or violet out of the ashes settling from its combustion-that is now rivalled
in this modern achievement”
-De Quincey: Writings, XII, 345
Poet. Musician. Traveler.
When David was on, this poet was illuminated with an energy which flickered across his being like a St. Elmo's Fire of the creative nature. It was impressive to watch. There was a discomfort for David in it, to be watched, as if some personal, private and intimate function, like childbirth, were willy nilly on display against his guarded sensibilities. He easily became irritable when he thought his inner workings were exposed, which mood could fire-up into hot anger, which then quickly morphed into excited enthusiasms. He talked as well as he wrote, and he wrote with his proboscis buried in the aorta of inspired flow.
Catastrophic loss conditioned his tragic view. He lost his twin brother in infancy to violent highway death, and as a mature man he lost his One True Artist Love to self-destruction. He came to embrace service, which, with innate humor, informed his maturity. The mystically-empowered artist attracts his peers. Great artists of his generation sought him out through the grapevine. His rarified gift was original.
Like any renaissance genius, he could do more than one thing. He wandered like the Tarot Fool across the land until his Music led him to the folk singer, Judee Sill, whom he loved. She drove herself down to death along the highway of self-abuse, and left him bereft. His wound fueled and deepened his work. At the core of him there survived the original wide-eyed child so necessary to the greatly-gifted artist's foundation. Through layers of pain and tawdry reality the light of persistent innocence and quirky humor modified blunt reality into his transcendental statement.
Reading David Omer Bearden has the quality of witnessing some rare spectacle of nature. You can't tear your eyes away from the words. The man may be gone, but the brilliance of the words will continue to dazzle.
I was blessed to have him as a friend.