Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New (Soma)tic poetry book

MANY THANKS to artist Jason Dodge
for publishing my new book 
poems I wrote about my
boyfriend Earth's (aka Mark's)
murder in Tennessee
R.I.P. dear man

Monday, February 2, 2015


I went to a sports bar during SUPERBOWL SUNDAY wearing a Phillies baseball cap and ordered vodka with orange juice.  Every once in awhile I would raise a fist and yell “GO PHILLIES!”  At first people around my table murmured.  Then I was told to shut up while taking my notes for the poem.  I was waiting for the person in the room who would confront me and I finally found him.  AG = Angry Man:








Some of the others had been waiting for the brave man to confront me so they could be louder with their condemnation.  THESE were the men I wanted to look at, the weak ones, the bottom feeders who need someone with more nerve to step forward and speak for them before they open their mouths.  A brave man has never once frightened me.  Weak men are the danger, always seeking ways to hide their cowardice at the expense of others.  And there they were, all around me, and it was just like old times.  I held out my hand to the brave man and thanked him.  “YOU’RE THANKING ME!?”  “Yeah, thank you.”  He shook his head, “Okay man.”  I took more notes and my notes became a poem. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

#119-A: Denzel Quartz

Celebrity Crystals is a (Soma)tic poetry ritual where clear quartz gems absorb several full-length films of a celebrity, and are then stored in a box lined with their photos. Denzel Washington quartz is underway, currently soaking in the images and sounds of the 2010 film THE BOOK OF ELI.

Friday, January 23, 2015

#118: Déjà Vu Bus Ride

For over a decade I would see her on the bus or in the vegetable shop near my apartment, always looking at everyone and everything, never on the phone or listening to music.  One of those rare people who is truly present, I would see her see me and when I smiled she always returned the smile.  We have observed people and things together for years, but never met, never talked, not once.  We have never heard one another speak.  In my journals I refer to her as my déjà vu friend because seeing her destabilizes my reality the way déjà vu will do.

While house sitting in Philadelphia after many months of being on the road I went to my old neighborhood in search of her.  She was waiting for the number 21 bus and it was the first time I was getting on with her deliberately.  I didn’t want to break our pattern and introduce myself, so instead I occupied the space as a fellow observer of the world.  I took notes for the poem while studying the many hair wraps, shirt collars, and a myriad of expressions often in the same face.  After a few blocks our eyes met as usual but she not only smiled she nodded.  When I returned the nod my smile was one of my favorites because it was for my déjà vu friend.  She got off the bus at 36th Street and I continued to write and observe to 69th Street.

poems in Cosmonauts Avenue

Click HERE for 3 poems from 
my (Soma)tic poetry ritual
MANY THANKS to the editors!

Friday, January 2, 2015

#117: MoMA’s Office of Paranormal Activity

Poet Kenny Goldsmith invited me to perform at the Museum of Modern Art, but instead of squandering the time and space on YET ANOTHER poetry reading I turned it into a writing performance ritual for new poems.  After calling a few talented friends to help me I went to work.  Everything was invented, including the poem that resulted, titled SLAVES OF HOPE LIVE ONLY FOR TOMORROW. I downloaded the MoMA masthead from an online press release and created a flyer to hand out in the main lobby:  A MoMA EXCLUSIVE, 12:30pm TODAY!  THE REINCARNATED SOUL OF FUTURIST PAINTER GIACOMO BALLA IN THE JOAN AND PRESTON GALLERY ON THE 6TH FLOOR!  PRONTO!  INTRODUCED BY CAConrad. 

Two security guards tried to stop me from handing out the flyers.  I said, “But I work for MoMA’s Office of Paranormal Activities.”  They said, “There is NO such office!”  I said, “It’s in the basement, a little like X Files for art.”  They were much angrier than necessary and were ready to throw me to the sidewalk when Kenny intervened just in time to assure them that this was part of my performance.  I am not complaining at all by the way as the one guard was quite handsome, his beautiful flaring nostrils showing that he was ready for ACTION, ready to put me in my place!  How thrilling!

