The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 18-JAN 19

All Issues
DEC 18-JAN 19 Issue




my stronger smell reliably
in the right armpit like
flowers on flowers redolent
from wet hillsides prepared
for shipping by women
helps me talk as one
of an extracting people
with occasions to mark
frictionless rolling over each other
viscously having forgotten the mannered
European flower code
my people know my right hand
my story, and my life, naturally
as experts in color, texture
and accent, empowered in taste
choosing the right bouquet, free
of any reference to the local Eucalyptus
leaves and bright dogs range at night
the ground floor of my position
holds no dictionary or science
that can really name the flowers
I’m not pointing
because they’re so obviously opening
bringing from the women’s picking
fingers a displaced stink of me back
up the nose, I can hear the little god
tells me all the gold
is always a people’s, materially
and a standard, a guarantee of the low sun
in season on the granulated roof tiles
brought down so the neighborhood
will be an actual hole, even then, trying to stop
being a people I wouldn’t just say
back something like, “dark
of flowers” or “stones to swallow”
no inside to the words, no interviews




Scale Up

for Fady Joudah

    dignified or bruised with looking
at an inflatable swan in our pool
large as our times    dares all ancestors
    to scale up

    this desert heat folding forwards
and back of time into a fine point
I think we’ve been holding onto
    their adulthood like it’s the thing
from which most of time will run away

    the purest gold rings
my grandmother’s bracelets stamped with the scales of snakes
    are my inheritance and this year my skin crepes
insulting everyone’s proximity

so much, ideas, tasks that don’t really ask for names
    to burn in some America’s idea of presentness
peeled, cheap rubies from my mother’s ring
    loosely given in a pouch
it is dark there and I can see anything

folding a backdrop into perspective
    terribly enjoined to the men from first settlement
to all this every day still in their dedicated habit
    for one another they love me
ask about my American Sentence Shapes, Sweet, Thing
    Proud, Boys, (No Fap), Bad, Examples

of transiting elements, now crush the buds in the old way
    through boiling water, stretch the resin
with a friend into thinning sheets from our mouths and fingers
    comes a coating where to render
one of the pretender gods, its altar in an ancestral house
    scaled to look like layers of depth the men heard
they wanted to see if our resin could rescue native wood
    into a high gloss forevering
exactly like “cultivate your power”
    brings news

to each new theater of war
    resting in the nerve to write about it
tear gas by way of drone and the tin
    frame of my mirror wanting
to be polished  now say

“enjoyable morning”
    to have left a nation’s bed
shining, basically
    eagle shaped
tasting of a sugar that delays what’s sweet
    sorry not sorry
for the dirt on my feet



Farid Matuk

Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine Editions) and The Real Horse (University of Arizona Press). He is currently working on a collaborative project with visual artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez, forthcoming as a collectible object from Singing Saw Press.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 18-JAN 19

All Issues