cynthia cruz

#17 summer series 2016

Everything behind us

Is before us

Stretched out: an endless

Grey horizon.

What we don’t remember

Lives in us, forever.

Cynthia Cruz, closing lines to “Guidebooks for the Dead (II),” Field (no. 93, Fall 2015)
               

Cynthia: you look nice today
Me: Cynthia, don’t even start with me. We all know that the cookies you “baked” for the PTA bake sale were actually store bought, and guess what? They tasted like trash. You’re always late to Yoga class on Tuesdays at 3:00-4:00 PM and you look like a flailing turtle when you go in Standing Tree position. You dress like a teen girl who just discovered Claire’s and your son is bad at soccer, so don’t even go there, Cynthia.

mythaelogy  asked:

what were your favourite quotes/those with the most impact that you read this year?

 i’m expanding this to talk about poems and collections too because i am That Guy. 

POETRY COLLECTIONS and CHAPBOOKS

POEMS 

QUOTES

Cynthia Cruz on Helene Cixous

Helene Cixous’ Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing

Let us go to the school of writing, where we’ll spend three school days initiating ourselves in the strange science of writing, which is a science of farewells. Of reunitings.

I will begin with:

This is what writing is. 

I’m not sure how I came across the book. Maybe I saw it displayed in a small bookshop in the city and fell in love with the cover. I’m not sure. It is as if, by magic, or, more probably, as though my own terrible need for guidance, for a mentor, conjured the book into my life. However it appeared, it appeared in my life around ten years ago, perhaps longer. In any case, Cixous’ voice, her words, the power of her intellect fused with her passion drew me in immediately. I began teaching from the book as soon as I found it.

Keep reading

I cannot speak. To speak is to kill someone.

When I write, I am speaking. I am saying, “I exist. I am alive. I am not dead yet.” When I write, I am neither here nor there, I have vanished into a dead zone, a crawlspace all my own. I am speaking into a long tunnel. Each word I write is a mark, is a weight. I am saying, “I have a voice. It was not smudged out.”

I am here. I am alive, I did not vanish.

—  Cynthia Cruz, I Did Not Vanish: On Writing

The words create a delicious kingdom. I want to enter this kingdom, with such desperation, I am willing to die for it. And to enter a book, to let my life coarse out and stream past me, is to, in a small way, die. And I quite happily exit one world to the next each time I vanish into a book.

So deep into this other world do I drop, I no longer notice, nor do I care, what’s happening outside the book, in the “real” world. Like a drug, the book seduces me. I can’t resist. And is this not a small simulation of death, of suicide?… Reading is a kind of death. One exits one’s life, is gone from the world. If my telephone rings, if my beloved calls out my name, I am no longer here. I don’t exist. Dead to the world. And reading erases the world. When I am deep in a book, my life no longer exists. The city I live in, the people I love, it all vanishes just as soon as I open a book and begin to read….

It takes time to recover from the end of a book. The only antidote I know of is to quickly pick up another…. With each book I read, I was transformed. Each book held the promise that I could become someone else, someone smarter, better…. And it was the vanishing aspect that I prized the most. Once I opened a book and began to read, I slid back into the parallel universe….

It is the promise of the otherworld that lures me into buying more books than I can possibly keep up with. I knew I had hit a new low in my addiction when, this past week, I brought home thirty-five new books, which brings us back to the topic of death. Collecting, or should I say, compulsive collecting, is a desperate means to ward off the inevitability of death…. And like all good addictions, one’s life is removed. When I am no longer aware of my life, I am left in a stupor. The same sweet stupor that opiates or sugar or infatuation can bring. And, of course, reading.

I wouldn’t say its sexual but I would say it comes close. The desire, the wanting to enter the other world, the pining, the ruminating for days. What will it be like? Look like? How will I change? And then the anxiety over how and when. I collect lists of books I want to own, I save the books in lists near my desk. Should I wait until my next paycheck or should I just go ahead now and buy one, and go without coffee and sweets for the next week? It’s worth it, of course, as any bookphile will tell you: entering the world of the book is always so much more fulfilling than entering the world itself.

