Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmastime - Poem from "Reflections in The Midst of Time"


My heart is filled with joy
At the most wonderful time of the year.

Jingle bells and snow covered trees
With lights flickering
And stars shining bight.

Its Christmastime once again.

All the world is waiting to hear
The sound of music filling their ears.

Carolers going through each city,
Singing songs of cheer,
Of peace on earth,
Good will toward men.

Its Christmastime once again.

Children laughing,
Their eyes are full of wonder.
Toys and presents.
Love and comfort.

This is the time between a Day of Thanks
And the beginning of a New Year.

This is the time above our yesterdays
And bitter sorrows.

This is a time to reflect
On those memories that beckon our embrace.

Christmastime once before.

Not too far from here
And ever-present still.

Hold on to the warmth
Of each song you hear,
The subtle touch of peace
The season will bring.

Christmastime is here for you.

To turn your heart toward home
In a place where dreams
Are waiting to come true.

From time
And time again,

Within my heart,
I say to everyone:
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a goodnight.


©2009 Torrence King

Friday, December 4, 2009

Poem: Insomnia


In the middle
Of the night,
My eyes
Both red
and dry,
Are afraid to close.

Afraid to forget you.

You lay there
Dreaming of a better way.

Without me?


With all we been through?

For sure.

Don't put me back.
Don't let me go.

I am awake.
Wide awake.

Don't you understand?

I'm not sleeping.

I don't want to dream of another,
I only want

Always here.
Always by my side.

I am forever scared to lose you.

For this,
And all that is yet to come,
My eyes
may never close.


©2009 Torrence King. All Rights Reserved.


To view and order The Kiss of Life – Go to:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009



There is nothing more
Than time standing still.

Time to keep
And just about to run.

Out on the life I know,
The journey yields an end result.

Equaled measurements that play to the sum of my fear.

Boxed inside this shell,
I lost the last one left.

Hold on to that last hope
Sealed with the first kiss.

How sweet it is,
To taste it,
To feel it.

Nobody does it better.

How do you do it?

It's all amazing but I best be going.

Too late to turn around,
Too much to move straight forward.

Love this grand
Can stand the rain
And the pain
Of the one who hurts.

Time to keep
And just about to run.

It should be me by your side.

Way too late.
Way too late.

This is not how I feel.

©2005 Torrence King. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poem: Catch Me If I Can't Catch You

Catch Me If I Can't Catch You

Catch me,
If I can’t
Catch you.

If by some reason
I am a part of your world.

Parts and pieces.
Its and bits.
Bit by bit.

I can lose it all.

Images, displays
And optional photographs.

Bit by bit,
Stick and hit.

You bring discussions
And details
To expand holy lands.


Enlightened verses
Saver light.

Custom printed passages
Show links and lies.

Bit by bit
You find a dream.

I will find insight.


©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved. From the poetry-art collection “The Kiss of Life”


To view and order The Kiss of Life – Go to:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Playlist: Classical and Soundtrack Music

I have recently searched through all my compilations of both Classical and Soundtrack music to try and create a set of songs that would set a creative and reflective mood; a mood to draw and write and basically get projects done. A person can only work so long and be focused while listening to Interpol, Jay-Z, DJ Tiesto, The Beatles, New Order and other sonic movements.

Sometimes you need to step back, relax and let your mind be inspired.

I specifically set the sequence to match a flow to the music.


1. Vespertilio from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton
2. Eptesicus from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton
3. Myotis from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton
4. Pavane For A Dead Princess (Ravel) (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A
Time of
Healing - performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic)
5. Sheep May Safely Graze – Bach (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A Time
Healing - performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic)
6. Symphony No 2 Movement III – Rachmaninoff (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial
Service: A
Time of Healing - performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic)
7. Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 – Bach – (Vienna Series – Philharmonia
Slavonia, Ltg. / Karel
Brazda, Conductor)
8. Fur Elise – Beethoven
9. Prelude OP 28/15 in D Flat Major – Chopin
10. Schindler's List (Movie Theme) – John Williams
11. The Untouchables (Movie Theme) – The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone
12. Four Friends - The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone
13. Victorious - The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone
14. Main Title from The Notebook Soundtrack – Aaron Zigman, composer with The
Hollywood Studio
15. Macrotus from Batman Begins Soundtrack from “Batman Begins”
composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

Track List/Commentary:

1. Vespertilio from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack – composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard - This is what I call the “The Flashback”. Since most of the title tracks of the “Batman Begins” Soundtrack are names of the Bat family of species, I wanted to identify these titles with subject/scenes of the actual movie. This song reflects on the origin of Batman but it, as music, is very inspiring. Sets the tone for both being goal centered and the rest of the music selected.

2. Eptesicus from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (Reflections of Thomas and Martha Wayne, the Parents of Bruce Wayne/Batman)

3. Myotis from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack - composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (The Destruction of The Monastery)

4. Pavane For A Dead Princess (Ravel) (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A Time of Healing – performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic) – This music as well as tracks 5 and 6 are taken from the Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A Time of Healing CD which was a tribute to those lost in the Oklahoma City Bombing. I remember listening to this CD years ago and its impact on me has been inspiring. It would have to be, besides Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, my favorite set of Classical music.

5. Sheep May Safely Graze – Bach (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A Time of Healing - performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic)

6. Symphony No 2 Movement III – Rachmaninoff (Music from The Oklahoma City Memorial Service: A Time of Healing - performed by The Oklahoma City Philharmonic)

7. Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 – Bach – (Vienna Series – Philharmonia Slavonia, Ltg. / Karel Brazda, Conductor) This music from Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos is an inspiration and great motivator. The strings on this one speak in volumes.

