Put On Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

I woke up this morning, like so many people, to the horrifying news that David Bowie had died.

My alarm clock is also an internet radio, and so when it goes off every morning, the radio goes off with it. Since the alarm is programmed to my local public news station, I wake up to something horrifying more mornings than not — as if the act of being awakened by an alarm wasn’t bad enough. But I digress.

I think I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that he’d had cancer, but it had never occurred to me that he wouldn’t be alive forever, in the same way it doesn’t occur to me that my husband’s ancient healthy cat won’t be alive forever. I know there’s a flaw in the logic, but I don’t feel it.

Today I’m feeling everything. Too much. And because I cannot express it half as well as my friend Paula Billups did on her blog today, I’m just going to share her post here with you (with her permission, of course). Click on the photo of the man to read the entire piece. It is well worth the five to ten minutes of your time it will take to do so.

 

Featured Poet: Paula Billups

You know how some weeks the news cycle is just so wretched you stop listening for a while? Me too. Here’s to a better next week.

 

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Page From a Modern Foxhole

 

Not that it keeps me lying awake, but are we laughing yet?
And what if there’s just that
unexpected way of laughing we used to have, before
so much went wrong and life roared up lashing its tail
ready to eat our happiness, our joy?
No, it’s all right – the world was always in the midst of
screaming off the rails, that’s not new,
But now we occupy a higher tower, we have to choose.
We have to tend to our own wounded day by day
And one of the things to do is to touch and smile
Just let someone see our eyes.
Isn’t it something when someone says “It’s okay”
And it isn’t and you know it’s just because they wish it?
Don’t you love them for that frail reed they offer you to hold?
Then wish it
Drop your coin into the mouth of the mask of the cipher,
the only armor ever devised for the child-sage —
behind it are these eyes without spite or pain
Peering through the mask prepared to speak this —
It’s okay
or nothing at all just as you like.

 

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Paula Billups is an artist living and working between Boston and Berlin. She has most recently exhibited Berlin and Quedlinburg in Germany and at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, where she collaborated with the poet Agnes Marton.

Ms. Billups has won top creative writing awards from the University of Texas and Texas Tech University. She holds an MFA in Creative Practice from the Transart Institute in Berlin, a BFA in Painting from the Lyme Academy in Connecticut, and a BA in English from UT Austin.

To learn more, visit her website at www.paulabillups.com (art) and tumblr at paulabillups.tumblr.com (poetry).