to have had.
*To add to the surreal nature of the day, on my way back down Lafayette Street I spied Brooke Shields in an outdoor cafe. We made eye contact and I fancied I saw a fleeting moment of panic as she spotted the camera around my neck. For some, the camera is as terrifying as the gun. Ah, the odd nature of fame.
All words and images used in this post are my own.