Does Anyone Beat Your Heart for You
does anyone beat your heart for you —
oh yes I know there are some who
will quicken it
or slow it at their leaving —
but when you are alone at night
and sleeping, dreamless . . .
it is there . . . beating —
it will be there . . . beating —
till you die
does anyone beat your heart for you
does anyone live your life for you
do you cast a vote — plea for
do you hasten your death by forgetting
do you close your eyes and believe
what others say you see
[January 9, 1982]
About this poem
I wrote this poem many many years ago, mostly in my head, one day walking across my home town of Columbia Falls, Montana, & thinking about people who seem to need to have other people tell them what to think & believe. Much of last night’s testimony against the Anchorage equal rights ordinance reminded me of this, as did the sight of the numerous teenagers bused in from Anchorage Christian Schools (affiliated with Anchorage Baptist Temple) to picket against the proposed ordinance along 36th Avenue — another use of kids as billboards to advertise the prejudices of adults.
I wonder if their classes in school gave these kids extra credit for waving their preprinted signs for Prevo? I wonder how many of them might actually be gay or lesbian or trans, but can’t tell anyone, & fight earnestly inside themselves against it because the adults in their lives teach them to distrust their own self-understandings?
Update: At first I thought the kids in the wine-colored shirts were from Anchorage Baptist Temple — but they’re not. from the Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church (MABC) of Aurora, Colorado, which visited Anchorage from June 14–22, 2009 for their Youth Mission 2009. On two of the days of their visit, June 16 and 17, the Anchorage Assembly was hearing public testimony on the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. So what did the adult leadership from their church have these kids from another state do during their youth mission? – Wave signs urging permitting continued discrimination against citizens of a different city in another state than they even live in.
The MABC youth mission was was hosted by the Anchorage Baptist Temple, whose pastor, Jerry Prevo, is a principal leader in opposition to the Anchorage equal rights ordinance. They were bused to the Loussac Library by ABT, and the signs they carried were printed by Alaska Family Council.