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:
ME:WOO HOO PHILLIES
GO PHILLIES GO GO GO!!
AG:HEY BUDDY WHAT
THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU IT’S THE SUPERBOWL!!
ME:YEAH MAN I KNOW,
WOO HOO HOO HOOOOO GO PHILLIES!!
AG:DUDE ARE YOU
ME:What?HEY MAN this is PHILADELPHIA YOU CAN’T DISS
THE PHILLIES WHEN YOU’RE IN PHILADELPHIA!!
AG:I ROOT FOR THE
PHILLIES WHEN IT’S BASEBALL SEASON DUDE!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is an honor to have been selected as one of the 2015 Headlands resident artists! Click HERE for details on my RESURRECTEXTINCT 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!
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
In 2013 I was accepted into the MacDowell Colony.Each day before writing I would smear sage
ashon 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
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
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.
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"
RESURRECT EXTINCT VIBRATION: 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 email@example.com
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.
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
in the MEANTIME
I'm driving to Tucson starting Monday, August 11
reading John Wieners poems at truck stops
in men's rooms
reading to as many folks as I can find in our beautiful country
and getting signatures for this petition
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.
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
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.
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.
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