Good Night, Sweet Prince

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I’d just been thinking about Prince, too.

Not two weeks before, a video of Prince singing “Starfish and Coffee” on the Muppet Show popped up on my Facebook feed. I don’t know why. It hadn’t been posted by anyone I know. It was really random, the posting of a friend of a “friend,” I suppose. But I stopped and watched it.

You should watch it now. Go ahead. Watch it. It’s kinda magical.

On Facebook, I wrote,’

I’d forgotten how much I love this song. And Prince. And Muppets.

Listening to the song made me think of a friend of mine, so I asked her if she’d turned me on to it way back in the day. She said,

Oh yea! This was one of my faves on that album.

And I said,

It is so good! Gives me goosebumps and tears. Thanks for sharing it with me way back when.

I love how everything is the song’s video is in black and white except for vivid, full-color Cynthia Rose. I love the line If you set your mind free, baby Maybe you’d understand. I love the part where Prince and the Cynthia Rose Muppet are dancing, and I loved how much fun Prince seemed to be having with the whole thing.

And then less than two weeks later, I talked to my Computer Guy on the phone before we went in to do our respective jobs. We were just shooting the shit, because neither of us knew yet.

Two hours later I went out to my van for my break and turned on my phone to check my messages. Nolagirl and I texted our usual good mornings, then she wrote to me,

FYI Prince died. 57 years old.

I wrote back,

WHAT??????? How? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck. That is fucking tragic. Goodbye my youth.

I was just watching the Muppet Show video the other day and remembering how brilliant he was.

Part of me is not sure I should even be mourning. It’s not as if I listened to Prince’s music all the time or bought any of his albums since the last century or even had any idea what the man was up to, musically or otherwise. But honestly, I felt like there was suddenly an emptiness in my heart.

I went to the grand opening of a 10,000 square foot international grocery store with a friend. It was a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed. The soundtrack? A tribute to Prince. On a loop. It kept playing over and over again. We heard it four times before we got out of there.

The shocking part was when “Darling Nikki” was pumped out over the noise of a couple hundred people shopping. I gasped, honestly shocked. You remember “Darling Nikki,” right?

I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine

Let me tell you, circa 1984 when a girl name Desiree told me about the song while we stood in the junior high lunch line, I NEVER thought I would hear that song in public, much less in a supermarket crowded with Asian people of all ages. I was glad I was not on drugs because then I’d have to spend the rest of my life wondering if it had really happened. But yeah, it really happened. Prince was dead, and I was hearing “Darling Nikki” played in a supermarket.

(Side note: For years, I thought the magazine was the actual instrument of masturbation. Only embarrassingly recently did it occur to me that Nikki was simply looking at the magazine while masturbating, only using it as visual stimulation.)

I just kept getting sadder and sadder.

Of course, as I believe is often (usually) the case with death, it wasn’t Prince I was feeling sorry for as much as I was feeling sorry for myself. I believe wherever Prince is, he’s feeling no pain. I’m not sure if he’s in Heaven, although Prince in Heaven does lead to some delicious scenarios.

Prince in Heaven scenario #1: Prince and Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia are jamming for eternity and they never get tired, and they never get sad, and they never even have to stop the music to do drugs because who needs drugs anymore because they’re in Heaven and Dude, the MUSIC!

Prince in Heaven scenario #2: My grandmother who was a racist on earth is now up in Heaven listening to Prince and Michael Jackson and Ray Charles and Whitney Houston and Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye sing to her, and she is digging it.

But I digress.

I feel like losing Prince is really the loss of my youth.

I didn’t feel that way when Michael Jackson died, although his death was a shock too. I never felt as if Micheal Jackson belonged to me. My parents liked Micheal Jackson, for Christ’s sake. They bought the Thriller LP. It sat in the stereo case with the Jan and Dean record given to my mom by an old suitor, the Footloose soundtrack, and my dad’s Cajun music records.

When I was in junior high and on into high school, Prince was dirty and sexual and naughty and exciting and everything my stupid, boring life in a small Southern town was not. And he had great clothes. All that velvet. All that lace.

Prince was hope, to this small town Southern girl who didn’t fit in, who was never going to fit in. Prince was hope that there was a big world out there with parties and fun, a world where it was ok if I was weird, a world where sex wasn’t terrifying, but fun.

