148.1: Conchitina Cruz:: Here & Letter to the Stranger
24 June 2013
In my friend Andy’s apartment, I read a poem. In Chicago, I drink a Singapore Sling. This has little to do with Chicago or with Singapore, except that Andy is in Chicago, I’m in Chicago, and Andy is a tiki drink aficionado. Such is the way in which place is revealed and considered in Conchitina Cruz’s “Here.” Indeed, for a poem in which travel is a given, the poet gives priority to the self and its actions rather than the exotic destinations (which, to be fair, are mingled with pedestrian locales like the coffee shop and the elevator). The self is the subject of each sentence; the location is mere object and occasional stage direction. In this way, Cruz eschews the rote travel narrative that rises out of privilege—the Eat-Pray-Love-and-You-Can-Too narrative.