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Mud City is an online literary journal promoting the ideals and vision of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Low Residency MFA Program.

5 Poems by Cynthia Cruz

I am the author of three collections of poems: Ruin, published by Alice James Books in 2006, The Glimmering Room, published by Four Way Books in 2012, and Wunderkammer, my third collection, was published by Four Way Books in 2014. My fourth collection, How the End Begins, also from Four Way Books, is forthcoming in 2016. My essays and art writings have been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, and The Rumpus. I am also currently at work on two poetry anthologies: one of Latina poets and the other, a collection of poetry by female poets around the issue of consumption and nourishment. I am a regular contributor for the art journal Hyperallergic. I have received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. I have an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in writing and an MFA in Art Criticism & Writing from the School of Visual Arts. In the fall I will be pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Rutgers University. I teach at Sarah Lawrence College and am currently at work on a collection of essays on language and iterations of silence.

I am the author of three collections of poems: Ruin, published by Alice James Books in 2006, The Glimmering Room, published by Four Way Books in 2012, and Wunderkammer, my third collection, was published by Four Way Books in 2014. My fourth collection, How the End Begins, also from Four Way Books, is forthcoming in 2016. My essays and art writings have been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, and The Rumpus. I am also currently at work on two poetry anthologies: one of Latina poets and the other, a collection of poetry by female poets around the issue of consumption and nourishment. I am a regular contributor for the art journal Hyperallergic. I have received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. I have an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in writing and an MFA in Art Criticism & Writing from the School of Visual Arts. In the fall I will be pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Rutgers University. I teach at Sarah Lawrence College and am currently at work on a collection of essays on language and iterations of silence.

GUIDEBOOKS FOR THE DEAD


Now the ghost fears

Have gone.

 

Just the hemmed-in, 

The real

 

Ones. The pill gown 

Pitch of death and her shoddy

Song of sorry.

 

Nothing, just me

Pressed against the oil-

 

Smeared gates

Of the world.

 

 

GUIDEBOOKS FOR THE DEAD


Oh bright red lamp, oh flame.

 

Oh leaked mascara 

Caked at the bottom

Of my brown leather satchel. 

 

Alone, my only 

Friend: feral, an animal,

 

And the bright red lamp 

That leads me.

 

 

 

NATURE MORT 


Bathing his godly body

In a white tub of ice.

 

Damage, and a petrol 

Of dead black flowers.

 

The sweet pollution 

Of what God he thought

 

He took in. 

Hustler of the glossy edge,

 

Bright germ of dreg

Searing its way

 

Through the blue cathedral

Of his mind.

 

 

TIME OF THE WOLF 


The wailing of women 

Was like a procession of voices.

 

The orphan took two pieces of wood 

And connected them with twine 

To form a makeshift cross.

 

Then we watched as the men with torches

Moved forward on their horses, 

Through the night’s black ocean, like ships.

 

 

GUIDEBOOKS FOR THE DEAD 


I pull the bell on the string at the gate

Then all the demons came. 


Where is the coat

God gave me: 


Long and mink 

And to save me. 


Under the blue awning 

Of the shelter in the rain. 


Beneath the shadow 

Of the cathedral.


I’m riding the same train

As my father now. 


And how I love

The white hiss of prayer and magic.