About the Poem
by Clay Matthews
“Approaches to Needlework Theory”
My grandmother used to work in a fabric store, and I was young when my mom used to take us there, so it’s one of those memories that I half remember and half don’t. Sometimes I think I remember being a little person and walking through all this fabric hanging down, sort of like all the dresses that shake for the camera in Kenneth Anger’s Puce Moment, but I’m not sure if that (my experience) ever actually happened.
“Smoke Break with the J & R Roofing Co.”
I used to work as a roofer, though not with an actual roofing company. We had to roof these little sheds that were built at the backs of the public housing. So it was sort of like roofing in miniature. I’ve noticed men on roofs are much more likely to whistle or holler at girls or passersby in general. Maybe this is because they fall in love, too, and need to let it out, or maybe it’s just because they need someone to recognize that they are, indeed, on the roof.
“Lukewarm at the Best Western”
What can I say, I’m a sucker for hotels and indoor pools. Part of my identity has been forged in an ice machine at the corner of a hallway with paisley carpet. I love hotels because as a structure they supply me with an almost complete escape from whatever other shit is going on around me. And I think one of the healthiest things people can do in general is to completely submerge themselves in water.
“Treatise on the Black Hole of Everyday Things”
I guess this is a sort of elegy for all the tacky (and not so tacky) things I’ve loved in my life that I’ve either forgotten at some point (or perhaps told myself I need to forget) or lost. That, and the uncanny ability of things to disappear into what someone has labeled “thin” air. For instance, houses eat things on a regular basis, and sometimes spit them out, and sometimes not.
“Light She Was and Like a Fairy”
I have a character named Jimmy who frequents several of my poems who is not exactly fact and not exactly fiction—he’s sort of like an imaginary friend who is at times an actual person (beware, if you stand close to me you may be possessed by him). Also, I’m interested in marriage, I guess, or maybe the idea of the bride and veil. You could throw a veil over a rotten pork chop and people would look at it and feel a strange longing nonetheless, or so I sometimes think.