At 12:30 a large crowd gathered.  “Thank you all for coming, my name is CAConrad and I am the director of the Office of Paranormal Activity at MoMA.  I was first hired after the 2008 Wall Street collapse when many of the paintings in this particular gallery were found stacked neatly in the corner each morning.  Security camera footage shows the paintings floating across the room, most likely carried by the disturbed souls of recently departed millionaires.  After our successful exorcism I wanted to preserve the integrity and viability of my office so I found new projects for my staff.  One project was to search for the reincarnated soul of Balla whose paintings surround us today in this gallery as part of the Inventing Abstraction exhibition.  It proved to be our most challenging project
to date.  After exhausting the efforts of several psychics we asked MoMA friend and Andy Warhol Superstar Penny Arcade for help.”  I turned to Penny who waved.  “Thank you so much Penny for putting us in touch with your psychic friend in Belize who was our big breakthrough.  He told us that the reincarnated soul of Futurist painter Giacomo Balla was right here in New York City all along.  He is now a poet living in Brooklyn named Ariana Reines!  Please welcome Ariana!”

Ariana walked from the applauding crowd to join me where I asked her what she thought of her paintings from her previous life as Balla.  She said, “Oh I’m a much better poet in this life than I was a painter in that one.”  A few audience members mumbled their disapproval of the poet daring to measure her different lifetimes of art in public.  I said, “MoMA Honorary Chairman David Rockefeller was so excited when we finally found you that he and the board of trustees have graciously offered to let you take one of your paintings back home with you.  Which one would you like?”  She shrugged and said, “Well I don’t really like them, but the diamond shaped one is nice I suppose.”  I said, “Well let’s get that off the wall and wrap it up for you.”  When I walked toward the painting the handsome nostril flaring guard shook his head with a scowl.  I said, “Ariana Reines is also a healer.  Is there anyone here today who needs healing?”  The poet Stephen Boyer popped up in a BEAUTIFUL dress he made with plastic flowers from the dollar store.  Ariana had him lie on the floor below her painting she painted in 1903.  She instructed me to work with her to heal Stephen, doing a beautiful dance with her hands over his head and body, an energy work not unlike Reiki, chanting.  What a marvelous experience and I feel very fortunate to know the talented poets that I do, the kind of people who augment the spirit with their very presence.  Notes notes notes, I took notes, and the notes became a poem.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


It is an honor to have been selected as one of the 2015 Headlands resident artists!  Click HERE for details on my RESURRECT EXTINCT VIBRATION (Soma)tic poetry project.  

I love that they used my Montawk Crystal grid for my page's banner.  The green and yellow stone to the far left is Peruvian Jade WHICH I ADORE!

Monday, December 22, 2014


for Belinda Schmid & David C. Welch

In 1998 my boyfriend Mark Holmes gave me a clear quartz crystal before he went to Tennessee to tend gardens with a community of artists.  It was the last time I would see him alive.  He was bound, raped, covered in gasoline and burned to death.  I spoke with him on the phone several days before his murder and he told me about a cave he found for meditation, the very cave where his murderers would kill him.  The police ruled his death a suicide and refused to investigate, and many of our mutual friends believed the police, but the coroner and paramedics have always disagreed which is why the word “victim” is on his death certificate.

Delinquent Films is making a documentary about my books and life and they also agree that Mark was murdered.  More than fifteen years after his brutal death it is a documentary about POETRY that will now force an investigation so that Mark’s murderers can finally be brought to justice.  The day I left the filmmaker’s apartment after being told they agree with me about Mark’s homicide I felt lighter and burst into tears on the train ride home.  For years people thought I was crazy, that the police would never act the way they did.

In 2013 I was accepted into the MacDowell Colony.  Each day before writing I would smear sage ash on my forehead and meditate with the crystal Mark gave me.  Alone with the vivid falling leaves I would sit on a rock with my crystal and notebook, staring into the forest, locking eyes on the trunk of a distant tree.  Suddenly after a few minutes of staring, every falling leaf could be seen moving at once.  This is how I would write in the shadow of Mount Monadnock.  One day I saw something other than leaves move; it was a bobcat watching me from a boulder.  We sat looking at each other for a few minutes before she walked into the forest.  That night I dreamed I woke inside a tree, the wood surrounding me was a warm, fibrous silk and I could hear the sap moving inside a soft steady heartbeat. 

On the full moon my dear friend Elizabeth Kirwin communicated with me hundreds of miles away through rose quartz under the moon.  She also knew and loved Mark and wanted to visit me during the writing ritual on a shaft of light.  I had made dinner for the three of us the night he gave me the crystal.  I love and miss him and the rogue gardens we planted in abandoned Philadelphia lots and riverbanks.  After his murder I had a movie in my head, one that I played over and over on a loop of a courtroom where the murderers were standing trial.  In the movie I’m always angry while staring at the backs of their heads, angry at the police, angry with everyone who said Mark’s death was a suicide no matter how ridiculous and impossible the idea of his death being a suicide had seemed.