8. Fur Elise – Beethoven – Probably one of the most recognized pieces of music from

9. Prelude OP 28/15 in D Flat Major – Chopin

10. Schindler's List (Movie Theme) – John Williams – The violin played to sober tones in reflections of a time where suffering abound and hope was all that was left. This song inspires and saddens me. I reflect on those who have suffered (Jews, slaves, Native Americans, etc.) but remember that the gifts that are bestowed upon us all

11. The Untouchables (Movie Theme) – The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone – This is one of my favorite movie themes of all time. Maybe because I’ve watched the Untouchables more times than I can remember or maybe because it reminds me of both the “Never give up…” line from Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) told to Al Capone (Robert DeNiro) and the scene of “The Untouchables”, together as a team, raiding the illegal liquor sections in downtown Chicago…yep, the good 'ol days!

12. Four Friends - The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone

13. Victorious The Untouchables Soundtrack - Ennio Morricone

14. Main Title from The Notebook Soundtrack – Aaron Zigman, composer with The Hollywood Studio Symphony - A very reflective piece of music.

15. Macrotus from Batman Begins Soundtrack (The Transformation) from “Batman Begins” Soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard – This song serves as a “book end” to the music that starts this set.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

La Tristesse Durera (The Sadness Will Never Go Away) - From "Dead Artists Symmetry" Poetry-Art Collection

La Tristesse Durera (The Sadness Will Never Go Away)

The sadness never ends.
For this is permanent.
It will be here
Whether I go
Or whether I stay.

“Who will weep for me?”

Too much to wait for
Too much
To see.
Kiss me goodbye
As I claw the sky
Like a falling bird.
My heart slowly ticks
With resentment.

I can see
The starry night
And feel
The cold air.

“How long can I howl into this wind?”

She is crying now.
What is she doing here?

“Oh, I miss your kiss of treachery,
Those tasteful words of vanity.”

The need to linger
Is sailing away.
Pulse and spirit
Is ending
In steps 3, 2, 1

Running out of time.
Closing down.
Down to the end.


Add this to your calendar,
Subtract this from my eulogy.
Everything changes
But this sadness never ends.



“Now I understand what you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/And how you tried to set them free/They would not listen/They did not know how/Perhaps they’ll listen now.”
-“ Vincent”, Don McLean


©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved.


from the poetry-art book: Dead Artists Symmetry - Available Now

To view and order go to:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poem: Lakeshore Sunrise


It is the wee small hours of the morning
The last taste of darkness.

As a fresh brew of day dawns ahead,
The stars stare down and flicker.

One more reminder of heaven’s grace.

I am drawn here
Because of the romance of nature.

I am looking out to the clearing sky
Because I remember you.

She’s rising,
That bright star of warmth eternal.

She’s shining,
Like a golden orb of sweet comfort.

Wrapped around me
Are these thoughts of us.
Sitting here,
Holding each other,
Questioning the lives we’ve been granted.

I guess,
I wanted this time to last forever
But as the lake shimmers
With the sun’s reflection,
I see the ripple effects of our memories.

I can see us there.

How beautiful you are to me
In my mind’s last gleaming

With the glow of time slowly approaching,
I refuse to feel left alone.

For once, we did cross over these entanglements.

Our hearts heavy with burdens,
Longing to breathe
With a sigh of relief.

And now, the light breaks forth
And I gather my thoughts,
Knowing that I may never hold you again
To watch a new day unfold.

Upon the earth,
I take my leave,
Once last time.

Maybe to return
To the place
Where two star-crossed lovers
Found each other
And lost their love
Along the way.


©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved. From the poetry-art collection “The Kiss of Life”


To view and order The Kiss of Life – Go to:

Poem: A Desired Destination

A Desired Destination

Driving toward another destination.
Far from where we were meant to be.

The sun is shining
And there’s no rescue here.

You said that there was another
And for this I am grateful.

Thank you.

Makes me wonder
How long it would take before that ball would finally drop.

The sun is shining.
Clouds everywhere.
Driving round and round.
A circle of quiet.

I want to give out.
I want to give in.

Going over a cliff.
Caught in a tailspin.

I told you that I care about you but that wasn’t enough.
I told you that I will do what it takes to make you happy.
But you refused to believe.

Did I do something wrong?
Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?

A one-way street,
Backwards and stalled.

Life has not granted me immunity
From the pain I feel everyday.

Love has taken me through loops
And bound me to the fate I can never escape.

For now, I laugh at this mystery.

Uncovered by time.
Recovered by hate.

If there was any point in my life,
Any point at all,
Where I could find love and not lose faith,
That time has deserted me.

That place,
A Long time ago.

And now,
I am alone.
Pass the point,
Where we were meant to be.


©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved. From the poetry-art collection “The Kiss of Life”

To view and order The Kiss of Life – Go to:

Poem: Mysterious Ways


When I asked you to come,
One thing led to another.

When I saw fit to be tied,
Somehow the band broke easily.

But you held on with your mysterious ways.

Chasing misty notions,
Choosing the most important matters.

And I felt it,
The emphasis on the call of duty.

I hate to be hated,
Love to be lost.

And you deliver your mysterious ways.

Translating the lost words
Into a force of ability.

Truly amazing,
Simply fabulous,
And not too shy to say what is meant.

Don't hesitate to compare me, explain what I am
And squeeze the lies from these shadows.

This move in mysterious ways
Is yours only, no argument why.

Too warped as flesh to comprehend,
Too scarred by sense to see it end.

A part of me wants to know everything,
Another part wants to close every door.

Separate me from this universe
And push the buttons that tear these clouds apart.

Mysterious ways are wrapped around your finger.

