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

About Conrad Reeder

B.A., M.F.A. Creative Writing: Playwriting. Lecturer at the University of Hawaii. Adjunct Faculty at Palm Beach State College. Currently working on a Ph. D. in Mythological Studies with Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. https://www.facebook.com/Graffititheplay :: Graffiti, a new play about Goldie and Alice, neighbors who live in a trailer park in Holiday, Florida, and fight about Junior, the grandson Goldie raised. Junior is now a man, and Alice has noticed.
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9 Responses to STEVE MATTY

  1. Debbie H. says:

    Not knowing him well enough. Wanting to know him better. Admiration from afar. Respect for his current vigilence, first by his ailing mom’s side and more recently by his dad’s.

    Honor your father and mother. He Did. I think it might have been easy to say, I am too busy. But he didn’t What an example to all of us. Creative – we knew that. Adventurous- A given. Caring – Obvious Memories — Not enough.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Steve was my cousin five years my senior and my memories are mostly of childhood – and I will miss that I didn’t know him better. My fault. Sad but now that he is gone maybe I can renew that caring and knowing with others in his honor. Seems weak and not enough.

  3. Kate Nault (Katy) says:

    In our sixties-adolescent mindframe, he was the Golden Boy. From his advantages, he could’ve become a Hubble Gardner. Maybe that’s why I was so amazed in discovering this hard-core gypsy poet of Marty’s own loins.

    Eccentricities attracting, we shared our secrets (except the “roots of reclusion” one)with mouse clicks and Sunday “free calling” marathons. It seemed that Steve had stepped off the pages of predetermination; he being as politically incorrect as a fart at a black tie affair.

    With wild-hearted innocence, (not to mention brilliance) he revealed our bullshit and sometimes his own. I always sensed that he wanted our love without conditions. And he got it. For eternity. Viva la MATTY!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We shared a special relationship. Steve loved sharing his stories of adventure and his buddies. What happened to him an hour after we spoke will never be known. He was my “River Boy”. I’ll miss you everyday Steve. Love You…….”smooches”

    Betsy

  5. Anonymous says:

    i was surching gary vincent when your site came up. he is a great friend of our family. i just saw him this weekend and i could totally see him playing in his pjs

  6. Anonymous says:

    A year after Steve’s death I find this today.

    It was nice to see, and read.

    I too remember The Shipwreck Lounge in Studio City! I was a lucky kid who grew up in it. I met many, many colorful, imaginitive people there. One of my very favorites was indeed, “Ol’ Matty.”

    When I first moved here to Nashville about 9 years ago he was a dear friend to me (and ALWAY’S of my fathers *Glen D.*)

    Matty convinced me one night that I was NOT “living in a “fucking forrest!” Me coming from L.A. it sure seemed like it!
    But he came and picked me up and drove me all around Nashvegas.

    It’s true, he had a way of “exposing” one’s “bullshit” to themselves (definately includes me!)pissing me off some..but then with his genuine smile, ya just had to laugh.

    I know I sure miss him.

    Thanks for putting some of his writings up. I enjoyed reading these comments and story.

    I just remembered him coming over once, and picking up the dead leaves from my house plants. I said, “Oh Steve- don’t bother with that..”
    Matty replies, “It’s okay, I’m an old fag.” HAHA!!

    He sure was a handsome devil.

  7. Dawn says:

    Three years after Steve’s death I finally have the desire to share some thoughts. I wanted to write much sooner, but couldn’t find the words within me. I miss my best friend so much. I can hear his deep laugh like it was yesterday. We spent hours talking about everything and nothing. Solving all of the worlds problems. Laughing so much and sometimes even crying (maybe that part belongs to me). Every memory so special. Steve was a straight shooter, there was no sugar coating anything. Thinking back that is exactly what I needed – a genuine special friend.

    I miss you Bigshot..love, Dawn

  8. Sharon says:

    Wow! Steve & I were high school sweethearts! I was a freshman & he was a senior @ MCC. I lost track of him when he was working for John Denver. Ran into him in Vail. He was standing in the lift line and I heard his very distinctive voice! So saddened by his death which I just heard about! My sincerest condolences to all who loved him. Sharon Brudnicki Best

  9. Argette says:

    He was a romantic figure, even in high school.

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