The most unexpected thing happened after several weeks of my crystal meditation.  The angry courtroom fantasy movie in my head vanished, it suddenly stopped, and it continues to be a relief to no longer vent anger toward anonymous, faceless people the police refused to track down.  From 1988 to 1998 I was macrobiotic, but when Mark was murdered in 1998 I stopped taking care of myself.  I was still a vegetarian, but a very unhealthy one.  My low-grade depression is lifting and I am happier and have since returned to being vegan and healthier.  My notes from this (Soma)tic poetry ritual became a serial poem titled SHARKING OF THE BIRDCAGE.  I am grateful to everyone who is helping heal this inconceivably brutal injustice.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


for Anne Boyer

On a long flight I created a (Soma)tic ritual for my extraordinary friend Anne Boyer, but I only allowed myself 10-minutes to come up with the ritual once I boarded the plane AND I was forbidden to use former ideas I’ve developed on planes.  In the rear of the jet was an EXIT sign, the letters cut into a metal plate with a red light shining from behind.  Throughout the flight I would walk to the sign and SLAM my head against the letters, starting with E.  Each time I would steal a beverage or almonds or cookies and I had to share them with the stranger next to me.

It was my lucky day as the man next to me never shut up and no matter what I threw into the conversation he was game.  At first he annoyed me, but soon enough I became fond of his long stories about asbestos.  SLAM the E, “When E was first invented why did they shape it like that?”  He answered, “E is for Elephant!”  I said, “E is for ELVIS!”  YES we both said YES ELVIS.  He enjoyed my theft of cookies and tiny bottles of rum.  SLAM the X, SLAM the I, missed the I, did it again, SLAM the T.  He answered T was for the crucifix.  Why, I asked.  “Because Christ is our savior.”  “Oh, I see, it’s like that is it, JESUS, we need to bring him up DO WE?”  We both laughed because in the end it was clear I didn’t mind his flux of Jesus as we drank our rum and talked of asbestos and Elvis and the shapes the alphabet has rendered us all for centuries FULLY COOKED HUMAN BRAINS.  My notes became a poem titled, "HE CALLED ME A MORBID SON OF A BITCH AND IT GAVE ME PAUSE"

Sunday, November 23, 2014


8 new (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals
& resulting poems
for details

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual
By CAConrad

(Soma)tic writing rituals provide a window into the creative viability of everything around us, initiating an extreme present. This new ritual will be customized to the winner of the Bombay Gin fundraiser as well as dedicated to them. The sound of a favorite extinct animal and how to return the vibration of that sound to the world around us is the foundation of the ritual. CA sends his love to Bombay Gin, Boulder, and the magic that is Naropa.

To place a bid on this for the November 13th auction please contact Ella Longpre at bgin@naropa.edu

Monday, September 22, 2014

9 (Soma)tics for FLYING OBJECT

handmade letter press chapbooks

9 (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals for
Hadley, Massachusetts


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#105: HANNAH WEINER Double Life

Flying Object (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual 1 of 9

Poet Hannah Weiner saw words on foreheads, and so we will honor her poetic perceptions today. Poet Eileen Myles tells the story of attending a party years ago in New York City and seeing Hannah Weiner across the crowded room. Myles thought to herself, “I wonder if she sees words on my forehead right now?” Weiner looked at her, walked across the room and said, “I see no words on your forehead Eileen.” The poet, the psychic, the prophet, we give these words to you.

Blue lace agate is a gemstone used to expand and intensify communication faculties. Borrow one of the pieces from the table at Flying Object and walk to a bookshelf. Turn to page 36 of a random book, choose a word on the page then use the stone to write the word on your forehead. Do this 36 times with 36 different books; the number 36 depicting the ancient signifier for Double Life. Pause every ninth time to take notes for your poem. Take the notes as fast as you can, allowing the experience of the ritual to wash over you, writing faster than you can even think about what you are writing.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New One & THIS TIME with John Wieners POEMS!!!!

so the cops shut me down on the Alaska (Soma)tic at the airport
they ran me off
I came back, they ran me off again
the 3rd time they cuffed me and searched me in a special little room
PLAN B for ALASKA coming soon

I'm driving to Tucson starting Monday, August 11
reading John Wieners poems at truck stops
in men's rooms
in diners
reading to as many folks as I can find in our beautiful country
and getting signatures for this petition

Thursday, July 17, 2014


(Soma)tic Poetry Ritual Response To
Art of Its Own Making
for the Pulitzer Foundation

  Thinking within strict limits is stifling.
--Christian Bök

The Mona Lisa was wrapped in fine red satin and sealed in a specially designed wooden box before being transported to the countryside in 1939.  Art in the middle of war needs dedicated stewards to keep it hidden from invaders.  Even with the most trusted well-trained people a museum’s curators and other staff can fall prey to enemy gunfire, poison gas or drone attacks.  You are in the museum alone at night and the staff’s dead bodies are stacked in the basement.  You have a chance to save one piece of art before the looting begins, what do you save?  What are your criteria for choosing which to save, because it’s the most valuable, the most popular, because it’s your favorite, or what?  Take notes.

