Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Five Days of Bleeding

Five Days of Bleeding

Five Days of Bleeding
by Ricardo Cortez Cruz

Price: $9.95


Five Days of Bleeding is the black experience in sound, a fight to dance and celebrate cultural roots, and the struggle of a dark homeless woman, Zu-Zu Girl, to have voice in White America.

Taunted by the violent character "Chops," Zu-Zu sings to keep her spirit alive in New York City's Central Park. Zu-Zu and the novel's narrator have a relationship which is transformed into a stormy, dreamlike urban affair. Their oppressive situation is depicted through multiple collages of sound and image, a funky mix of original and sampled cuts, both literary and musical.

The social chaos around them is remixed in a text consisting of street beats, classic breaks, and fresh-cool cadences. Bleeding proves that the loudest noises of moral panic can be gunshots, to be sure, but they can also be the very human sound of the music of hope and despair.

"Ricardo Cortez Cruz maneuvers through the dark side of life, droppin' pop references galore that stream into the reader's consciousness, creating an ill landscape of surreal horror that's wicked (and amazingly humorous) flipside to our own reality. Beneath the hyperreal texture of each outlandish scenario, Five Days of Bleeding resonates with an urgency rarely found anywhere nowadays, except for Hip-Hop." —Gabriel Alvarez, senior editor of Rap Pages

"If Grandmaster Flash, Jimi Hendrix, and Jacob Lawrence were to write a novel, you'd have a piece very similar to Ricardo Cortez Cruz's." —Reggie Osse, The Source

"Cruz is a kind of literary Michael Jordan whose verbal 'moves' combine power, speed, and grace, and whose narrative skills include being able to start a scene one way and then unexpectedly change directions." —Larry McCaffery, editor of Avant-Pop

"Five Days of Bleeding is urban folktale told in the syncopated rhythms of black-vaudeville patter. Cruz has got his hip-hop chops; but, behind him, you can hear Charlie Mingus plucking on an upright bass. This is a novel to be sung aloud. Pop your fingers, people." —Darius James, author of Negrophobia


Purple Haze

I sucked my joint, blue-faced, dragging like Jimi Hendrix with a guitar pick hanging over a bottomed-out lip. In the moist night air, we smoked all the grass we could find. Nigger heaven became a smoked-up black skillet holding the earth together, my girl Zu-Zu toiling in the soil though she really wasn't my girl. The clouds around our faces were pasta-red. Like mobsters, we sucked on reefers as if they were puffy spaghetti and macaroni.

As we looked beyond the haze, everything seemed blue. The earth was shapeless, chaotic mass with the spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors, niggas strutting around on The Chronic and dressed like starving artists. Some super thin brother even claimed he did J.J.'s paintings in Good Times; he swore that the lighted bomb in his mouth was dynomite.

I watched the brother stagger away, then turned and looked at Zu-Zu. Like the rest, she was dope and stir-crazy.