I sit down to imagine my life without you,
How your love could say no more.

"I'd rather have you with me
Than riches untold."

For without your ways to change me
I am no longer whole.


©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved. From the poetry-art collection “The Kiss of Life”


To view and order The Kiss of Life – go to:

ONE THING LEADS TO….The Hindenburg Disaster??

After the hoopla over the balloon boy incident, a friend of mine and I were talking about the Seinfeld episode when Newman said “The humanity…!” which led to our conversation about the Hindenburg Disaster and the reporter saying “The humanity…!” and wouldn’t ya know it?? Cable channel Encore had the “Hindenburg” movie on last Saturday with George C. Scott and a cast of…..well, a lot of people that were famous then….

Here’s the Wikipedia article about the doomed flight. I was under the impression that most of the passengers died but after watching the movie and reading this article, most of the passengers got out of that fiery deathtrap very quickly…amazing!!

The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday 6 May 1937 as the LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within one minute while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died in addition to one fatality on the ground. The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of theories have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire.

To read more go to:


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Satellites & Exits: Poetry and Art Collection

An updated edition of the premiere publication, Satellites & Exits: Volume 1: a poetry and art collection by artist/writer, Torrence King is available now to order.

ONLY: $4.99

The updated edition of the premiere publication, Satellites & Exits by Torrence King makes its debut, celebrating over 10 years since its first release.

"This was my first poetry and art collection published back in 1996. Its contents still resonates with readers, including myself."

King explains "I gathered my thoughts and put them in these metaphors and messages. Through the time of its writing, I learned from and was inspired by the best poets and thinkers and hope that this new edition of Satellites & Exits continues to make an impact over a decade later."

Satellites & Exits (Poetry and Art Collection) - Table of Contents

- Introduction

1. Eternity Invites A Universe
2. Weight Your Turn
3. Mirage of Desire
4. The Knowledge of Good and Evil
5. Sentimental Value
6. The Roadless Travels
7. Happy Yellow
8. The Meaning of Life, The Secret of Time, The Fear of Death
9. The Winds of Change
10. The Rearview-Mirror Dimension
11. And, Fade Away
12. Moonless Words
13. Stateless
14. The Autumn Leaves Violet Stole
15. Verses Vs. Me
16. Psychedelic Superangel
17. Half-Full Heart, Half-Empty Mind
18. Ache Gently Tea
19. Never, Never Land
20. I Buried My Heart At Wounded Knee


Any questions contact by email:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

“Life, Love and Other Mysteries” – Poem and Thoughts

Life, Love & Other Mysteries


Driving toward another destination.
Far from where we were meant to be.

The sun is shining
And there’s no rescue here.

You said that there was another
And for this I am grateful.

Thank you.

Makes me wonder
How long it would take before that ball would finally drop.

The sun is shining.
Clouds everywhere.

Driving round and round.
A circle of quiet.

I want to give out.
I want to give in.

Going over a cliff.
Caught in a tailspin.

I told you that I care about you but that wasn’t enough.
I told you that I will do what it takes to make you happy.
But you refused to believe.

Did I do something wrong?
Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?

A one-way street,
Backwards and stalled.

Life has not granted me immunity
From the pain I feel everyday.

Love has taken me through loops
And bound me to the fate I can never escape.

For now, I laugh at this mystery.

Uncovered by time.
Recovered by hate.

If there was any point in my life,
Any point at all,
Where I could find love and lot lose faith,
That time has deserted me.

That place,
A Long time ago.

And now,
I am alone.


Pass the point,
Where we were meant to be.

©2009 Torrence King. All rights reserved.

This poem was written from a personal perspective. Some of which was taken from moments in my life.

It seems as though that moment occurs quite frequently.

I have come to terms with the ups and downs in my life. Particularly, in the realm of relationships. Whether its friendships, family, love life or whatever interactions we humans engage in, I’ve had to accept some things in every department of it.

My father abandoned my sister and me when I was 6. I had only seen him maybe 5-6 times periodically throughout the years after. I had to come to terms with the fact he would never be the father I had great hopes he would be to me. I had to forgive him, I had to move on. When he died, I was not bitter toward him. I felt bad that he didn’t get to know me as well as he should.

My older half-brother had a lot of issues in his life and he just could not come to terms with things before he died. There were very few times he tried to be a brother to me but fell back into patterns of dislike and resentment brought on by various factors. I had to come to terms with the fact that we would never be close. When he died, I remained strong for my mother and did all I could to make things go smoothly at the funeral and burial.

From my father, I received the gift of reading, writing, confidence in speaking to the large masses and charm. For this I am grateful. His lack of fatherly guidance made me seek out the mentoring from the lives of artists, writers and poets like C. S. Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. and try to be the best father I can be to my daughter. It also made me want to be an artist and writer.

From my brother, in one brief moment when I was 12, he passed on to me ideas for writing stories and characters that are still a part of my portfolio and resume today.

A person must come to some terms with things in their life, when you try and try and it just doesn’t work out. To keep from being totally frustrated, you take a deep breath and you try to understand and you cope. You make amends. You endure.

When I wrote this poem it was in response to occurrences in my life.

Well, for years now, it would seem that every time I would meet someone, everything would be going good, nothing really to complain about and then….BAM! I get a call, note, etc. Saying that an old flame or ex or whatever was back in the picture….and suddenly I’m out in the cold wind shivering…

My favorite story (and I got lots of them…not just from me but other guys given the ol’ kick in the pants) is when I was just starting to go out with a girl whose ex-boyfriend had dumped her (and he was a real piece of work!)…

So, we went out on a few dates….nothing major really.

