Farid Matuk

Alright, You Light-Headed Fathers


I’d ask for rain
Wait until January because
I was born with a sash, this is
Where you poop, this, I’m told
Is a drawer for aftershave, knowing things –
Systems that take hundreds of years
Earns harrowing honors that get smeared
Some of it sticks, I mean you could
Make believe a thing like a pinecone
But for daddy’s spit is it also
The tree’s many a small mouth
I hear of sovereignties, I hear
of the first world, but having survived
Facing off with the progeny, ancestors
I’m told, are no prophylactics against it
“In our bodies there are no borders”
The new AeroMexico ad says
So here come the killers
And their rhetors:
            John Bolton
Elliot Abrams
Juan Zarate of
the Foundation 
for the Defense
of Democracies
here, I’m told
is a song
George Zi-
my kΛn-


Rain Transit


How much of pure abstraction is what’s left
Of a gesture after bracing against its touch

My ghost story is just a voice so close
At my ear that its pushed air not its words
Woke me to an empty bedside

But the internet has a boy child of faith
Pressing up to kiss the Pope
On the mouth, photographed c. 1980
With every near problem of that scene
Wholly pressed onto that scene

It won’t be a story unless I make it that
When what I have, suddenly, is the glowing of a name

Hearing it at a family dinner long
After my mother’s death condenses
Her rapist into a ghoul, repeating and real

I mean she was always her animus
Running from him across countries
Gilding the days tender in light

How could I hold to it
Aware of the sky reedy with sun
Raining space latticed and empty

Of Air Force traffic, each next country
And word curls around its own alibi
And the Holy Father
Is still immanently kissable

Trying to see at the speed
Things invite me to see
Available to be judged

By feel more than by faith
The child need not be a boy
But the gesture stays like a tunnel

Shuttling the idea of men
In the name of the Holy Ghost back
Into its nearest mouth

It’s raining inside, distant
Repeating, we might seem a river



Whatso goes –
Human cat, bird pyramid
Being only half the code
If words could clear the way under cold
Beaked night birds flying between houses
And the big streets of our new neighborhood
Not waiting but available
I walk around the car falling forward
At the inside edge of that urgency leaking
Even when going in the wake of a surviving mother
Reaches to the edges of everything historical
We hear kissing and burying the dead body with love
Earns the right to see it from outsourced
Internet scrubbers paid to hide the pics
But state plunder lights itself plainly
Showing a little more badge
A little more detention center crowding
To groom citizens with eyes so brimmed
We’re fictions like men, incapable and written
Lulled as by a governess with my wound entwined
Space isn’t empty where we’re going to look at the stars
I can see my love in the chaparral
Laying with me in a blanket because the absent are cold
And it’s not a word I can wear, it’s not a word that goes into me
The code is impeccably formed in the work of a voice
At the inside outside edge of a mouth
The wound won’t be figured when it’s just a ply
On the surface magic that folds into me, I miss my mother’s smile
I miss my youth, but this doesn’t mean those truths
I’m alone but decorated in English script
I’m given in the dream with the night birds
Where we were going to look closer at the stars
Who looked back gendered in the pictorial tradition
With eyes available, with no claim to words as our own
Shining on the empty spaces where the killed
Would have been whether mine or not to love
In the dream which stands for nothing lying shallow
In the least pool of waking day floating
Down the banks of the miniature towns
In Disneyland ordered and still is the reliable comfort
Colonies and immigrant neighborhoods shrink from delivering
Never miniature enough from minimum a red mineral
That illuminated the medieval manuscripts
With pictures and filigree a voice can splice
Then bind time’s folding surgery


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Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood and The Real Horse. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona and in 2020 will serve as the Holloway Lecturer in Poetry & Poetics at UC Berkeley. His collaboration with visual artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez is forthcoming from Singing Saw Press.