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July 12, 2022

Phosphorescent material can store the absorbed light energy for some time and release light later, resulting in an afterglow that persists after the light has been switched off.

In a sea of stars, algae suspended in water appears, long after the midnight oil is spent, with a flicker, words emit light.
Phosphorescence reminds me of poetry.

Phosphorescence by Cynthia Cruz

Photographs of photographs and Polaroids
of stacks of books on fragments
and photographs and pamphlets
on letters sent and imminent
collisions. What the body does not know
it wants. And the mind.
In the song I wrote,
I said I wanted to be
like you, but then
I pulled back.
I am afraid most of the time
of my own intensity.
Not its kinesis, its brilliant light
and energy, but that it might
frighten you.
I have tried my whole life
to contain it, hold it
back. Make myself
into the perfect song,
the most contained
poem. But now I am
letting go of all that.
I have taken to photographing
my every moment
in an attempt to locate
the place where I lost myself.
When the body and the mind conflate
or, rather, when the body and language.
That is the moment I have been waiting for.

Cynthia Cruz was born on a US Air Force Base in Germany and grew up in Northern California.

“Cruz exposes that glorious hell that is having a history, having a body, remembering everything and trying to make something good of it.” – Brenda Shaughnessy

Cynthia Cruz is the author of six collections of poems and a volume of critical essays. She has published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines.

Cruz about the madness in her work

We are all mad, it’s simply a matter of where we are on that continuum. My mind is what saved me, as a child. Thank God, I was able to vanish into the world of my mind. But, conversely, it can also be a dangerous thing. The mind can play tricks. Was Joan of Arc mad? Simone Weil? Glenn Gould? Where’s the line between bravery and honesty and genius and madness? Sometimes it overlaps. I suffered from anorexia for many years (from the age of eleven) and that is quite certainly a kind of madness. My mind told me things that quite simply were not true. I had to fight against my mind. – Cynthia Cruz


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  1. A refreshing topic! What a magical effect light storing energy and then bursts into the spectacular!
    Thank you for the introduction to Cynthia Cruz. I will have to look up her poetry.

    • Refreshing, I like that. Such a powerful word to contemplate. What’s more, it is always fascinating what the poet makes of it. Most times one is introduced to a new way of understanding.
      Thank you for reading.

    • yes – thank you for this introduction, Abi! How did you first discover her?


      • Researching poetry about light, specifically phospherence light and mental health.
        You are welcome.
        Thank you for reading. ❤

      • I’m struggling with the spelling

  2. The words you chose are truly wonderful and this is such a wonderful subject and introduction to Cynthia Cruz abvr. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Thanks for reading dear. I’m sure you will find the light in her poetry. Fascinated by the subject too, especially expressed as thd afterglow. It shimmers inside of all of us and when all the lights are out, the afterglow mesmerizes uniquely💛💛

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