FARID MATUK.May 2017


FARID MATUK

Photo by Jeff Sirkin


 

from DON’T CALL IT REGINALD DENNY

 

Those of us who are happiest driving alone to Target

Hardly glance at the night even near the glass

 

Of all those double doors streaming fluorescence it is free of allegory

 

I want to talk to you about happiness to stay inside it

 

I know the injunction

to show and share my gorgeous Greek salad

 

So the only resistances are to change the frame

Or stand naked in the buzz of failure

 

And tell it plain until the plainness leaves me loosed

At the outleaping of recursion so I know

I’m just here in a body

 

Like boys are sometimes falling into the gravel

Outside our window under the helicopter’s searchlight

 

The gravel bites through to the knees, the searchlight is a thing

 

No trees in the parking lot of the Target leaves no cicadas

No cicadas leaves in the quiet the Christ thing

Or a little author function to turn into, smug

 

Delicious melting

Into a preceding story goes a gap

And my regard

 

The night is one more thing to pick up, I know

How sacrifice works by substitution

 

But what if time doesn’t pass

And it’s always there behind the feelings

 

It is 1863

Stripped by the searchlight

I’m strapped onto our enemy’s horse riding against a splendid

Spinning panorama tableau

 

It is 2014

A private management firm runs Detroit

 

I just       have to run in to pick up a few things

 

The wisdom of the body and articulations

 

Of capital through time mean some things

But not others

 

The greatest good in feeling, say

Or a surging arrangement

 

The edge tolerance of a car

Falling down the hill’s paved turns

Matched precisely to its instrumentation

 

That’s how it starts

 

In the mouths and busy

Tuning wits

Of coworkers air animates

 

The histories where never

Have numbers gathered in common

 

Duress without making art

 

Like space wedged out at the words

 

Particulates powdered

And sent knocking in this air, it’s okay

 

Expensive hairstyles ride on it too

 

Right over freedom that’s been wrung out to withstand

The cant of advocates, expositors

 

The kind that sometimes loosens my jaw shitting

 

To a news video on my phone nature compels cleanliness

 

Imitating the dusty scrub of this valley when

Afternoon accepts the school bus yellow gilding routine

 

Of our good street’s

Parcels of critical difference

 

Or when I hear a professional’s song to catch the eye

 

I could ask you to let me be the professional

Working a little snot dry and fine

 

Tensile for new figuring like

 

You’re the god who knows

Mercury shifts shape, not category

 

Ofal, organic, decorative

 

Maybe those are stages of consequence

 

Tended, the pencil mustache

Invites the strangeness of the white face

 

Which blended with certain American things

Like shitting without a video is boring

The anus gives, slack jaws

 

Invite a fly pursued

 

In fable by greater appetites until death

Is a field in the ingesting body

 

Even the fingers on the outside greedy to carry

Oils pressed from garlic cloves

 

So curiously disquieting what was said

 

About the strangeness of the coloured races

Which blended with certain American things

 

Williams & Walker’s Dahomey stage show

Dance, copper, and face

 

Confessing the dear already known about a sway

 

But where were you born before that

 

Free radicals, the Tiqqun Collective for one

At a click past Imperium turn back

 

To describe Imperium’s outlines but never

Their own posed facial stunts

 

A thing being a position

And its grimacing

 

That makes the darkness a momentary solution

For what heat night accepts from what asphalt

 

Poured and settled around Target’s big box

 

I mean do those happiest in choosing

Being seen

 

As available to being seen

First force that condition

 

As someone else’s put off return to a homeland

As Dahomey stands in as the sass

Of nature’s whiteface comedians is here

 

As ornament is here saying, “Ultimately,

 

It’s the omnipresence of the new police

That has made the war undetectable”

 

Which is a laughter that is a type

In a set of my laughters

 

Each coded to an aspect

And color and charm in the pocket

 

This one is white across two or three shades

 

We are learning

Like Katakahli theatre faces are just out there

So rigorously trained

 

And still not being as good as this

 

Not so white as we are painted

 

To enter a next morning into a desert’s turns

Toward the sun in its waxes

On leaves and in its spines

 

Stammering, stuttering

 

“foregrounding asignification

mimicking, and parodying rather

 

Than simply opposing”

 

You see what it is

 

But where were you born before that

 

Forgive me for being so stupid

With this booger mustache so dark

 

Having carried a little blood at the start

 

I guess if you’re taken for a man, the old way

Was to say whatever men say

 

Louder so even dead you’re seen

 

In the distance you mark and redeem

 

Anything and whatever

Once looked impossible to countenance – a corner

 

Given to a young vendor’s t-shirts at Florence and Crenshaw

Come to read AIDS IS RUTHLESS.

 

SO TAKE IT EAZY.

RIP 3/26/95.

 

I can’t say anything after that

 

But just for a moment

 

Behind the feeling

 

I’m asking will we have made it – a corner

And its wits, ready

 

To trade attentions, not each other’s

But what’s being tended to

 

 

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NOTES

I lift the claim “Ultimately, it’s the omnipresence of the new police that has made the war undetectable…” from the Tiqqun Collective’s Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl (Semiotext(e)).

 

I lift “foregrounding asignification, mimicking, and parodying rather than simply opposing,” from Daphne A. Brooks’ Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press).

 

Rapper Eazy-E, née Eric Lynn Wright, died of complications from AIDS on March 26, 1995. He founded Ruthless Records and was a key member of the hip-hop group N.W.A.

 

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FARID MATUK


Farid Matuk
is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine Editions) and of several chapbooks including My Daughter La Chola (Ahsahta). His second full-length collection, The Real Horse, is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press. Matuk serves on the poetry editorial team at FENCE, on the board of the conference Thinking Its Presence: Race + Writing + Art, and he teaches on the MFA faculty at the University of Arizona.

 

To download a printable PDF version of this page, click here.

 

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May 2017.FARID MATUK