My Daughter La Chola
Recipient of an &Now award for innovative writing. 2014 American Book Awards Honorable Mention.
Matuk examines the shaky ground connecting history and lore through poems wracked in temporal convulsion. “My daughter,” the text tells us, “my daughter”: among crises economic and personal, the histories and documents of atrocities, the missing limbs and mummified ears, the Golden Girls and the construction and questioning of gender, Matuk makes it all a personal issue, anticipating his daughter’s fall from an unspeakable glory. La Chola is an unwitting invention, among the “simple chickadees / [that] came from the suburbs on a man’s t-shirt,” and because she is already the artifact of her origin, the speaker can only divine that “somewhere death is all time coming.”
My Daughter a New Rule in Algebra! Five from Three and One Remains!! Or the Three Mexican Prisoners, Having but One Leg Between Them All!
Kicky we say suffers the sameness
arches her little body as the lines of fish
say anything a one-legged three
Mexican body can still dance
put its feet up on the dais on the table
stink up the hall of my legislature can cakewalk
oil fat salt ride hard the air ride
their intent into our car outside
Kicky coos and spits lines up over the sets
of potential turns the sets of possible
intents her numbers of legs of glands
of gums of waters of hard edges
I know I’m rich by how little hunger
stops me working
everybody can draw
says the artist
California oak fungus in the wind keep checking
the hole to find the hole
Copyright © 2013 by Farid Matuk
Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine). My Daughter La Chola was named among the best books of 2013 by John Keene for The Volta and by Nick Twemlow for the Poetry Foundation and was recognized with an &Now Award for innovative writing and an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Arab American Book Awards. Selections from My Daughter La Chola have been anthologized in The Best American Experimental Poetry, 2014 (Omnidawn) and in Angels of the Americlypse: An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing (Counterpath). New and recent poems appear in Flag&Void, The Baffler, Denver Quarterly, The Volta, and Poetry. Matuk serves as poetry editor for Fence and teaches as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Arizona.