Zero

The Iowa Review - - NEWS - Cyn­thia cruz

Birth is the first death.

Re­moved, like a blind wet seal, from that black gelati­nous not-know­ing. Not noth­ing­ness.

The empti­ness that is not. Empti­ness, not sound­less, but un­der­wa­ter like an end­less whir. The deep blue-black of the pre-ver­bal, the ooze and glut of not. Of not-know­ing, of the lan­guage of drunken stu­por.

I came into this world like ev­ery­one: an­i­mal, slick with shit and death and birth and brine and excess. Gelati­nous.

Out of the gum, the yawn, a tooth­less­ness. With­out words, be­fore lan­guage.

The mouth, al­ways hun­gry, al­ways mov­ing, teeth grind­ing, the mouth, al­ways telling some­thing, al­ways, al­ways eat­ing. Its tiny white teeth, an an­i­mal’s, grind­ing the meat, swal­low­ing, and al­ways tak­ing more in.

Be­fore fear be­fore know­ing, no knowl­edge, a song that never stops.

Like al­co­holic stu­por, an id­iot’s reverie, the body be­fore, the mind still asleep in the sweet bruise of deep slum­ber.

Feed­ing, ever feed­ing, on more—the meat of knowl­edge, the meat of knowl­edge, grind­ing to get at the core of know­ing, know­ing, know­ing.

This is where paint­ing comes in—mak­ing with­out a body. Paint­ing— body­less and child­like, smear­ing the pink, chalk-like paint on the blank walls. Smear­ing and gum­ming, ex­cre­tions of sil­ver and gold glit­ter into the wet goo, into the bleed of bril­liant white and black oint­ment.

Lan­guage-less, the body. Us­ing the body as in­stru­ment, as means. Voice­less, sound­less, with­out speech the mind fi­nally qui­ets, re­turns to its mol­lusk-like slum­ber. Its an­i­mal.

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