Just Walking the Dead with Bowie (thank you, thank you, thank you)

(Hello there, multiple folks from multiple countries who’ve landed on this blog by Googling “walking the dead” and “meaning” or some such. Let me see if I can answer that question–I took it to be two things: one, a play on words, similar to “walking the dog,” and two, a sense of remembering, being nostalgic, longing for people and places and times that have passed. There may be other things going on as well–for all I know, it’s a translation of some clever saying in German. Thanks for checking out my blog! Please read on, if you would….)


Well, that’s it. David Bowie’s 66.
He’s old. I’m old. We’re old. How much do I care?
I’m happy to report he is still deeply weird.
The video “Where are we now” is sick
(sick meaning not normal, not boring), lovely in
a creepy way–Berlin, mute woman, disembodied heads–
I was born in the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm–
explains a lot–Bowie sings “just out walking the dead”

How close was I to suicide in college?
In high school? Too close. I’m glad I danced away.

And Bowie helped. His weirdness, the vast collage
of his career, still here to help me navigate
the perils of middle age–oh here it comes–
the dancing and the danger and the weirdness–just in time


Why does 47 feel so much like 17?

And why is the self-destructive behavior of my middle-age so banal? I haven’t been suicidal for decades. My risky behavior has nothing to do with drunk driving or needles or strangers. (Not that it ever did. Ahem.)

I just eat too much. And weigh too much. And move too little. And here’s how I tend to handle stress–self-medicate with food, with alcohol (but not enough to actually be interesting about it).

I shuffle things around in my compartmentalized brain, but gracious the clutter’s accumulated.

So. I hadn’t even realized how much I needed a new Bowie album until I saw the video. But I did need it. I do. So thank-you.

(Now I need to hunt for a picture of myself when I used to make my hair look like his.)

9 responses to “Just Walking the Dead with Bowie (thank you, thank you, thank you)

  1. Been there. Tom Waits is my patron saint.

  2. Would almost be willing to pay to see a picture of your David Bowie inspired hairdo…LOL…I still remember his Ziggy Stardust days and the weird costumes and makeup he used to wear. Guess I am a little older than you. I have always had a thing for Sir Paul McCartney and Sting.

  3. Hello, I know what you mean. David Bowie gave me so much, especially during my puberty years and my adolescence. It was like he was my friend, who understood me and, how he experienced life, I did too. Often I felt lonely , an outsider, confused. And then David Bowie felt it too, or had an answer to it.
    Now I am middle forties, and still loving him and thanking him for his music. It is still a comfort for me to listen to his songs. Sometimes, I walk in a store, and then I hear, most of the times very softly, from the store radio, a song from Bowie. And then for a moment , I freeze and forget about the store, and just listen. Then, for a short time, its just me and Bowie.
    His new song is a gift. And like him, I also grew up and look sometimes back on my life. The phrase, walking the dead, means to me, that he looks at the past and relives it. From a distant, he watches at his past.
    I like the song and am very curious about whats yet to come.

    I liked your blog, it was inspiring.

    Petra te Wierike, the Netherlands

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Petra! They play him a “classic rock” station here (they used to call it “oldies” but people like me don’t want to think we’re old!), and that opening riff of “Changes” makes me time-travel every time.

  4. Thank you. Indeed they are people out there trying to find the meaning of ‘walking the dead’ with the age of 46.

  5. What about the meaning of te song You feel so lonely.
    I am Dutch, but I got the feeling that it was about for example a Jack the Ripper, kind of person? Any thoughts?
    I am curious if you have any idea.

  6. Pingback: Car Sonnets, Bloems, and Pogs | marniere

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