View Archives by:


Tricked-Out Declaration of Independence

Clay Matthews

Near the sound of a heartbeat rattling in the back
of the trunk of a schooly blue Impala and the windows
hold on to bump of the bomp of another confession
violating local zoning ordinances. We’re breaking the law
and goddamnit you’re going to listen to every minute
of it. I was on the back porch swinging and drinking
and working this line over in my head when the skies
came together there were two of them at least and then
the wind moved the trees and the trees moved me and I
told myself I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t matter
anymore I’m going to pretend it does. Yes, I am pretentious
sometimes but fraud is an occupation I am seriously
considering. Once out of boredom or self-pity I rewrote
the history of my family, not really knowing the history
of my family, so that I would wear the legend of the con man,
passed down from one generation to the next like some
terrible secret: Way down in the bottom there there’s
a hitchhiker in the family tree. And it was in the revision
of this and not the other version of one small-time something
after another after another trying hard to be a little bit bigger
of a something or other or else. And one level down my people
are terrified and bewildered by the bass beating out some perception
of desire down the street, over the sidewalk and into
the yard, but no not me I’ve got an illusion and a big fucking smile
all over my face. And I can pound my fist and do a little shake
of the leg and stick my thumb out and whimper and love
and at some point in the doing of this you will believe I am free.

Clay Matthews

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems