Find a photograph of a bird far from where you live. I received a photo of a beautiful, truly extraordinary pigeon who lives near the Rialto Bridge in Venice. She has turquoise, chartreuse, and other shades of green and blue, painted with food coloring by artists. Print the photo and flutter it above your head, hold it to trees, rocks, ledges, imagining, imagining, imagining!! I painted my hand colors of the Venetian beauty, cooing when hand snuggled inside a pocket. I took notes while eating seeds offered from my pigeon hand. Pigeon hand is not a condition any more than art is a condition.
Save hair from your brush and roll it into a nice soft ball, then wash it. Insert a few seeds of flax, pumpkin, and caraway, something delicious. Pour more seeds on the ground, hair tucked in the center. Wait and watch. Soon enough a bird will carry it off to cushion their nest. Try to be patient and watch for them, to see them. Write down EXACTLY what they looked like, where they flew off to, and keep that writing on you at all times. Take it out of your pocket and read it. Read it before going off to sleep at night. DREAM of the nest by thinking about these small, feathered creatures sleeping on your hair, and touch your hair while falling off to sleep, you and the birds, sleeping and dreaming together. WAKE and write as fast as you can without thinking about dreams or peeing or eating, WAKE and write, wake and WRITE!! The notes become the poem.
Dear Eileen, every night lately I dream about Mark, my boyfriend who renamed himself Earth back when he became an environmental and AIDS activist. I no longer call his death in Tennessee a murder I call it an execution, executed for being queer!! It happened over a dozen years ago and few believed my story and the police told our mutual friends he killed himself. An execution not fit for police investigation, just another faggot punished for breaking God’s laws in this good Christian nation. I will never apologize for my anger!! Delinquent Films is making a documentary about my new book and they questioned me about Earth. They also didn't believe me so they interviewed the sheriff who told them Earth was a suicide. THEN they talked with the coroner and HE corroborated every detail I’ve been saying for years. Earth was hogtied, gagged, tortured, covered in gasoline and burned to death. The coroner used the word homicide and said it’s not possible this was a suicide.
I’m grateful homicide was said out loud, and that a film about my POEMS is the reason this investigation is FINALLY going to happen!! What does it take to get a faggot’s execution investigated? POEMS!! The weight of poems has arrived!! I loved him so much, my gentle, sexy man, steward of flowers and worms. I’m going to be on a panel at the Ecopoetics conference in Berkeley with some of my favorite poets. I’m creating a (Soma)tic poetry exercise where I visit the places Earth and I loved. We had a garden plot in Philadelphia, but we also planted zinnias, marijuana, cucumber, kale, cowpeas, rosemary, lemon balm and string beans along riverbanks and in overgrown, abandoned lots. The weight of poems is upon me, so I’m selling them for a little ruthless surrender. A decade is long enough to dream of revenge for a dead lover. For seven days I’ll go to our favorite places for the poems. I’ll also go on the internet to see what every ingredient I put into my body looked like when it was still growing. See fields of sesame plants while chewing their seeds, YES!!
He named himself Earth when planet extinction was clearest. He wanted to spend time in Tennessee and I warned him about country people. I was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania where everyone is proud of living in the country. I noticed at a young age that these PROUD COUNTRY people LOVE to poison, burn, shoot and decapitate the natural world. Their pride is mostly invested in SUBDUING nature, always ready to prove who’s Boss! It is difficult to tell them who they really are, like convincing my stupid father to STOP pouring ammonia and broken glass down the chipmunk holes. It is difficult to convince them of the harmless lives of tiny creatures who only need a few acorns and berries. I miss Earth. I loved him. I’m tired of being such a sad faggot but c’est la vie. His brutal execution is a mirror of every decision to pollute air, water, soil, lungs, hearts, communities of people, birds, fish, bears, stop, stop, STOP, STOP!! Are you hopeful we can stop in time? Let me write some poetry and try to calm down. Love you Eileen, and thanks for listening.
