Cynthia Kraman, Poetry Flash Advisory Board
Cynthia Kraman has
published three books of poetry, most recently Taking on
the Local Color (Wesleyan University Press). Her work has been
anthologized in New York: Poems (Avon), Renegades (Cross
Cut Saw) and Rain in the Forest, Light in the Trees, Contemporary
Poetry from the Northwest (Owl Creek Press) and appears regularly in
The Paris Review, The Western Humanities Review and Poetry Flash,
to which she also contributes essays and reviews. Cynthia Kraman was
also lead singer and song writer with Richard Riggins for the punk/new
wave band Chinas Comidas, opening for The Ramones in their
homebase, Seattle, and performing across America with bands including
X., The Plugz, Black Flag, and The Dead Kennedys. Chinas Comidas
will release a long-awaited CD this spring. Cynthia Kraman is also
author of "Communities of Otherness in Chaucer's Knight's Tale"
in Medieval Women and Their Communities (UP Wales) and "Body and
Soul: Pearl and Apocalyptic Literature in Time and Eternity:
the Medieval Discourse (Brepols). She is possibly the only
poet listed in Contemporary Authors; Poets & Writers: A
Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers, Millennial Edition
(2001); Who's Who Among America's Teachers 2004;
International Directory of Medievalists (Brepols, 2004): and
Seattle's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
How Painful is Birth,
for Poets Too
"The heart stops."
Overheard once on the street—
The doctor, with her stethoscope and whites.
But long before, the brain is dead. That's true.
I saw my neighbor's husband die last week.
He breathed awhile after his brain was gone
And other organs, one by one they went
And then the heart, old trooper. It stopped too.
But on the other side of that long haul
Begins another process: Lighting up.
A cigarette. Having a coffee. Shots
Of something acrid, acid, something hard
Like loss and pain, like illness, like a wound
Or dread or death or any killing news
And there you go: gestation, birth, the wail
Of words on paper. Orderly and fixed
They stand up on the warped and wobbling page.
And then the pleasure—ah! I made it go
Without a beating heart I made it go!
I made it make a new and better heart!
A language heart, eternal. But it runs
On that old thumping, dying, human, heart.