On Valentine’s Day, we were to go out, downtown Chicago and have a good time. I come over to her house dressed up and looking good. Feeling good too. She’s dressed up but she’s got something to tell me. She began to tell me that the jerk came over the night before and confessed his love and that he couldn’t live without her and would she take him back. So, she said she would. She also said she would still go out downtown with me but she just wanted to let me know. Well, me, back then, I was so hurt that I didn’t know how to handle it. I just said that it was ok and that I would leave.

I remember driving back home and how nice that Valentine’s Day was. It was a Sunday, I believe and it wasn’t too bad. Sun was out, not too cold for a February in the Midwest.

I kept thinking how beautiful the day was and how crappy I felt.

I found out later that the ex got word that she was dating a guy and went into “Not on my watch!” and came over because he couldn’t stand her being with someone else.

And so goes my life.

As this incident has occurred, others have been even more interesting.

The bottom line is that I’ve tried to follow the road most traveled and have come to terms with it all.

I actual laugh when it happens. I’m so use to it now that it’s funny to me. If it doesn’t happen, then I begin to wonder what’s wrong.

A twisted perspective, I know, but its my life. Someone else may tell stories that are different, but this is mine and mine alone.

So I yield to the way it goes and move on….

Torrence King

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson (1958-2009) A Legend Remembered: Life, Death and The 80’s

On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died.

In 1983, I was a 9 year-old watching Michael Jackson capture lightning in a bottle and share it with the world on the Motown 25 TV Special.

Back then, I, or no one else for that matter, could have predicted his untimely death over 25 years later…or the frenzy it has been since he left us from this, sometimes, cruel world.

The following are just tidbits of thoughts, points made, memories and recollections of the man many idolized and wanted to duplicate in dance moves and talent.

Michael Jackson: The Artist

As an artist, I have always appreciated Michael’s hard work and diligence. I appreciated his quest for perfection. I appreciated and admired, his dedication to his craft.

It takes becoming an artist to yourself before becoming an artist to the masses…to the public…to others.

Michael was able to see past those who didn’t believe he could pull off a solo career, let alone, a massive selling album.

People, who can remember, and some who do not, must realize that Michael Jackson was under enormous pressure and written off as another child star from the 70’s along the likes of Donny Osmond and Shaun Cassidy. Not only that, he also had to face a very prejudice industry, particularly the Rock & Pop music companies, producers, artists and fans. Some of them were still mad and angry at Disco Music and The Bee Gees, Chic, Donna Summer and anyone else that produced dance music that continued to top charts, make money and regulate them to the back of the music store racks for over 2 years. The heads of MTV anyone?

Michael Jackson faced a lot of opposition. At any point, he could have given up. At any point, he could have said “The hell with this…I’m done!” But he did not. He used the opposition, the ridicule. All of it, as fuel to his artistic fire. And the rest is…..

It would be only fair to say that Michael Jackson was a talented genius despite the pain and suffering he endured.

Death of Celebrities, The Three Stooges & The Wisdom of Gertrude Boykin

As the Death of Michael Jackson send the media and news agencies into a fury, I believe one of my first memories of a celebrity to die would be Elvis Presley and John Wayne. I don’t know why, I was really young but I do remember the news being on TV. I knew Elvis was a singer and John Wayne was a cowboy in movies. But, other than that, I really didn’t understand what death really meant.

I remember going to the funeral of my grandfather but I just wanted to go home. I didn’t know him that well, so no real connection was ever made between us.

It wasn’t until a few years later, I was about 7, while I was watching The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals reruns on TV, did I ask my cousin “Do you know where the Three Stooges and Little Rascals live? In a house like us?” He told me they were all dead. “Dead?” I said. He said, “They were dead and they weren’t around anymore.”….I started to cry….I didn’t understand.

 These shows, the people on them made me laugh. I couldn’t wait to see them on TV. And they’re dead? Then it dawned on me….Am I going to die? My mom, dad, everyone I know? Not around anymore? At which point, I really started to cry….

My grandmother, Gertrude Boykin, the family matriarch and mother of 14 children, pulled me to the side and told me to stop crying….that everybody has to die. I said “But Why?” She told me “That it’s just the way it is.” Then, she took my hand and told me something I will never repeat…something she saw in the palm of my right hand….A wisdom about life and death….

My “granny” Gertrude was born in Louisiana in 1908, a child of mixed race, Black mother and White father….she was so light skinned that she was hidden from the White people in the area, on the count that some might not take “too kindly” to a half-black, half-white girl living in their neighborhood….But the things she learned along her journey in life, the stories she told us and everything that was a part of her was a sum of the words she spoke that day….

Motown 25, Thriller & The American Music Awards….

It was 1983. I was 9 at the time the Motown 25th Anniversary Special was to air and my family was excited….then the Jackson 5 came on….then Michael Jackson went solo….and then….ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

The following school day, “Everybody and their momma was talkin’ ‘bout Michael Jackson!!” And so it was.

Even the bullies wanted to be like him….We all found a common interest…

The weeks that followed were crazy…the radio wouldn’t stop playing his music…videos on TV….

The guy next door was one of the first on our block to have a VCR. We kids around there thought that was the “Wave of The Future”…His son would come out to play with us and we all would sneak and look through his window and we watched him rewind the Michael Jackson dance from the Motown Special….over and over again….That Was The S***!!!

You can watch it over and over??? Damn…That’s cool!

That summer, when school was out…All I remember is waking up early to watch Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery, Woody Woodpecker, Flintstones, Bozo Show…eating cereal….and at 9am, Lost In Space…Then, at about the time of "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger", my neighbor would start his mornin’ routine….Time For The THRILLER album…The LP! ALL MORNING…OVER AND OVER…LOUD and BOOMIN’…BILLIE JEAN, BEAT IT, WHATEVER….

