A Partial List

By Richard Z. Santos


Despite all he accomplished, here’s a partial list of things Bowie never did:

Inspire fashion articles about the glam of chemo-bald;
Cry through an Oprah interview about mortality;
Pose for a People Magazine cover story about “His Brave Battle”
Spark a pilgrimage to his bedside;
Ruin his family’s privacy;
Die like a normal celebrity.


A partial list of things Bowie did accomplish:

Shock us all once more;
Close the door behind him;
Turn his departure into his last work of art;
Record his own eulogy, epitaph, and funeral service;
Leave us in a way no one else ever has;
Say goodbye.


A partial list of questions we’ve asked over and over:

How did he pull this off?
How much of this did he mean to do?
Did he know some of us would be angry with him?
Did he know we’d all forgive him?
Did he know it would be this hard?

Did he know it would be this perfect?

Richard Z. Santos is a writer and teacher living in Austin. His fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in The Rumpus, The Morning News, Kirkus Reviews, The L.A. Review of Books, and many others. He's working on his first novel.