Radio Silence

Have you ever traveled to the middle of nowhere to see the stars at night? I have. There’s something about getting away from city lights and city noise and just being under the stars. I drove to Big Bend to see the stars this January and it’s amazing how much of a difference just a little light and noise can make considering your perspective includes billions of years. All the history in the universe hurling down upon you and a single, little cigarette can distort it.

Deep in the heart of Texas

This little light of mine. Some people love the camera. They need attention. Says the man posting about himself daily. During the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time talking about being a teacher, talking about being a soldier, and talking about not being able to talk.


Noise and light discipline. You don’t make a sound and you don’t use your light because if you do, the enemy could kill you. Simple. Any idiot knows that. You need to stay hidden.

Lights and stars. History.

I’ve just watched a documentary about sexual abuse. I didn’t watch it because I’m into sexual abuse. It was about Michael Jackson. It had been mentioned on social media.

Radio silence.

Why pull the music? That little light may mess up the view of the stars but they’re still there. Making that noise may get you killed, but you can still fight.

When you watched it or heard about it, what was your reaction? Did you think they’re after money? Tarnishing a good man’s name? Did you ask why they’re coming forward now?

Light travels fast, but darkness is constant.

Man, I’m at a loss for words. Imagine their story is true. They are attacking a legend’s legacy. They’re not only victims from a class of victims who usually don’t come forward, but they have the added pressure of coming forward against a dead man who was the most famous man on the planet when he lived.

Twitter told me he died. I was at grandmom’s. Back patio. Smoking. Tweets. Tweets. Twitter broke it before CNN. She trusts CNN.

It’s one thing to be a victim of childhood sexual abuse and not say anything and to hold secrets for decades, allowing them to drive wedges between you and the people you care about most in the world, feeling confused about what happened and why, casting blame upon yourself, and thinking the world would rake you over the coals if you shine a little light or make a little noise. It’s an entirely different thing when it’s the actual world doing it. He was an international superstar. This isn’t like uncomfortable Thanksgivings from now on.

I see people make fun of the movement. “You? You too? Oh. Ok. Yeah. Why now?”


That letter King wrote from a Birmingham jail was about justice and how long one had to wait for it. Forever? It was about noise and silence as well. Silence the ones making the noise. Agree with them? You stay silent too. Keep the secret, keep the peace. Michael was black. Accusers white. If that doesn’t make a historian pause.

It’s usually the ones you trust. That’s how they got access in the first place. Fears are not always unwarranted. Some people are suspect. We blame victims more often than I think history will tolerate, assuming we improve morally. Quiet an assumption, looking around.


The hardest part, I hope, for both of them was staying silent as the other accusers tried to lift their voices and be heard. Couldn’t support them. I wonder why.

What if I told you I’m gay? Purely hypothetical.

If they came forward, would they be gay? What’s worse than that in some circles? What about in my circles? I pretend I’m gay sometimes when I teach. I’m not. But I want students, particularly when they say something homophobic, to question their positions on things and not just accept them.

These boys probably struggled with protecting Michael, protecting mom, protecting dad, and most definitely with protecting themselves.

If not those boys, look around you. There are others.

The laughter, though. This isn’t supposed to be talked about. Suck it up and drive on. The worst thing is when they’re like, “It happens to everybody.” That’s the problem. That. No wonder #metoo went viral. They weren’t inventing victims; victims were making noises and shining lights.

I was stationed in El Paso. I was a soldier who talked a lot. On a patio with a boss, I smoked. She handed me a book. It was the strangest thing ever.

Strange things

One of the men, I can’t remember who but I think it was Wade, said having a baby flooded him with emotions and the need to talk. Damn.

Radio silence.

Do you think these posts about being vulnerable, facing fears, not apologizing, and being authentic were so I could say something sophomoric about nutrition? Share feel good stories only? Sanitize the whole thing? Life is beautiful, but there’s a whole lot of ugly. I have lived the ugly and I’m trying to find beauty. It’s not easy.

This is just a reflection on a two-part documentary about a pop icon who had close relationships with pre-teen children while he was in his thirties. Relationships we all witnessed. We didn’t see the abuse. We didn’t want to. Or, maybe it just didn’t happen.


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