When Aretha is gone I look to the chaos theory to explain the changes in our DNA that will no doubt occur.
What I do know is that this woman has given me more than the mother that birthed me, far more than the husk I married, and almost as much as the sun. What’s even more important is that Aretha gave without knowing me and without asking anything of me in return. There were those days where she came out of nowhere and filled my cup.
Aretha Franklin gave me excited Saturday mornings when I was just 7. I was gifted an old suitcase record player and 12 or so 45’s from ‘back in the day’ and I would stay in my bed on those mornings, on the top bunk, having my very own conversation with a gift from the wind, sounds from my bed, beauty and song from nowhere…She said to me, those things that aren’t asking are right there, those things you ain’t got, boy, are right here in my songs. And she gave that to me and the rest of the day or month or my life, I had the words and love she had crafted into a moment of joy and release just for me!
I know there is a great story here somewhere but as I write this I am off being 7 again…and 17, and 22 and all of those other times when there was nobody there and the world was shit and all I could do was drop the needle or accidentally fall into her from a passing car…
IN a world of quick fixes and long-standing suffering and leaving a thing fucked-up like some badge of honor, Aretha has a voice and a soul that can pull you back from all that and keep you into a thing of beauty until you can walk on your own. Maybe your voice can do the same. Maybe you have a soul akin to her’s and all you gotta do is get over your ridiculous self and unleash that thing. I dunno, I know I do – I know I have all that. ‘Course, it’s not coming out of me sounding like love. BUt if I want to I CAN – because Aretha Fucking Franklin said I could.
And that’s all I need.
EDIT: Aretha died today, 16 Aug 2018. Where I sit the sun is shining, I’m a year older, and I’m listening, because there will be song.
Thank you Aretha, we’re always gonna hear you.