Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BEE Alliance

MANY THANKS TO TC Tolbert for publishing this 
new (Soma)tic poetry ritual and resulting poem 

(one of THE BEST THINGS i ever saw in this 
shitty world was a wild horse who never knew
the feel of a buckled saddle on her back)

Friday, October 2, 2015

#123: Bee Alliance

Lavender, roses, dandelions, squash blossoms, honeysuckle, sitting by flowers is where I waited for the bees.  My fingertips to their vibrating furriness, lightly brushing them, giving them some love as they tirelessly work for their queen.  I have been greeting not denying my gray hairs, my wrinkling, loosening skin of my half-century vehicle of flesh.  Dear Fred, I am forever seeking the strength to deserve poetry and if I do not have it some mornings I pretend I have it until I believe I have it and then I have it.  I took notes for the poem.

I pressed the tip of my tongue to the back of a large bumblebee and fell into the grass with eyes closed to savor the taste.  Blotches on my skin, waning sperm count, weakening eye sight, looking in the mirror, “I am made of billions of cells and we are now half way (or more than half way) through the magic of being alive together.  We will leave this world while living by the strength of poems.”  There is a mirror, flowers to smell, bees to pet and taste, and more notes for the poem.

Dear Fred, sometimes trees clear as I drive along rivers and I glimpse the veins of our planet pouring over boulders with green scum and fish.  Anne Boyer taught me the Latin for “learn to die” and I shout to the water “DISCITE MORI!  DISCITE MORI!”  Bloodletting rivers of us cavort downhill in a world of distraction.  Behind a Frito Lay truck, imagining the delicious Frito corn chips in boxes and crates as I pass him on the left to catch his beautiful smile.

Dear Fred, sometimes the bees out here taste like an insecticide a poet wrote the advertising jingle for.  Taking notes for a poem, aging each second.  Horses and new colts race past a patch of wild violets I found on a clump of sun-warmed earth.  This is when I found a hive.  I could hear them at first.  They must have known I was completely at ease, landing on my eyebrows and toes, dancing, but no stings.  My final goal was to have sex near a hive but my boyfriend Rich backed out at the last minute.  I placed an add, “Queer seeks man for sex next to beehive.”  Some responders said they would have sex with me in the woods, but minus the beehive, and one said I sounded weird and he had to meet me.  So I was on my own, masturbating next to the purring honeycomb. They were curious of my activity dancing on my shoulders and thighs, but no stings.  It took me five decades to have sex with bees.  That’s too long to wait.  My notes became a poem about horses titled “Bug I Love You.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Soma)tic Ritual Collaborations

We poets have been the ugly cousins of the arts for years, painters asking us to write poems serenading their paintings.   Collaboration can mean creating together, but it can also mean being a traitor and working with the enemy.  Let us honor the first of these definitions.

(Soma)tic Rituals can fuse with any artistic discipline.  For instance, the poet creates half the ritual, the painter the other half.  The two halves are then combined to make one ritual we both perform together to write and paint.  I have created (Soma)tic rituals to collaborate with such artists as Candice Lin, Yuh-Shioh Wong, Jonas Slonacker, and others.

Here is an example.  The poet and the painter deposit letters for one another inside newspaper boxes on opposite sides of a street.  We wave to one another then begin reading the letters, which explain the ways we would like to die.  Found in the morning on the floor of a boat after being impaled in the chest by a swordfish while night fishing.  Or fragment of my bloody shirt found after having sex with lions.  We read our letters then begin writing or painting in view of each other. 

An hour later we meet in the middle of the street to embrace and dance the Foxtrot with the painter leading, then switching with the poet leading.  We return to write and paint within view of one another.  The experiential collaboration of (Soma)tic Rituals has infinite possibilities and there is no reason for poets to ever again subjugate ourselves to other artists.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Felix Bernstein interviewed me for The New Museum on Speculative art and praxis

What’s death and destruction got to do with your art?

“From Whitman to WalMart” is a new poem I am writing where I start at Whitman’s doorstep viewing him as head cheerleader of empire with his essays calling African Americans “baboons” and his poem for the western pioneers written during the great extermination of Native Americans.  80% of WalMart stores allow sleeping overnight in their parking lots, which I do, meeting homeless families stretching across America, the true results of Whitman’s love of Manifest Destiny.  I show Whitman’s writing as the original TV commercial hiding the true body of unbridled greed that continues to destroy everyone and everything in its path.  I refer to myself as an intestinal expatriate poet.

“Resurrect Extinct Vibration” is another new poem.  In this one I saturate myself with field recordings of recently extinct birds and animals while taking long naps on the earth across America.  I begin writing as soon as I wake, but in the sleeping I return the vibrations of these creatures to my cells, viewing a degraded ecology as vibrational absence along with its poisoned air, water and soil.  In September 2014 the World Wildlife Fund’s biennial “planet index report” claims 52% of wild animals have vanished in the past three decades.  I am accepting and recording the sixth mass extinction currently underway.