—  ‘On Reading’ by Cynthia Cruz (aka: a blog post about my life ♥)
Bathysphere

by Cynthia Cruz

Our childhood was a science lab,
A brackish, incubating underworld.
An all-night pharmacy of bright pink
Pills. And the military doctor with his
Throne of medicine, an ossuary of bones.
That dead room of books and sun-bleached
Skulls. No one could protect us. Death
Lurked around the corner, a wild white
Pulse. Incessant drone, sweet hum
Of the animal. Compass with no needle,
We grew old on that waste riddled junk,
With no pilot, no anchor, no map.
Just the warm current of death
Steering us nowhere.

Hotel Berlin by Cynthia Cruz

In the rooms of a rundown palace
You said, Ruined. You said, Princess.

You said nothing to me
For three long weeks.

The color of that room
Is eel-black.

When I was a girl and still
German, I stood alone

At the end of the sea.
You may have loved me then

I sent a message through the cages
Of a great whale’s teeth.

For three weeks, I did not sleep.
I set jars of sweet milk and baskets

Of bright berries and red
Marmalade outside your door

In the dream
Where you come to me

I kiss your mouth
Tasting the secret

Letters of your history.
I swear

Somewhere in Siberia
A godly ocean of bison

Still roam free.
You, kneeling before me,

In this,
The last and final room.

This is how I was found.


Foxed under in nothing, strewn bare in cinquefoil,

Torn loose of the earth, chanting,

The thought of your body breaks me.

Disquieted child, I fall under spells.

Soon, I will receive you, lie with you,

Mend your salt-stung hands.

When the ocean, envious of your leaving,

Moans to the boats and anchors,

We will dream the coming armada,

A covey of dark birds, the deep asunder–

—  Cynthia Cruz - “Ariadne, Waiting”
Hotel Berlin

by Cynthia Cruz


In the rooms of a rundown palace
You said, Ruined. You said, Princess.

You said nothing to me
For three long weeks.

The color of that room
Is eel-black.

When I was a girl and still
German, I stood alone

At the end of the sea.
You may have loved me then

I sent a message through the cages
Of a great whale’s teeth.

For three weeks, I did not sleep.
I set jars of sweet milk and baskets

Of bright berries and red
Marmalade outside your door

In the dream
Where you come to me

I kiss your mouth
Tasting the secret

Letters of your history.
I swear

Somewhere in Siberia
A godly ocean of bison

Still roam free.
You, kneeling before me,

In this,
The last and final room.



Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Cruz. Used with permission of the author.

The Report on Horses II, by Cynthia Cruz

Then I was back at the old house, my brother
Still alive.

The two of us racing through the yellow sagebrush,
Dust rising from the earth like mother’s

Drunk words, spies in the hallway.
Shadows in the orchard.

Billy’s hand in mine, leading me into the wood.
A boy’s beginning, as if for the first time, Come on,

He said, Let’s find something still alive
Left to kill.

Diagnosis, Cynthia Cruz

Awkward, and almost always the idiot
Savant, mutant, retard, I

Travel my own effervescent weather,
In my underwater

Vessel, my sweet
Mars, and soundless

Daydream, magical sweep of Rimbaudian
Reverie. Always

Clumsy, and guileless, mind-
Blind, and deathly shy,

Winning every spelling bee,
Every math contest,

Done before the rest, finishing
First in science test.

Hiding the quarterly honor-roll awards
I won beneath the bed.

The shame of being
Seen consumes me.

And I fight it back,
A landowner warding off
 
Leagues of feral thieves,
With fire, handheld torch, burning back

The onslaught. In grade school,
Listening to the same Blondie song in my bedroom, over

And over for hours, days,
For years. No friends

But the one: silent, and sitting
In my head. Running laps around

The house for five, ten, fifteen
Miles, counting

Calories of everything put
Into my mouth—desperate to ward the onslaught

Off. Until I am nothing
But a body.

Burn the body down
And, with it, out goes the pilot

Blue light of the mind.
Everyone said

I was pretty back then.
Maybe, way back then,

Before I began.