(Soma)tic poetry rituals provide a window into the creative viability of everything around us, initiating an extreme present.  Documentary notes are not important; in fact the movements we make inside the ritual inform the way the notes come out of us, no need for exacting detail.  Take notes as fast as you can, faster than you can think about what you are writing.  Later type the notes into a single document, print it out then carry it around to extract lines and words to shape your poem.  Approach your chosen work of art, thinking about the safest way to remove it from its mount on the wall or floor.  What tools do you imagine needing?  Stop to take more notes.  You will live with it hidden in your attic or as a lover under the covers next to you.  How will it feel seeing this coveted object each day?  Take notes.

Create a password for your hidden art by first choosing an ancient god or goddess.  What is your favorite home appliance?  Think of the nights you turn them all on to sit and listen in the dark for the most pleasing of the chorus.  Combine the god to the appliance, like Jupiter Egg Beater.  Take notes.  Go into a stall in one of the museum restrooms and write the password onto your naked flesh.  Take notes.  Write it again harder, then harder.  Take more notes.  Walk up to a stranger and say the password.  Just say it.  How do they react?  Take more notes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Future Wilderness (Soma)tic Pt.2: ALASKA

my suitcase packed and ready to go I WILL BE THERE FOR 7 HOURS A DAY FOR 7 DAYS writing for this new (Soma)tic poetry ritual or until I get a ticket and go directly to security to check my bag of clean socks crystals rice cakes MUJI pens and notepads ONE WAY OR THE OTHER I WILL WRITE POEMS FOR MY FUTURE WILDERNESS PROJECT which is the followup to my new book ECODEVIANCE forthcoming in September

Friday, July 4, 2014

celebrating Hoa Nguyen & GHOSTS

for Scryer's Invitation
(Soma)tic Ritual
and poem

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#103: Calling Across the Watermelon Field For You

Titling Yuh-Shioh Wong’s Paintings

We met in Marfa, Texas when I was on a Lannan Fellowship and Yuh-Shioh was painting in Marfa Book Company’s gallery provided by Tim Johnson. Murder Prevention was how I thought of her work when watching brows soften on anyone who walked into the gallery. All who visited felt the soft penetrating light of her paintings enter us to recalibrate our tools for examining the human condition. She shows us art can provide autonomous worldviews beyond formally designed perimeters of culture, letting us be free in the internal terra incognito.

We became friends and on one trip to an ancient petroglyph cave we were looking at bite marks on cactus made by javelinas. I said, “Javelinas are made out of cactus because that’s what they eat.” She asked if she could name one of her paintings this. A few months later when I was on a Tripwire residency provided by David Buuck in Oakland, Yuh-Shioh invited me to her house in Berkeley to name the other paintings from the new Marfa collection.

We spent eight hours with Yuh-Shioh bringing paintings out one at a time, perched on rocks against the
wall. I would meditate with cactus quartz, known as a collaboration stone, then hand it to her as I approached the painting with my deck of Dakini Oracle tarot cards, rosemary, lavender and Mercury’s fennel sprig in my hair. We built the concentration, always in the room together, and I would stand with the cards close to the painting, then cut the deck nine times. Of the sixty-five cards, only five kept repeating, and I would sit at my computer to begin hammering out a block of text. The title usually appeared at the end of a text block. I would read it aloud and it always connected. For instance, “framing vapor of the departed” came at the end of a text block and Yuh-Shioh explained that this painting was created after an encounter with a ghost in the house where she was staying in Marfa. The eight hours we spent for the titling ritual was the opposite of draining as we burned Palo Santo wood chips and used Steve Halpern’s DEEP THETA music as a trance vehicle. It was an honor to collaborate with an artist creating some of the most astonishing paintings I have ever felt enter me to transform me.

Title samples:
writing the letter of your life in the clearing

flying over the transmutation of the quiet

stethoscope to the petroglyph

the horns in the distance when we leave for the mountains

thinking with the longbow

bending the muscle of light