Since 2006 I have stopped cutting my hair as both a reminder that my nation is at war and to use as a measuring device for the latest body count for a long poem now over 3,000 pages long.  We are currently bombing six nations simultaneously where we were bombing two when I started.  

To directly answer your question: everything.  I am a queer American who had a boyfriend I loved but someone bound, gagged, tortured and raped him, then covered him in gasoline and burned him to death.  His name was Mark.  He changed his name to Earth.  He was beautiful.  Do not forget this.  The artist Jason Dodge published my serial poem about this that you can read to not forget at

What’s philosophy got to do with your art?

Well I believe poetry is strong enough.  The power of poetry has not failed me like it has failed some poets in recent decades who hoist philosophy to buttress the poem.  It feels misogynistic in a way, like poetry is too feminine, too weak, needs a man’s ideas to move forward.  Love philosophy -- go ahead, I’m not an anti-intellectual I simply don’t need it to make poetry appear more vigorous.

Sigmund Freud said, “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”  Not philosopher, but poet.  And you can have whatever feelings you want about Freud but no one can disagree that he changed how we view the landscape of human emotion and the origins of feeling.  “Everywhere I go” is bold.  It’s direct and from a man who was as careful with his words as a poet.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


In a Kansas field I spent several hours burying my feet in the soil while listening to the insects, birds and cars on the highway beyond the trees.  I was born January 1st 1966 at the 838th Tactical Hospital, Forbes Air Force Base of Topeka Kansas.  My mother said the doctor held me by my ankles and announced, “ANOTHER FINE SOLDIER FOR JESUS!”  And I say FUCK YOU to those first words said to me!  My mother ate food grown on this land when I was inside her; we drank from the same aquifer, the sky was as big as it is today.  I took notes for the poem. I dug a hole and deposited shit, piss, vomit, blood, phlegm, hair, skin, fingernails, semen and tears, and in that order. I apologized for being alive.

I apologized for the animals I shot and killed to prove I could provide dinner.  I apologized for having no answers on how to stop the hyper-militarized police on the streets of America while the US military is on the streets of Arab nations. I apologized for paying taxes that purchase the bullets, bombs and drones.  I am a citizen of the United States my nation is guilty of war crimes.  I apologized for not convincing my queer sisters and brothers that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was only putting a sympathetic face on a multi-trillion dollar military industrial complex.  I apologized for not finding a way to protect Chelsea Manning.  I apologized for not preventing my boyfriend Mark from moving to Tennessee where his murderers awaited.  I am a citizen of the United States my nation is guilty of hate crimes.  I apologized for many things for a long while then covered the hole with my offerings and took more notes for my poem.

AT THIS LINK (a RADAR fundraiser)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


A few people have written to me about my “From Whitman to WalMart” (Soma)tic poetry ritual I am currently doing.
Part of the ritual involves sleeping in my car in WalMart parking lots.
Some poets have written saying they also want to do this.
Please let me share some information with you.

80% of WalMarts allow parking to sleep, but make sure you are parking in one of the 80% that allows this.

Always sleep in the drivers seat.

Always have the windows all the way up.

Always have keys in the ignition READY to go.

Please ALWAYS park so you have a straight shot out of there, and please don’t ever park so that you
need to back out.

I made the mistake of parking at a WalMart among the 20% that doesn’t allow parking to sleep and I woke to find a group of men (I don’t know if it was five or six of them) around the car looking in the window at 3 in the morning. 
One of them had either a baseball bat or 2X4. 
But in just a second I pulled myself forward with the steering wheel, turned the ignition and floored the gas to get out of there.

Close calls are part of living on the road and should be expected.
Please consider my advice because you never know…
Also it is important to have conversations with the other people parking to sleep because most tend to want to talk, especially the homeless.
The retired folks parking their campers and RVs seem less interested in talking, but the homeless, especially the homeless families want to talk because they share information with one another about how to survive out there.

For the better part of 1970 my mother and I lived in our car.
I keep trying to think if it was easier then or now and my conclusion is that it’s a little of both for both.
If you get a WalMart that allows sleeping you are safe so far in my experience.
In 1970 my job was to take care of the can opener.
The can opener was a valuable tool back then but not so much for my life today.
Restrooms are much nicer today of course.
In 1970 gas station bathrooms had a kind of abrasive, toxic powdered soap that came out of a dispenser and it seemed to take a lot of water to remove the oily film it left on your body.
There were far less cars back then and it seemed easier to sleep in out of the way locations.

My one cousin in the army is giving me a camouflage net to throw over my car so I can park off-road and this is not ideal of course, but might be useful.

I hate to make this JUST about survival because it is a beautiful thing to be living on the road, meeting new people, stretching across the belly of the planet.

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"