Because of him, and my brother, who had the cassette and combined with the radio stations and video shows playing it, I didn’t need to buy the Thriller album….it wasn’t until 2005 that I finally sat down and listened to it for myself. After listening to it, I called a friend and said…”Hey, I just listened to Thriller…Its pretty good…I hope Michael Jackson does good with it.” My friend just said, “You’re Stupid.” And we both laughed…..

The American Music Awards broadcast is 1984 was also exciting because it was Michael Jackson’s night.

And the following school day, that’s all we talked about…..

I remember a group of friends from school going to a classmates’ house back then…he was a Michael Jackson fan and he wanted us to come to his family’s house. His father was very well-known and owned a few stores in the area, with video game machines, like Pac-Man and Pole Position, and selling candy and snacks. So, of course, he was loaded with money.

We go to his house, his mom was watching her “stories”. It was “All My Children” I believe…back then, it seems that everybody watched “All My Children”, especially African-Americans because of the “love” between the Jesse and Angie characters….I know this because my mom, sisters watched it during the summer and I had to wait until all soap operas were over before I could watch The Monkees, The Jackson 5 cartoons, Speed Racer, Banana Splits or whatever was on in the afternoon…Only 1 TV in the living room…To live in the 80’s….

But I digress….

So we go into this guy’s room and it was wall-to-wall Michael Jackson posters….YOU COULDN’T SEE THE PAINT ON THE WALL….ALL MICHAEL JACKSON….The jacket….A glove….The Doll….Everything….He and his entire family all had Jheri Curls!! Ah, again, The 80’s…..

It must have been nice for him.

As for me, I had my comic books, G.I. Joe toys, He-Man action figures…and heard Michael Jackson on the radio, saw his videos, and that was good enough for me….

His Skin Condition, The Burns, The Pain Inside….

When Michael transformed into something different than what he use to be, it was scary.

He said he had a medical condition, Vitiligo, that caused his skin to becoming lighter. A cousin of mine had this disease and it was very spotty in the areas it showed up.

I’m not sure but I believe Jackson may have had burns more severe than what was reported.

When Michael Jackson suffered burns from an accident during a Pepsi commercial, the whole world was watching…

He was never the same after that.

I believe that he suffered some sort of shock or trauma because of it. Or, maybe, there were visible scars, burns or pain that he did not want the world to know about that lead to possible addictions to medications, plastic surgery and other issues.

The world must understand that this man was the chief bread-winner for an entire family and extended family.

Is there any wonder that Thriller never had an official tour, rather, the Jackson brothers teamed-up with Michael for a “Victory” Tour is support of the album?? It was business as usual…

Michael couldn’t afford to lose at that point….In 1984, he was still on top.

I could only imagine the pressure he went through in his life. If people only understood or knew, I believe they would not have been so judgmental of every F******* thing he did.

But thus is the nature of the beast. Like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and others. When a person gets to the point of no return…no normal life to live….Isolated, under pressure to be the best every time and CAN have whatever their heart’s desire, it’s a lonely place to be….

Understand this, when you’re on top, jealousy and envy shall be your enemy…and there will be those who hate you because…well, you’re the best at what you do and some people just don't know how to dance…..

The Generation Gap and The Appreciation from Generation X

Most older people cannot understand this out-pouring of grief and celebration, because, most of their icons, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, James Brown, John Lennon, George Harrison, are gone and Michael Jackson inspired a new generation of music listeners.

Most younger people cannot understand it because they only know of Michael Jackson as being accused of Child Molestation, looking “weird”, etc. and their icons are Beyonce, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, etc.

But, anybody, in their 30’s now and slightly younger, will always remember the hysteria surrounding the music of Thriller and the moonwalk and dance moves of Michael Jackson. It was OUR time.

We are the ones who were inspired and entertained not only by Michael Jackson but Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and The News, Prince, The Police...All of them, and more, have left their mark on our lives.

I have come to notice that most of the younger generation, especially those born in the 80s have this hate or disdain for 80’s music anyway…The 90’s, The 80’s, The 70’s, Now, its all good to me!

Since, I can only speak from experience and an artistic viewpoint, the 80’s was a great time for music and art…it was fun…it was like a party all the time! Speaking of which, even Eddie Murphy and Don Johnson had hit songs!! This time for my generation, Generation X, cannot be duplicated and we can only find hints of it in our daily lives....sometimes.

Lisa Marie Presley and the Fight To Save Michael Jackson From It All

In recent days, Lisa Marie Presley has come out to say many things concerning her relationship with Jackson. And I believe her words to be true.

If you can imagine two people who had “not-so-normal” a childhood being together, these two would be it.

And Presley, as she has said, thought she could save him from himself. She thought of him as a friend first.

But, in most cases, and from personal experience, most people get lost in the destruction they try so desperately to fight against. They actually must pull away from people on a deep slide because they will bring down the person trying to help also.

Whatever happened between these two, I can understand Presley’s perspective on it all.

I truly believe Presley was one of the few people in Jackson’s life to help him face realities in his own life, to come to terms with whatever happened in his past and break away from the vultures that hindered him.

My Favorite Michael Jackson Songs

Here is my list of my favorite Michael Jackson songs that are probably being downloaded this moment:

Rock With You – One of the first Michael Jackson songs I heard especially in a family that was mostly church-goers. My older sister, a rebel in her own right, is one of earliest influences on me to whom I owe much of my diversity of music from. I remember her buying records and cassettes like The Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Teena Marie, Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen and others. Just sitting and listening to them. She would play “Rock Wit You” and hearing it now does bring back memories of that time.

