Friday, June 29, 2018

WVB, ten years later

I missed it. I missed the anniversary of her death. Ten years yesterday. She would have been twenty-nine this year.

Another Monkey: To the girl with the Oscar Wilde tattoo

The video for the Modest Mouse song is still up, more than nine years since I linked to it:
Another Monkey: The saddest song I know

I never shared my poem about her, written three years ago. I'll redact it a bit. You don't need to know her name.

For W---

Bilinda Butcher sings with the voice of an angel
and, like an angel, she's from somewhere far away
not Heaven, but London

she sings words you can't quite make out
there's something about her tone that tells you
that everything is going to be OK
even though you know it probably won't

this isn't about her

It's about W---
W--- was born not long after My Bloody Valentine formed
the same year as their first release
three years before they put out Loveless, the greatest album in the history of music

She wasn't born in London, but in a little town near Jim Thorpe
they say she was a spoiled girl, given everything by her parents
yet she said that she was doing what she was doing to help support them
Maybe she was lying

When she was three, My Bloody Valentine put out the greatest album ever made
and then they went away
sixteen years later they got together again for a tour
fans scrambled for tickets
they came to the US the next summer
W--- was nineteen then and had fans of her own

She started out as a model
she didn't have the tattoo then
but she did a few months later, when she graduated to videos
Most people probably didn't notice the tattoo
I did
In still photos I could make out the words, some of them anyhow
enough to get a positive hit

It was a quote from Oscar Wilde, from "The Young King"
"We have chains,
though no eye beholds them;
and are slaves,
though men call us free."

What kind of girl would tattoo that on her arm?

She did.

She never made it to twenty.
A pre-existing condition, some said
Drug overdose, said others
Maybe both were right
"We're expecting," her boyfriend posted
shortly before she died
Some sources said she was with him
others that she died in a hospital near her home
But dead is dead, either way

I never knew her, didn't know she existed until six months after she died
I learned she was dead a few minutes after I deciphered that tattoo
I wondered what would drive someone like her into this sort of life
and then found out she had no life anymore

I swore if I ever saw her again in someone else's eyes
I would do what I could to make sure the same thing didn't happen

maybe I got the chance a few years later

She made it to twenty almost unscathed
Twenty turned out to be a difficult year
I did what I could, and she made it through
that same year that My Bloody Valentine released their new album

this isn't about her

it's about W---
and there's not much I can say about her
I loved her, though I never met her
and will remember her, though I never knew her

But dead is dead, and we go on
and she does not

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