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Category: Cynthia Cruz

Duras (The Word)

M.D. feeds her words into the machinery. She presses herself into

the text: sweat, blood, excrement.

It is a vile exercise. It is exquisite, this mysteriousness, this act of

brute survival.

One thinks of feeding; of pressing oil-soaked bread into the open

mouth of a hungry child.

It is vulgar, it is death. It is the white smear of sex.

Piled up, her words are a tower of filthy bodies.

Hunger, poverty, the deep stain of destitution. A clamor of dark

bodies leaning against the grime-stained walls of the city.

She feeds the words into her small blue typing machine. The letters

stick. They stick.

She presses her liquor-stained fingers onto the plastic glide of the

buttons: “M.” “D.”

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Duras (Sickness)

Alone in the white mansion, M.D. lives, alone. Nothing. No-thing.

Just booze and books and old broke vases of long dead roses.

She paces. She drinks the cold liquor. When she does, the world

is made manifest. Booze, the hinge upon which the world breaks

open.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Duras (The Mute)

The poor have no voice. The outsider, the wanderer, the lost and

forgotten remain voiceless. Duras’s muteness is their voice, is their

silence. She holds her voice back—

When we read her words we hear the echo of a scream in her

silence. It is the scream of civilization.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Guidebooks for the Dead

The starting point

Was mystical.

I could feel something bright

As it left the body.

What I wouldn’t give

To go back—

To my tiny, almost

Russian childhood:

Mother in her crimson gown and stage

Make-up: baby

Blue glitter shadow and her long

Beautiful arms

Changing me into her

Small blonde princess.

When the wheel moves by,

Night is gone.

This life is gone.

There will be no other

Life, other than the sweet

Lavender, sweet

Blossoming dream

Of this one.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Duras (Nothingness)

When writing, the writer leaves the world. She vanishes into the

folds of her mind. She dies there. Alone, in a field of words. The

words are the field, are the words and images of her mind, made

manifest, manifold. By writing, the writer leaves her body and

enters the page, the text, the otherworld, the one she dreams.

When writing, the writer dies. She dies to the world. The phone,

the bloody black ringer, rings on; the birds sing outside the shut

glass window, the writer is gone. Writing is transformation,

transportation. By writing, the writer leaves. Her body remains.

Her body, a terrible hump of flesh and blood, cells and disease. But

she is given the gift, grace—she is able to escape her body and the

world. She is transported via the electricity inside her mind into

the page, into the sea of the words.

M.D. becomes nothing by writing. By thinking, already escapes.

Poverty and drinking, destitution, isolation, a lifetime of

abandonment. And memory. Booze loosens it up. Booze closes it

down. Writing is the same, though different. Writing breaks down

all the doors, smashes all the windows in the house, her great big

white mansion—and she is free.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Duras (The Dead)

Duras died in childhood. Poverty, shame. Everything past the

age of fifteen is chronicled, written down. Like Louise Bourgeois

(another lipstick, hosiery ripped lady), whose work derives from

one small window of time (the ten years when her father had an

affair with her nanny), Duras’s entire oeuvre springs from her gaze

back at the wreckage. The wreckage gazes back at her and she

becomes the wreckage.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Guidebooks for the Dead

Drink tap water only in large cities.

Drink boiled water and thinned tea.

It is not advisable

Except in hotels.

Take tablets of Resochin Bayer.

Then let it sit

For ten minutes

In potassium permanganate.

Change sweat-soaked underwear.

Wash once a day with soap.

Don’t shower more than three times a day

Using one-part mercuric chloride per thousand.

When possible, peel fresh fruit.

When not, wash with soap.

from Guidebooks for the DeadFind more by Cynthia Cruz at the library

Copyright © 2020 Cynthia Cruz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.