I have David Bowie to thank for the very first time I waxed philosophical on the penis. At 10 I remember his shimmering codpiece as if it took up 2/3s of the screen. And maybe it did. It's been years since I watched Labyrinth. But this morning I woke up hungry for his peach and nothing else will do. I especially want the worm inside. His was the first force to awaken the dreaming worm of weirdness beneath all my sweet curvatures and juice. The first to offer graffiti'd hints that my pit might be something much more tricky.
My sophomore year of college youtube was still a novelty. Once I found him seducing Mick Jagger into shaking his ass and pressing fiery foreheads together, I watched the "Dancing in the Street" video at least 300 times that winter. I forced all of my friends to watch it too. It kept us warm. It doesn't matter that in the 90's they both took their passions back in respective interviews. Evidence for their overwritten queerness still exists. I still love him. I already miss him through my lack of forgiveness. I would still go down on his ego. Gladly.
The first time I heard "Space Oddity" I almost cried and then the key change saved me from folding in like my mother was prone to. Confident jerking guitar pulls brought oxygen back to the chest cavity his solemn space opera had thrust into vacuum. After that I never again remembered how to breathe normally. My lungs knew from then on, the dazzling strangeness of his universe.
This morning I full-on sobbed before his hope came in to save me. (My mother would be proud).
"Tell my wife I love her very much."
"It's time to leave the capsule if you dare."
He dared and dared and dared. Without him I'd never have understood how to accomplish the necessary risk of leaving my capsule.
He, mystical glittery beast, unweaving himself each musical season, and saying "Yes" to every possible version of himself – He, sex on two milky-thin matchsticks, shattered the panicky distance between us and alien. He put a shine on the things my adolescence feared touching: Sex, Loss, & Otherness. In many ways I see his career as a 50-year long public adolescence. Now that he's gone the way only his space ship knows to go; now that his bright flare of earthly puberty has ended, and the rest of humanity remains, I fear we'll find ourselves far too grown up. So let's remember his hair throwing (caution to the wind) and tenor-into-baritone trajectory as we recall our very first tweenage desires, with ache and a sharp-but-tender recklessness.