And now he’s gone, and so is my hope.

I’m right in the middle of my middle age, fat and unattractive, and it’s all downhill from here.

I should have drunk more beer and taken more drugs and fucked more while I could, because it’s all downhill from here. Prince is gone, and I’m not getting any younger.

Is this how our mothers felt when Elvis died?

 

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

19 Responses »

  1. It’s not all down from here. The older you get the freer you are from society’s constraints. And sex? Lots of options, just be open! Much love, your 71 year old Auntie

    • Thanks, Auntie. It’s good to hear the perspectives of people older than I am. That’s why I like to have friends of a variety of ages.

  2. I think we all are rethinking and evaluating our lives especially as we get older….hopefully we come up with a plan that will make our lives better. I see it in you, harder to see in ones self. When I go into a store, most often a thrift store, I think…what here would add to my life…even if it’s just a pot lid that fits…..now there are bigger issues….but they’re all sorta the same: how can I make my life more fulfilling or…..what do I need to get rid of……all that can keep us busy. Lately I’ve been saying not can you spare a few bucks but rather do you have a little extra time to spare…….right there with you……..

  3. I think I may understand your sense of lost youth. I felt almost unbearable grief and an overpowering sense that I was no longer young/youthful the day John Lennon was murdered. It took me a very long time to sort that all out in my head and heart. I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ford.

      Oh yes, John Lennon. I’m sure his death was so difficult for so many. What terrible circumstances for him to die under. And to have it happen in 1980. His death really must have been the end of an era.What an example of the loss of innocence and hope.

      I’m sorry for your loss too. It’s difficult to say good-bye to our heroes, even if we only knew them from a distance.

      The good thing about our modern age is that we have both audio and video recordings to comfort us.

    • Ford, I had just moved to San Francisco and then three remarkably awful things occurred – The Mayor and councilman Harvey Milk were shot while I was in the library across the street, Lennon was killed and Reagan was elected – though I cannot remember in what order these all occurred, i was convinced the world was ending. And in a way, it did. Yet the world is ever young, she renews herself in all of us, and in the smallest of ways. Hope is not just for fools, it is the seed of faith, and faith grows redwoods! Look with joy at the gifts given and received by John Lennon. What mighty trees have grown in the wake of his existence, however cut short.

      • Ruth, you express yourself in such a poignant, simple and elegant voice. I hope you are writing in some fashion.. Fiction, poetry, nonfiction, magizine articles, self-help etc.
        The world would like your words. If you are not writing, please begin a journal if nothing else. You have a gift and one should never ever ignore a gift.

        • thank you, Ford! I am constantly harassed by a cast of uppity fictional characters that all want their stories told! I write all the time but have a hard time taking my own self seriously. I appreciate your encouragement very much.

  4. In answer to your last question: I remember the day Elvis died, my mother was devastated. Said that now she was an old woman.

  5. It is so interesting how things PING us sometimes and we realize we are aging, mortal, and that we too, shall pass. Regret is normal, sadness too. But they are milestones in a journey that begins and seems to end yet I feel continues beyond this mortal coil. I am given hope by art, by children, by the occasional surge of estrogen despite menopause having come and gone and the remembrance of wild nights with darling menfolk, singing in clubs in blue light, giving birth, then so glad these are past and in a catalog of memories. Look FORWARD, dear darling, TOMORROW is a wonder yet to be discovered. You will be okay, said the old lady in the shoe with too many cats and bills and art to do.TOMORROW, the gracious song that plays, even as Prince touches us all from the beyond. HUGS!

    • Ruth, thank you for these beautiful, beautiful words. I appreciate so much what you are saying here. I’ve probably read this comment six times, and every time I just want to cry and cry…but in a good way. You have really helped me today.

      • I have wept so many tears over things that could not be changed or controlled. What helps me deal with frustration and the evil I see in the world is to continue to create, to love and to delight in beauty. These are the medicines I take daily. You are out in the wide world, a gift to each soul you meet. Bare your soul in art, bear your heart as best you can in compassionate regard, and DARE to believe. YOU will be okay, I know it in my bones. HUGS!

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