I rode several of my favorite escalators in Philadelphia, taking notes up and down the vantages. At the top and bottom of the ride I would show photographs of myself to strangers and ask, “EXCUSE ME, have you seen this person?” Sometimes there was confusion, “ISN’T THAT YOU?” I would reply, “No, many people think I look like HER, but have you seen HER?” I feel very fortunate to have been born BEFORE the ultrasound machine. My generation was the last generation to have a male and female name waiting at the other end of the birth canal. My generation is the last to have our mothers touch their bellies talking to us as male and female. Pink or blue?
photo by Andrew Durbin
Both pink and blue, “Have you seen this person?” I enjoyed my conversations with strangers and made at least one new friend, a handsome man who knew I was the person in the photograph. That person, I am that person and agreed. The ultrasound machine gives the parents the ability to talk to the unborn by their gender, taking the intersexed nine-month conversation away from the child. The opportunities limit us in our new world. Encourage parents to not know, encourage parents to allow anticipation on either end. Escalators are a nice ride, slowly rising and falling, writing while riding, notes for the poem, meeting new people at either end, “Excuse me, EXCUSE ME….” My escalator notes became a poem.
Moldavite is a meteorite gemstone used to expand consciousness. We soaked two pebbles Erica brought back from the grounds of Auschwitz with moldavite oil to accelerate our purpose with these pebbles. Erica then had a dream of a sacred hamsa symbol tattooed on her left arm, a pomegranate in the palm of the hamsa flanked by two white doves. She found the perfect tattoo artist and got the tattoo.
After seeing the tattoo in person CA had a dream that when Erica pressed the pomegranate part of the tattoo it gave her tremendous psychic abilities. In the dream she explained that she wanted to keep it quiet, but word got out and she received hundreds of letters a day from people asking her to contact dead relatives. One letter was from a circus asking Erica to travel with them as part of the show. A man asked her to speak to Hitler’s ghost. Stacy, Kathleen and I said NO, afraid that Hitler wouldn’t leave her body after being allowed inside for the channeling. We saw the film BATTLE ROYALE together at the IFC in NY. We each brought a line from the film:
“There’s one cookie left.”
“Binoculars are the best weapon.”
click photo to enlarge
For 7 consecutive days we each had bags containing labradorite (to release psychic interpretive grids), moss agate (to bring us closer to the natural cycles of our planet), clear quartz, and our moldavite-soaked Auschwitz pebbles. At the end of the day we would hold the stones in our left hands. We would press the pomegranate in the middle of the hamsa tattoo (CA drew a replica on his left arm). We meditated quietly for a few minutes while pressing the pomegranate tattoo. Then we would take more notes.
On the eighth day we woke, drank jasmine tea and burned sage to clear the air. We then programed the clear quartz with the lines from BATTLE ROYALE. We said the lines into our crystals throughout the day then placed the crystals under our pillows before going to sleep. Next morning we placed the crystals on our foreheads for sixteen minutes then begin writing without stop for 36 minutes.
(commissioned by The Wagner:The opening will unveil a new exhibit about the history of lighting and electricity at the Wagner and will feature special guest and PEW Fellow, Poet CAConrad. CA will read from his latest book of poems and lead guests through a writing exercise featuring the Wagner.)
Fear of the dark motivated prehistoric human beings to discover and invent ways of holding onto light through the night. We take light bulbs and electricity for granted, but for centuries we have found many means to harness different materials to make light: wood, animal fat, wax, gas, electricity, etc. Take time to make notes about the various ways you have made light so far in your lifetime: electric ceiling lights, flashlights, oil lamps, campfires, candles, etc. All your notes will be used later to construct the poem.
Take time to write about fear of the dark. For instance prehistoric humans, why were they afraid of the dark? Do you believe those fears have transferred through the centuries to us? Are horror movies for instance a form of revisiting those fears? Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Have you ever been at home during a blackout due to weather? Take notes about these things.
Along with our desperation to see throughout the night comes our very human motivation for discovering our origins. Seeing our way through the dark comes in many forms. One of the great treasures of Philadelphia is The Wagner Free Institute of Science. This 19th century museum retains the study and work toward discovering the intricate paths life on Earth has taken. It’s one of the most exciting places to visit, to become absorbed with the ideas of how and why our many kinds of bodies evolved the way we did.
