STEVE MATTY


Last night’s moon was tremendous, casting veiny limb shadows on fresh snows. Eerie. A spider web of images projected on untouched canvas. Sweet sleep happened. Cozy as the brew of nectared gods. Barely had time for a dream that night. Didn’t mind at all. Fermented, cemented. River boy (©sjm)

Steve Matty is dead. Writing those words sends a chill up my spine. His birth name has some ‘ski’ on the end of it, but he was always Matty.

I sit here dumb, and wonder what’s to be done. Matty was one of those lone wolf types with arms in constant motion. His ‘from the hip’ journals are legendary among friends, of which I feel honored to have been for twenty-five eventful years. How do I replace someone who reminded me of who I really am? Impossible.

Jim Harrison (one of Matty’s favorites) describes him to a T. I’m a poet and we tend to err on the side that life is more than it appears rather than less.

(Excerpt from For The Life Of Me, I Just Can’t Make Her Fart)

...I lived off the 101 between Laurel & Coldwater on Moorpark. Vitellos (where Blake’s wife was murdered) was a great place for clams and linguini. Sometimes me and some boys would have some tables full of pizza there, although, Mary’s down on Lankershim served up a good pie. It wasn’t far from Beverly Garland’s Ho-Jo where us music types would bunk up on many occasions.

But I liked the Sportman’s Lodge much better. Not better than the Westwood Marquis where Jim Harrison and I slept and drank, unbeknownst to the other. They had a good pool there tucked away in the foliage out back with chaise-side phones…where Dustin Hoffman ranted in a tirade to his agent one afternoon and all participants gave the little talented squirt a standing ovation. He bought a poolside round for all clappers. If I’d been thinking more clearly I would’ve insisted that we hoisted glass in toast to say, “…here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…” But I forgot. It would’ve been a decent chorus.

I enjoyed staying in Neil Diamond’s guest house just down the street from the Playboy Mansion (never been there) in Holmby Hills a couple blocks off Sunset. I may have been the only pick-up truck driver in LA then, certainly in that neighborhood. Cops pulled me over for a swerve on the Strip once, but let me go when I said I was bunkin’ at Neil’s. Name dropper.

We’d smoke fat honkin’ joints by his pool and talk about French poets a lot, then ring up Dylan to check and see if we were on the right track. Bob would just say, “Quit askin me stuff like that. And, do you guys know anything about peacocks???” Why Bob?? Is NBC buggin’ you?? He’d laugh at that one. But later on when he found out that Hunter had a brood of birds, he sheepishly asked, “He doesn’t let em in the house, does he??” Which meant, Bob did. tee hee…

Everyone should know a pal like Glen d Hardin: The President of the Pacific. Barney and I named him that along with his den called the Shipwreck Lounge….lots of stuff happened there on the corner of Ethel & Sara. Gram Parsons hung there often. Wish I could’ve known him, but then he had to die for some reason known only to him. Phil Kaufman stole the body and burned it in a pyre in the Joshua Tree desert, it was a fulfilled request of Gram’s, I guess. All charges were dropped.

Phil later owned Douglas Corner in Nashville, a hang. Funny how the connections keep connecting the dots. Gary Vincent and the Swamp Honkies played good music there. That goofball Vincent sometimes played in pajamas. We’d go fishing out to JI’s driving in his pink Porsche. Nice visual... ©sjm

Matty loved to bate people and watch em squirm.

Exhibit A.

Tues Jun 28, 2005 3:20 PM ...they never let me testify in your DUI case. I was ready. Had my rap ready. love, steven

Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:19 PMNot guilty!!!! Video doesn’t lie!   F**k it, it’s’ all a dream anyway.  C

Anyway, you get the idea, lots of history, good times and bad. In light of recent events, I think his thoughts on the great beyond are appropriate.

(excerpt from River Mix)
…I’ve been spewed on recently about…rapture. None of my beeswax, choose yer own gods and leave me alone about that stuff. Figure out your predestination and then think that the god who loves you will destroy you. Go ahead. I can’t subscribe to Armageddon. I’ve got bigger things on my mind. Ain’t that right, Jesus?? ©sjm

For some reason known only to him,(to steal his phrase) Matty wrecked his truck coming down the road from his cabin in Wisconsin on the Peshtigo River, dying instantly. In the absence of toxicity, the general consensus is heart attack, based on recent complaints about his arm being numb. In human years he was 54, but Matty said he was really 14. He never told me why he settled on 14, but I can guess. I do know this means I’ll spend the rest of my life missing him.

Don’t know how to end this, so I’ll hand it over to Matty.
“Peaceful sleep within the eyes of Great Spirit is insisted. I hope so…and then to revisit as a peregrine falcon in a steep high dive towards a spinning Earth.” (excerpt from Red Topped Maples ©sjm)

Steve Matty – Poet