I Want You Back, Got To Be There, The Love You Save, Dancing Machine and Never Can Say Goodbye – These songs from when Michael Jackson was in the Jackson 5 are truly for repeat listening. I came across most the Jackson 5 music from the cartoon since I wasn’t even born when they burst on the scene.

"Off The Wall", "Blame It on the Boogie" (The Jacksons), "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" (The Jacksons), "Can You Feel It" (The Jacksons) – JUST DANCE ALREADY!….If you listen to these songs and not get up and move, please, check your pulse…..

Say, Say, Say – Michael duets with Paul McCartney. I was a Beatles fan and this was the ultimate team-up. Like Spider-Man and Superman….Take your pick.

From Thriller: Beat It, Billie Jean, Thriller, Human Nature, PYT (Pretty Young Thing), Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin – All hits and who can ever forget the great videos….A MASTERPIECE!!

From Bad – Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana – Not sure what happened…Too much creative control?? Trying to be better than the massive Thriller?? It was a good album but Smooth Criminal stands out above them all.

From Dangerous – Jam, Remember The Time, Can’t Let Her Get Away, Who Is It, Gone Too Soon – I was going through my Michael Jackson CDs and totally forgot about “Can’t Let Her Get Away”…AWESOME SONG! That was one I listened to over and over…. And “Jam” with the video featuring Michael Jordan, Kriss-Kross and Heavy D….Classic! And the song “Who Is It”, I still have the cassette single for that….and “Gone Too Soon” is as fitting a farewell song as any.

From HIStory – You Are Not Alone – You can hear Michael singing with all honesty…as if he’s in a mirror, singing to himself….

From Invincible – You Rock My World – This, to me, has all the elements of everything that was the artistry of Michael Jackson with a little bit more soul thrown into the mix. I listen to this and can only imagine what more he could have done.

Well, this is it, my tribute to a legend….

Taking out some time to reflect on his life as well as memories of him throughout the years…Its going to be a long week ahead and his music is definitely going to be played, downloaded and heard throughout the world.

Thank you Michael for all your work of art and being an inspiration to us all…

Rest In Peace.



Monday, June 22, 2009

RE: Racism In The Comic Book World: Dwayne McDuffie and JLA #34 Preview

The following is a post by comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie from his Facebook:

Here’s a preview of my final issue of Justice League of America, featuring the JLA teaming with Icon and Hardware in battle with Starbreaker. Don’t miss the secret of how the Milestone heroes ended up in DC Comics’ continuity.

I also suggest you take a look at some of the comments from your fellow comic book fans. Every once in awhile, I’m reminded how racially backwards a portion of our audience is and how important it is to… You know what? I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“…how many blacks did McDuffie manage to sneak onto the team this time–five? (I bet DC editorial gave him the same order as Burger King in that lawsuit–to “lighten things up around here.”)”

“Why don’t they call this the “Minority League”? ”

“I don’t think anyone will support an original black “mainstream” character. I know I won’t.”"Couldn't they get Static, Black Lightning, or one of his daughters instead of Dr. Light on the cover of BET League of America? Ha!"

“Maybe they should establish a separate league for all the negro superheroes. I’m not saying kick them ALL off. One would be okay. (Doesn’t Hollywood have some kind of law that says every movie has to have at least one black in it?) I just think they’re going overboard with all this diversity stuff. I mean, how many comics do minorities read anyway?”

Dwayne again. Welcome to my world. You know, the one where race doesn’t matter…__________________________________________________________________

TO Dwayne: That is definitely not cool...Man, are we still living in the 50's?? I remember reading comics, DC, Marvel, independents, growing up in the 80s because they were cool to didn't matter to me what color the hero being featured...but obviously there are those who read them to see which "minority" is being thrown in the mix....WTF?? I bet there are some so-called comic book fans who don't want to admit that comics were developed by jewish artists and writers...that other minorities have continued to buy comics for years, despite what "statistics" say....That all races go to see the comic book movies put out by Hollywood.

I wonder if these racist comic book fans think that the millions of dollars The Dark Knight made came from an all White ol' Biff would say: think McFly, think!

To Everyone Else: This is just sickening. The great divide will happen someday. Until that happens, we had better learn to get along.

Comic books are truly meant to be our modern mythology, our method of conveying timeless truths, wisdom and justice in a way rarely experienced in our own world.

Me personally, I have faced racism from all ends of the spectrum. Racism in the church. Racism in the comic book world. Racism in Politics. Racism in the entertainment industry. Racism. Reverse Racism. Hate. Hate. Hate.

I've heard it all. From blacks, whites, Hispanics, etc. and I must say I can't stand it anymore. I'm tired of it all. All my life I have fought everyone, it seems, because people judged me for being either "like white" or "not black enough" or "too black for the job" and because I do not believe in judging others by the color of their skin or religious beliefs.

I have been known to leave the presence, even get up and leave a home, of those talking racist crap before I resort to popping them in the mouth. Violence doesn't solve anything but I will make sure to take a stand. In the end, of ALL our lives, all that hate won't matter.

We may take whatever feelings with have to the grave but, as we've seen over and over again, that it is the surrounding hate that stays with us.

If I am alone in this. If I do not have any friends both black or white because I'm standing up to fight against their be it. They were never my real friends to begin with...NO "friend" of mine would be filled with hate toward another human being....I may know of a person...doesn't make them a "friend".

Of course, we cannot control others but we can control and limit ourselves to being subjected to views we do not agree upon.

All these "Little Hitlers" will soon find out that in the really doesn't matter.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poetry: A Heritage Never To Be Forgot from "Carry Me Home: Poetry Inspired by the African-American Experience"


With this pen, I write.

With this mind, I dream.

Now, I can do this

With more than a feeling,

More than a sense

Of optimism.

