The world has been lost. Gone into the unnamed void. We drink our coffee, put on our coats and go to work and sense that something is missing, aware something is no longer there. We have changed. We have forgotten who we are. Or maybe this is just the beginning of becoming, the transformation of the becoming of something new. Find the words unspoken. Find the voice that tells a new story for a new history as yet unwritten. This is your real job. To create that which has not yet been created.

We Can Be Heroes… R.M. Engelhardt On David Bowie From Albany Poets

We Can Be Heroes …

It’s another Monday morning. I shower, drink my coffee and get dressed for work. In the background my wife is playing classical music on the radio when suddenly from the kitchen I hear the words. “He’s dead” she says … He’s dead. With the lilt of her voice as knowing shock. I walk into the bedroom and hear the song, one of my all time favorites, Is There Life On Mars playing while the news anchor tells me that one of my heroes, one of my favorite rock stars David Bowie is dead at the age of 69 from cancer.

Like most people my first response is disbelief. How is this possible? Cancer? Ironically, I walk outside and have a smoke. Look on my phone to confirm the truth as if it was all a mistake.

But David Bowie is gone. He’s dead. The man who sold the world. The icon whose music reached me and that left a lasting effect on me musically and artistically as a writer and as a definition of my time and generation. His lyrics defined my teenage years as the quiet, somewhat quirky kid with glasses who stuck to himself. The kid who liked writing poems and song verses that no one knew of. That kid with the shaded lenses who wanted to secretly wanted to be  a rock star himself who instead wound up a poet. Sure, over the years as time went by there were other influences  (Bukowski, Morrison and even Rimbaud to name a few). But there was no one as creative or as talented or even as brave as Bowie who was never afraid of what other people thought or to take chances. To find new ways of expression or to change his style or appearance. Bowie was the man who made me believe that if you want to be whoever or whatever you want, to really be who you are that you can become it. His lyrics were poetry and reached me. Especially the song “Heroes”.

So thanks David. For the music, the words and the style. For being a part of my imagination and of course, for proving to us all that we can be heroes.

Tags:R.M. Engelhardt