The Music Within Us
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Late last year, the poet Scott Hightower brought to my attention the work of Will Heekin. Will, born November 13, 1959, grew up in the Bronx. He attended Fordham University and was an actor as well as a poet. While on holiday break from studying writing at Columbia University and after a short stay in Cabrini Hospital, Will died at home on January 3, 1996.
David Matias lived -- and wrote -- in Provincetown for nine years. I did not know him personally, but I encountered him via a beautiful poem posted on the bulletin board at the Universalist/Unitarian Meeting House. The son of a Baptist minister, David was born in Dallas on February 5, 1961. He graduated from Trinity University and received an M.A. from the University of North Dakota. In 1994, David was a fellow at Provincetown's prestigious Fine Arts Work Center. His work will appear in two forthcoming anthologies: Starry, Starry Nights and Things Shaped in Passing: More Poets for Life. David died on December 13, 1996.
There's a rainbow across your face,
A VIEW FROM OUR DECKOn the deck, on the roof, close with the South sky,
I observe life like a hawk at the top of his tall tree.
All those joggers, roller bladers, bicyclers, cars going
back and forth like pedestrian ballet dancers, dashing across
the Route 6-A stage. The proscenium of curving road to my right
and curtain of trees to my left, hide their entrances and exits.
I sit on white K-Mart plastic furniture, happy I have
the strength to be up here today, on a beautiful July afternoon
which offers a blue dome and a subtle sea breeze that cools sunrays.
"The Walking Lady" darts by. She's a bit of a mystery right now.
People in town rumor she has Anorexia, a foul mouth,
and is constantly moving her limbs, or eating fudge.
Gaunt and sickly, she stares up at me with a look in her
heavily made-up eyes, like she knows something I don't know.
A lot of them stare. With a shake of their head a friendly envy
points its way to my lounging. Vacationers gawk or even yell
as they pass, Great deck! I smile and wave. Sometimes.
They want to know. They want to think life can be great.
They want to see themselves relaxing on a deck, across from a beach,
sipping a chocolate frappe, and reading an Isabel Allende novel.
They want to believe I am healthy or have never battled aids.
Just like the runners, just like all of us, they want to live longer.
Upon this pressure-treated-wood deck, connected to a black
steel spiral staircase, which gives a few friends vertigo,
I'm unable to really see the sunset. It takes place behind a hill
of wild pine and steep roof tops. But gliding Westward, the
Herring gulls' bellies do reflect an orange glow . . . which an hour
later, turns into a light lavender. Their view far better than mine.
-- David Matias
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.