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  • Fragment: After Ida, and: Felt, and: Schöna, and: The Reason
  • Cynthia Cruz (bio)

Fragment: After Ida

In the black and white Polish filmin which the beautiful localplays the nun. In Warsaw,she meets her aunt, once powerful,now alcoholic, who directs her to hertrue past. I am struggling with understandingunsure which past is mine.In the film in the scenewhere the actress wears her deadaunt’s dresses and heelsafter the aunt has killed herself.I am inside that moment,the split in the seamin which almost anything can happen.When she drinks the liquorthe world falls opens,as when she hears the musicplaying rooms away.I don’t know what futureor past, or whose film roleI should step into.I only know the body is notwhat I thought. And the mindis just a dumb machinethat makes small traces.In the film in the scene in whichthe actress returns to the conventand the camera pulls away. [End Page 7] 8 prairie schoonerThere is a rip, a mar,an error that occurs,but only off screen.That break, that spacebetween, is the momentwhen it all begins.


Dresden is halfway to Pragueand Prague is halfway to Kiev.But Kiev is halfway to Lvovor Lviv, which is wheremy grandfather’s father comes from.I don’t know what he leftwhen he left that cityor, what occurred to him insidewhen he was madeto change his name. I don’t knowwhere he came from,the man I met on the train,or what his name was.But we sat in strict silencefor hours so thatwhen we arrived in the UkraineI felt I genuinely knew him.What is the porcelain lightthat exists inside silence.And how were we ableto swallow and then enterits warm and subtle bellsat the entrance to thatone majestic and yetslightly chemicalnight. [End Page 8]


You are an empty vessel,Sabine says. So take everything in.But how do I make myself vacant.Outside the city of Dresdenthe mountains are miraculousin that they exist as strangebut beautiful chalk-like formations.They arise from no placelike an apparition. How do I knowwhat is real and what is notI asked her and she said, Youtell yourself you don’t knowto confuse yourself. But you do.Wittgenstein, perhaps due to his familyand their vast cruelties,spent his entire life tryingto find the perfect equation,truth as a numerical solution.A poem is alchemicallike magic or tarot.In other words, the wordsin this poem are performative.What I say to you, in this poem,will happen, is happening,as I say the words. After today,I am only an empty vessel.A series of glass vitrines, endlessrooms, or an emptied outarchive. I will take everything in.Collect, and contain, devour and swallowevery single bell of light and allof your trembling cells of sorrow. [End Page 9] 10 prairie schoonerHere, even, now you can try it:open your mouthand feed me your vowels,sweet in their magnificence,radical and terrible.Watch as I transform, then vanishbefore you.

The Reason

In Prague, in the church of the holyspirit, a hidden record playeris playing Turandot. On the lowstage are two pale-pink chairs,a microphone stand and, at the edgea crimson velvet curtain.When the non-actress who playsthe nun in Pawe™ Pawlikowski’s filmIda, hears the music playingfrom her small hotel room,she is drawn to the small stagenear the bar, two stories down.Off camera, she watches the band,mesmerized. As the music entersher body, she is changed. On the stagea beautiful woman is singing.She is the other version of the nunwhose name is Wanda, but whosereal name is Ida. Her aunt is anotherdouble, one more version of whoshe might become. In the blackand white photograph of EdieSedgwick in the Factory...


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