In 1865 when the museum first opened, skylights let natural light into the building to illuminate the specimen cases. Take notes about the structure of the museum room with this in mind. Look closely at how the building has been designed to gather light. Since 1865 the building has gone through many different phases of installing light fixtures from gas to electric, all to allow us the best possible view of the specimen cases.
Take notes about how the specimens themselves needed light when they were alive to grow and thrive. Take notes about light feeding plants, feeding bodies, bodies consuming plants and other bodies, all with the fierce need of light to survive. Think too of the life in the deepest parts of the oceans, where most life on Earth lives. These creatures often create their own light. In fact one of the world’s leading oceanographers, Dr. Sylvia Earle, says, “Bioluminescence is the most common form of communication on Earth.” If part of your body could glow in the dark, which part and how would it help you? Take notes.
Later at home look at your hands in different kinds of light, use a ceiling lamp, use candlelight, and use a flashlight. Let your hands be the last specimen you study after an afternoon at the Wagner. What do your hands tell you about our evolving use of light? How many generations of humans have come before you? How many of them had flashlights and electric ceiling lights? Carry your notes with you for the next couple of weeks to build and shape the poem hiding in your notes.
You need 7 consecutive days for this exercise. Watch the documentary The Forest For The Trees on the first day before doing anything else. Let the details of this documentary sink in while taking notes. The FBI was found guilty of blowing up activist Judi Bari’s car while she was driving it. Bernadine Mellis is an amazing filmmaker bringing home the horrific story of how unsafe we all truly are as citizens of the United States. Bari says, “This case is about the rights of all political activists to engage in dissent without having to fear the government's secret police.” Take notes about Judi Bari and the FBI and all the false ways we think we are free.
Find a piece of Judi Bari’s writing online and print it out (a different piece of writing each day). Find a tree near the former Occupy Movement location of your city. Place your left palm against the tree, pressing the full weight of your body into the tree while holding Judy Bari’s writing in your right hand to read it out loud. Ask a passerby to read it with you. Take notes. THINK about the activism of Judi Bari to save trees. THINK how the hubris of our human species is set on the belief that a tree only has intelligent thoughts AFTER we cut her down, grind her up, and make paper to put our own thoughts on her. Be with the tree, sit beside her and READ Judi Bari’s words out loud to her. Take notes.
Set a recorder near your head before going to sleep. When you wake listen carefully to the recording for the onset of sleep. Take notes about these sounds. Ask yourself whether this body has ever felt used as an object—as the property for others. What sounds does it make when it labors, when it makes other things and destroys other things? What sounds, if any, is it making now, on the recording? Think about this as you listen carefully to the first few minutes of your recording, listening for the onset of your sleep. Take notes.
Take the notes from your visit with the tree along with the notes from listening to your sleep, and type them into one document. These are the notes for one poem. Go back out to the tree to start taking notes for the next poem. Do this for 7 consecutive days and nights.
Go back to where you grew up. Don’t let anyone know you’re coming if there’s anyone to let know. I went back, and the most important thing is to not write a single line of memoir, no autobiographical writing whatsoever. RESISTANCE is in the making, true resistance of the self. Immerse yourself with all the ways you felt about the world when living back there. Take notes without taking down memories, especially if you were suicidal. Where were you when you first researched the least painful way to go, the way that leaves no mess behind? Where were you when you finally realized it was impossible to not leave a mess behind? Go there and write about anything but this place, and write about what it’s like to write about anything but this place.
There is a taste from your childhood. Find it, the taste you know well, a kind of
candy or cake from a store out there. Take it to the river. You were loneliest by the river once many years ago. Go be there again. Be alone with your delicious childhood treat and smell it for a very long time. Write and keep writing without acknowledging the cake. Now REFUSE to eat it, and throw it in the river!! Write about something you love drowning as you watch it rush away with the current. This feels horrible because it is. Happiness is the place you went to after leaving when you were old enough and brave enough to leave. Go home, to the home where you made yourself happiest, and leave this broken spirit behind, unsated, untasted, and completely unwritten.