This is a gift.

Presented in the past

By a host of enlightened voices

Who recorded the necessary notes

And told the tales everyone needed to hear.

They bought what time they had

To kill the giants.

They sold the forgotten parts

Of the night

To give the world

A taste of strong medicine.

Letters from Wright.

Metaphors from Hughes.

History from Haley.

Songs from Angelou.

It cannot be ignored.

Stronger than the weight of segregation.

Mightier than a sword.

Piercing all sides.

Creativity within

That ushered forth page after page.

Read between the lines,

Collect them into a volume.

I Hear the cry of the faithful departed.

There are some who would try

And put a lid on a treasure chest.

It's so easy to let it fall.

And me,

I am a part of it all.

From the fullness thereof

To the empty cup.

A heritage never too late to reflect.

(I am here).

A heritage never to be forgot.

(We are here).

Alive but many miles behind.


©2000 Torrence King. All Rights Reserved. From the poetry-art collection “Carry Me Home: Poetry Inspired By The African-American Experience”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The End of An Era: Chicago’s WNUA Gets The Ax – So Long Old Friend….

It’s a wonder how things change.

“Nothing stays the same” is the phrase I’ve heard so many times. We tend to get use to things day in and day out that we don’t realize how true it is.

The other day while driving, I turned on the radio and was trying to find some music to listen to because my CD wasn’t playing. (Keep in mind, I’m not a big radio listener like I use to be because everything is so segregated now and I guess I’m just getting old but they really don’t play what I like all the time. Its hard to find a station to just put on and let play. That’s why I’ll listen to my CDs or MP3s. Having that control works best especially with sitting at a desk for hours drawing or writing. I can listen to Classical, 70’s Soul, Grunge, Hip-Hop, 80’s synth-pop and anything I like all in one setting.)

Back to the driving and tuning in on the radio…

Trying to find something to listen to, I turned to what I thought would be my “old faithful”, WNUA 95.5FM, a smooth-jazz-soul-r&b station that I would play all the time. I tuned in and there was "something" on the station, an instrumental song but it was different. I just thought that, "Its WNUA. They play all type of music even Brazillian, classic Jazz, etc. No big deal". Then, the commercial came on….IT WAS IN SPANISH! I said “Whats this??” It took me a moment to gather my thoughts and recover from the shock and horror---then my daughter, who was in the car said “Its Spanish music, dad.”

I---I---was—it was like a bad dream. What happened? Did it move? I started to stare at the station making sure it was on FM. Check. 95.5? Check. What’s going on? I turned to WXRT 93.1, a classic-alternative rock station. Has the world come to an end? No---WXRT was there. Whew!

Then it dawned on me like a bolt of lightning striking the scarlet speedster known as the Flash-----CLEAR CHANNEL!!!!! (You got to say it like Captain Kirk yelled “Khan!”)

I was determined to find out what happened to my beloved station.

After getting home and having every memory of WNUA race through my head. The first time I listened to it back in the late 80’s. The Saturday night radio programs Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis which showcased the music of instrumentalists Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson and Miles Davis, as well as vocalists Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald. The radio program, The Sounds of Brazil. The Dave Koz specials. The on-air personalities, Rick O'Dell, Danae Alexander, Dave Koz, Bill Cochran, and Scott Adams. Dammit!

I went to the internet, which knows all, and low and behold it was true: The format changed on May 22, 2009. It is now an all Spanish station. THANK YOU CLEAR CHANNEL!

WNUA, was more than a smooth-jazz station to me. It was collection of the best and brightest in the world of smooth R&B, pop and more. It was one of the few stations in Chicago that still played the music of Sade, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Kenny G, Luther Vandross and others. It had programs set aside for different formats to appeal to the listener. The Legends of Jazz and The Sounds of Brazil is probably what I will miss most. It was music that set a different mood and to listen to historical tidbits about the songs was always really cool.

And, of course, Danae Alexander during the week-nights. Hmmmm, she definitely had the voice to fit that timeslot…

I’m going to miss that station. Dammit!

22 years it was on the air and it introduced me to many artists and their music and kept me going through those long hours of drawing and writing.

After thinking about all the radio stations that I've listened to throughout the years like Q101, WXRT, The Lite, Classical stations, B96, WGCI, The Mix, Jack FM, V103, Gospel stations, US99, The Drive, The Loop, WMBI among others, I would have to say that I probably listened to WNUA more than any other station on the radio throughout the years by the sheer volume of hours I would have it on while I worked. Damn.

WNUA 95.5. Thanks for the memories. You will be missed---sniff-sniff---

Now, here’s a write up by Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune that tries to explain Clear Channel’s decision (thanks for nothing!):

May 22, 2009--Adios to smooth jazz at Clear Channel's WNUA-FM 95.5.

Hola, Mega 95.5.

WNUA, a pioneer 22 years ago with the adult-contemporary format that blended pop instrumentals and jazz influences, is poised to become a Spanish-language station, complementing the music of artists such as Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Aventura with local on-air personalities, news and traffic in an effort to seize a share of a rapidly growing audience segment.

The flip, set for Friday morning, has been the subject of a guessing game within the industry as other smooth jazz stations around the country dropped the format in recent weeks. But much of the speculation wrongly had WNUA embracing country, oldies or classic rock rather than what is being billed as Spanish hot adult contemporary.
A change in call letters has not been finalized, but the new Chicago station branding will be Mega 95.5, and it will be available online through

Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, a long-time WNUA personality, is supposed to bid fans farewell in Friday's 9 a.m. hour. That will be followed by a brief audio montage recalling the history of the 95.5 frequency in Chicago, from the Moody Bible Institute to WDHF to WMET to WNUA. Then at 9:55 a.m., the plan is to begin playing 5,000 successive songs from the new format over the next two weeks as an introduction before regular Mega 95.5 programming begins.

