“Every time I went through, I used to put a cigarette between her fingers.”
– Betty Ford on a ceramic bowl adorned with two Greek goddesses, a bowl chosen by the Nixons to decorate the Yellow Oval Office in the White House
The two aren’t such strange bedfellows
Amy dying only days after Betty
I was in the Betty Ford garden with its yellow
Blossoms and columbines, its flowers like confetti
When I heard that Amy was dead at twenty-seven
Like Morrison, Cobain, Joplin and Hendrix
Is there good parking for rock stars in heaven?
Is there a life after green rooms and the quick fix?
In Vail, there’s a theatre in Ford’s name, a garden in hers
What a first lady she was, candid and considerate
Entering the yellow Oval Office in furs
Using Nixon’s bowl to hold her cigarette.
Across the pond, Amy Winehouse lost track
Of her power to remain our most soulful songstress
So she slid, finally, fatally, back to black
What a wonder, what a waste, what a legendary mess
Ford made “rehab” a household word
Winehouse sang its painful praises
One tragic, the other self-assured
The two knew the trouble when one trailblazes
– Vail, Colorado