The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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APRIL 2020 Issue
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Video Tryouts for an American Grammar Book

A name, not to accuse but to evacuate, and there occupy an accusation, serially.         Oak and cypress

relocated to keep watch together over their shade. A spider’s filaments, invisible and new. A corner
of the window.

There is no backward. A turn of wind through the window at the filaments.

A turn, a plow, a bad representative of technology.

They withstand, her eyes. The trees, lined stalls of private homes, a romance of staying in place. A
technology of shame. Light at my thumb, lemon yellow line. What searching I’ve sent.

A speckled bird swoops between the legs of two people in a video to seize the dead prairie dog from
the fist of its keeper.

The bird flies in a video it doesn’t record or post. The bird has already threshed audience from the
real people who understand.

My anger. The sun letting the fog pass by. Chain link, silk printed with branded skulls.

The audience that marvels. The audience that feels left behind in its own outline, each a vaccinated
child. The idea of a word realized as audience to the wailing.

Cleansing organs of the word, its sex organs, its transferring organs swelling, the inherited organs of
the word lined in water for baptismal oration.

In this yellow light I’m glad for the sentence dropping off from the surface. A video of soldiers
wailing after scenes of them sleeping.

My eyes closing and my belief in interiority I’ve come to drop off. In their sleeping, their mouths
agog. A video of boys spitting into each other’s mouths.

The depth from which. A man in a video giving his gut and face to be punched. A video of fields smoking or a video of the mown grasses? A video of a man sucking another’s cock by an ATV. Their long beards orphaned into objects.

The oak and cypress tendrils     binding black physics of live water running in the city creek to the
river. The mold and the messages spinning on their maps. Voyage to the surface of sleep the soldiers
seem to go to     a waking video     a sleeping video     expected all the way into its genre.

A painted video     carries the squeak of boats lurching at their moorings.     A video orphans the
voice she gives to reading her poems, a critic returns it.     A video of a man’s rectum bleeding fast
from the mason jar that just broke inside his full feeling.

A video made sacred by the last seven videos.

                                                                                               A video of the bleeding or a video of what happened
after his hand reaches to stop the recording. A mistake that sees the flesh the body tries to run from.

Men sleeping placid beneath the river looking up with both eyes dedicated to the patriarchy

is the cover for a video of men congratulating men for writing about the ugliness of men.

A video of boots in near unison, a video of an uncomplicated feeling, a video of me tucked into a
low-back stretch looking up at the plastered ceiling     I hum to myself a singer’s dead white voice—
that’s on methat’s on meI know

          watched by a video of actual people in a glade
getting closer to the sun.     A video looking down to an evaporative line of water for the sun.

Refrigeration, ornithology, benediction                          earnest, mimicking a closed set of faces. A video
of a U.S. fighter pilot and I talking at the Delta gate.     A video of his enthusiasm shining
as far as the air will take it. A video of me hearing him say, God’s work     for where his enthusiasm
meets his enthusiasm for the mission

                                                                                                                                   so his smiling can go inside himself
in a video of him showing me his flight helmet and oxygen mask is a video of me seeing him holding
his own head in his lap     then a video of it back in the customized bag.

He has only altitude and a video of an executioner renouncing hierarchies     a video they think they
make but I think it.     A video worn away into a revelation.     A video’s single eye knocked loose so it
rolls inward is a name.

A video of me being used to consent to the conditions.              Soft mole, hale tunnels, standing
I narrow into a fine, stretchable line, thin blue, a bright yellow edge of least depth, the sound of its

Down the hall, a door creaking in a video about the importance of sequencing begins, Down the hall,
so the door will have somewhere to sound, hesitant

                                                                                                              or grand, opening onto the bank of the river
marking the ends or beginnings of the Motherland of objects, reposed, frayed, remembered in
museums, you first

the water’s fine. There is a feeling that I like where you love me and don’t believe in me, even as a
sentence expects to run from an event. This is the technology of staying, not of staying in place.


Farid Matuk

Farid Matuk’s forthcoming projects are a new translation of Juan Felipe Herrera’s Akrilica, which he co-edited with Carmen Giménez-Smith and Anthony Cody (Noemi Press), and Redolent, a book-arts collaboration with artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez (Singing Saw Press).


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

All Issues