Online Feature: Book Reviews

(Soma)tic and Micro Reviews

Farid Matuk

This Isa Nice Neighborhood

Letter Machine Editions

ISBN-10: 0981522750

ISBN-13: 978-0981522753

160 pages





Micro Review of Farid Matuk’s This Isa Nice Neighborhood

windows smeared in our own dust

if you want to come in here


you’ll have to go through us

from the section: Tallying Song

                                                                        – Farid Matuk

Farid Matuk explores and displays a world and its territories occupied by us – the immigrants, consumers, politicians, beggars, thieves  – the people.

“This is the age of information” he states, and is able to portray this world through numerous allusions of modern day figures, corporations, wars, disasters, literature and anything you can think of. Yet all these allusions are cast into the light of the absurd, the ridiculous sarcasm of the world and her ‘citizens’.

Through odd juxtapositions, like Huck tearing up his letter, refusing to believe… “the niggerfication of Jim” in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, and over the top language, “I only care that you love…testicles like oyster onions floating down the river,” Matuk humorously inhabits serious moments of satire and social commentary.

He embraces the impractical love/hate for celebrities and does not hesitate to use names,  “say it with me – Thank God for Dolly Parton” and a poem titled, But Richard, Will You Show Me an Ethic of Freedom, that begins “Richard Pryor is a criminal / and comes from criminal people.”

The speaker is not merely spilling commentary but often becomes the people portrayed, “I am Moroccan today… the shoes / I will buy will raise me, incline me / as the whole of Europe is inclined…” He distinguishes nations and peoples, “look at our pairs of feet / in the basin, Joe / your European toe / my American slope” while simultaneously acknowledging unity in that we are all people and preposterous, “We all joined the astronaut corps and are waiting in line for the moon.” At once we are disjointed and unified.

(Soma)tic Review of Ferid Matuk’s This Isa Nice Neighborhood

“…there / is no world there is / a world if

you stand at all / you stand against it”

 From the section: Dear Lengthening Day

– Farid Matuk

Prepare yourself for a lengthy travel: a journey full of dust and water and mirrors that don’t quite reflect, or hazy windows that refuse sunlight. Prepare to roam the earth.

First: find a ramp exit you can fly down like a dune that leads into a field or expanse, a far-flung stillness to hurl questions at. While crossing this expanse in search of water, breathe in the field, piss outside to affirm life, write something about spring coming through.

Stumbling upon the banks of a river, plant hydrangeas. Train a monkey to light matches then fling them into the moments, like disturbing little black pools of stagnant water – little sparks of the heart. Line squirrels in trees between the crosshairs of your finger and thumb then fire fire! Consider: “we learn to look at anything and recognize death.” Write something else about spring coming through. “Scrape wood to expose it to the air.”

Continue on in search of tall structures and people. Before you approach, roll around in dust, and then walk into the city. Lie about the things in your pockets. Play with people’s fears of thievery. “Beneath that: a sort of friendship. Beneath that: thievery.” Attempt to piss between dumpsters without being caught.

Come home. Wash your mouth out with soap and water. Read poetry to your dog then kiss her head and smell the spit over hair – “feel her jowl bags work over your hand like a jellyfish.” Be sure to start a pile of your toenail clippings on the coffee table; listen to the whispers of your naked toes. Paint your mother’s chest red to remind you of the red-breasted birds from another country, the places you’ve been. Consider you’ve kissed at least once in your dreams.

Imagine leaving once again. Traveling with your girlfriend. Fucking in the train-car bathroom – a chant of oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck

Realize that someday people will prepare a 9/11 reenactment.

Write something about spring coming through.

Reviewer: Shawn McDaniel is a first year MFA student in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and one of Bombay Gin‘s Audio Archive Editors.

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