Clear Channel has yet to name the station's personalities.
It may be small solace for loyal WNUA listeners, but its smooth jazz format will remain available online at, as well as on smart phones via and to those with HD Radios at 95.5 HD2.

The problem that ultimately doomed WNUA was not the devotion of its audience, which didn't flag. The problem was Clear Channel's ability to cash in on it.
According to independent industry revenue figures, WNUA's take was off by almost $2 million in 2008 compared with '07, while Spanish-language leaders -- WLEY-FM 107.9 and Univision's WOJO-FM 105.1 -- showed gains. "The revenue support for WNUA declined significantly in recent years due to the changes in how advertisers evaluate radio stations, and we were faced with a very difficult decision," said Earl Jones, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio Chicago. "This is something we really struggled with," said Tony Coles, vice president of programming and operations of its six-station cluster. "We're fans of WNUA. So it was really tough to even have conversations about the end of that radio station. But we looked at all the indicators. We really put a lot of time and energy and research and marketing and everything for that radio station, and the needle wasn't moving -- and then the economy started going south as well."

It will not be an inexpensive switch for Clear Channel, which is hiring about 25 new bilingual employees, including on-air talent, a programmer and a sales staff. But other numbers favor the move. Hispanics are a fast-growing population group in the United States, passing African-Americans as the nation's largest minority segment in recent years.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, as of mid-2008, the nation's population included almost 47 million Hispanics, or about 15.4 percent of the total, while African-Americans accounted for about 12.8 percent.
Since 2004, when Clear Channel Radio announced an initiative led by Alfredo Alonso, its senior vice president of Hispanic Radio, the company has expanded the programming and availability of Spanish-language programming and formats on stations in 20 markets. But Coles and Jones stressed this decision originated locally and is about positioning Clear Channel's full portfolio -- which also includes WLIT-FM 93.9, WVAZ-FM 102.7, WGCI-FM 107.5, WKSC-FM 103.5 and WGRB-AM 1390 -- for what the market will look like in five years. Univision, which owns WOJO-FM, WPPN-FM 106.7, WRTO-AM 1200 and the duo of WVIV-FM 103.1 and WVIX-FM 93.5 here, says on its Web site that Chicago is the nation's No. 5 Hispanic market, with 1.8 million people and $24.2 billion in buying power. Clear Channel, which says Hispanics make up 28 percent of the city of Chicago's population, thinks it can do more than take a slice out of that segment. It might even be able to increase the size of the pie by appealing to bilingual listeners and courting general-market advertisers as well as those specifically targeting Hispanics. It also benefits from WNUA's signal strength. "It's our commitment to live and local programming, our commitment to community service," Coles said. "Just the ability that we have to be in the community, be active and use the leverage of our other radios stations. We have Kiss and Lite [WKSC and WLIT] as the No. 1 and No. 2 stations for English-speaking Hispanics, and then you combine that with Mega, it's a really powerful force."

To see more of the Chicago Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, May 31, 2009

THERE’S A GHOST IN ME….AND Other Thoughts That Make A Day Go By

“In the first days / of the spring time /
made you up and / split from one thousand enemies / made a trail of / of a thousand tears/ made you a prisoner / inside your own secrecy / There's a ghost in me /
who wants to say "I'm sorry" /
Doesn't mean I'm sorry”

- “Ghosts”, Ladytron


Nothing is what it seems.

People can be who they are, when they want to be, but we find that in the end, it has all been so unreal.

In my most recent take on this adventure in life, I have found myself questioning all that I am. And at the same time questioning those who I have come to know.

At one time I did write “There was a time before symmetry”*. And thus it has begun.

I believe Edison and Tesla had the right idea. Or, shall I say, ideas. Invention is the key to invasion. Making it stick doesn’t matter. Making it up by sheer act of will and imagination, that is what matters most.

In the past few weeks I’ve faced everything, so it would seem. And have been at a very creative peak. Its funny what music can do for the body, mind and soul. I needed a shot in the arm. I got that and so much more. A fire has been lit.

But, I will not be understood. To be understood, that is for the future.

I’ve been labeled everything but no one ever tries to get to know what’s real. I’m so far removed from their misguided perceptions that its quite amusing sometimes. No one can seem to lock me in a box. Once they’ve done their best Sherlock, I’ve gone and done something that blows them away.

There are those who would seek my failing. Those who, because of no fault of my own, would rather have me at the heel of their foot before they will shake my hand in solidarity. You know the ones. Why does it have to be like this?

Do I fight or do I laugh? Do I let them know that they can kiss my ass or do I crack jokes on them for years to come?

Damn. It is a dilemma.

Back to the future.

So, today I made it very clear that I wasn’t going to be so laid back. I’ve done my best and now its time for something new.

I think very hard about the past and the challenges and opportunities that have come my way. I have been fortunate and blessed. Talents, knowledge and a keen sense of direction….with no end in sight. I’m sure there are others more fortunate than me. More blessed by the graces of both God and man. I lean forward and take a bow---while thinking to myself that it can all end in an instance.

Now, that we’ve got that out of the way, how about you finding your place in this world. Either being part of the problem or part of the solution is now a matter of opinion. Just don’t hurt anybody along the way.

I wanted to make things right. But I’ve found that if you come ‘round here talking about love, pain, hurt, happiness, suffering and the like “you better wear your toughest skin”**.

So its time to step back, wish the world a way and listen to the soothing sounds of ambience…..

Peace.....and let love in....

*”The Unbearable Likeness of Being Here” from Dead Artists Symmetry
**”Skin” – Vigilantes of Love