Formerly & 4-Ever

The artist
who really knew how to ball
slammed his last dunk
posthumously orchestrating
an exultant wave
of humanity
slanging it all skyward
looney-tunes constellations
raining his name earthward
while we
continue marveling
on the free throw line
at the exquisite contradiction
our petite giant
of arrogant humility
bestowed upon us
with purpose and accidentally
stumbling it all back home

Sharing in the Imaginary Garden today.


  1. Those oxymorons are so on point. The one thing that consoles me is that he went in midstream, so to speak, planning his autobiography, ordering a purple piano, appearing at concerts... no plan to slow down, no inkling of the fate that was to befall him, no lingering death.

  2. Love the way you brought in the paradoxes. And he did play basketball ... even at his height.

  3. My stunning realization for today is that our most righteously controlling (not a bad thing) artist has apparently died without a will. Our artist who perhaps thought he might live forever may not have sought medical treatment which killed him. Very hard to reconcile without stepping far back and musing on his other-worldly human-ness.

  4. "petite giant" and "arrogant humility"--you captured his essence right there.

  5. I LOVE your descriptions here, Marian. Brilliant, really.

  6. I agree, this is absolutely stunning!

  7. Oh yes he was a person full of contradiction... I have only seen him playing once (and that was quite recently)... and he surprised us all by playing hard-rock... the first hour was more purple haze than rain.

  8. Such talent...He left us without warning. Perhaps that is best. "arrogant humility" Love that!

  9. This was wonderful - yes you captured the man of contradictions perfectly.

  10. Really good, this...thank you...


  11. Oh Marian, this is awesome!! He loved basketball. I loved him.

  12. a "petite giant / of arrogant humility". I really like that. I can see his face in those words... his small frame producing enormous music.

  13. Not contradiction so much as paradox, I think.

  14. Oh yeah. "Space Jam"-master flash, dirty doughboy, insolence insouciant .. all your contrasting appelatives suit the boy who would be king. I remember someone writing back in the '80s that Prince was like someone who absolutely believed life was a Penthouse letter, but really it turned out that instead of life it was music that so eroticized the frets. So much so that no will was required because Penthouse letters never end. Amen.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!