Put a piece of fruit on a plate, sit it near speakers, cover the fruit and speakers with pillows, then blankets, then towels, then more pillows, then more blankets, then play the recording of Anne Waldman reading I REMEMBER BEING ARRESTED as LOUD as you CAN!! (about 4 minutes long) After the recording is finished uncover the fruit and eat it immediately while playing the recording again!! Do not hesitate for the water molecules of the fruit have fully absorbed her reading!! Her mantra in the reading!! Eat it, eat it, eat it!! As soon as the recording is finished and the Anne Waldman-infused food is inside you, pick up your pad and pen and begin writing as fast as you can about the uses of nuclear weapons after they have been disarmed. Write about the love you feel for ALL that can survive if we put an end to this madness!!
Find a piece of metal, or some functional object made entirely of metal, from your home. It can be a household implement you use all the time, or jewelry, or anything, as long as it is small enough to hold in one hand. That night, take the paper you wrote on earlier, and carefully, lovingly, wrap the metal in it. Sleep. The next morning, wait for a little while. Think about the metal safe in the paper, near all your words. Sometime during the day, when you are ready and alone, take the metal out of the paper. Put it in your writing hand and hold it for a few minutes. Think about how old the metal, like all metal, is, and how young you are. Then put the metal in your non-writing hand. Write down all the ways you want to thank the metal for being dug out of the earth, put in a furnace, pounded, torn, combined, and shaped into something humans can use. Or any other feelings you have about the metal. And all the things you think or imagine (or suddenly truly know!) about the metal, what else it was used for. If there is anything else you want to say to the metal, or to anyone who might have touched or known it all these thousands of years along the way, this is the time and place to do that too.
It was with much gratitude for this artist residency in Wyoming where I set to work the night I arrived. My studio overlooked a chapel of the natural world, quiet giant trees reminding me of my childhood in rural Pennsylvania. Every night I would sit on the deck overlooking the sky framed by quaking aspen to wait for the stars. I noted the first and brightest above distance hills, above branches, and as others twinkled into view I began to create my own constellations. Eighteen in all, each constellation demanded a different toll to pay at the start of my note-taking. For instance the fifth toll of Xallan was paid by meditating with a fist of citrine stone in my left hand. The toll of the stars over UCROSS was always paid in meditating with stones. Labradorite, a gift from poet Bhanu Kapil, is a stone of the dark crone, enhancing inner passageways to bring light to the cancerous shadow-lands of a life. Celestite I purchased in Boulder, Colorado, is a gem used to communicate with spirit guides some call angels. Clear quartz, a gift from poet Elizabeth Willis, was a translucent mirror where the salamander appeared in a waking dream one night. Citrine I purchased at the Edgar Cayce Institute cleaned negative charge and led the way to understanding the wealth of this organic body named UCROSS where deer, mink, golden eagles, sheep, rabbits, mice, and thousands of insects, plants, stones, worms, birds, and other living beings thrive in their own unimpeded cycles. One night a great horned owl dropped a mouse at me feet, and as I wrote in that poem, “it doesn’t have to mean something / but it probably does”. The notes were allowed to fan out across the page while looking at the stars, and always I would write while staring into the constellation, a gemstone in my left hand.
Hammering all the notes into one document the next morning started with drinking a drop of Lemurian quartz. Barry David of Mount Shasta makes these infusions under the full moon with mountain spring water and the gem essence of quartz. This is the same quartz I wear around my neck, a Lemurian quartz. I also wore a rotating scent of sandalwood, cedar, and rose. Sandalwood has a high frequency that aligns the chakras and enhances cellular vibration for spiritual awareness. Cedar helps eliminate mental and spiritual obstructions and stagnation for clearer and more harmonious creative channels. Rose has the highest hertz measurements of any living being on Earth, and it’s scent will immediately clear the heart center as a portal to the almost unbelievable realizations of purpose and desire to make that purpose manifest. Each day I rotated these oils, a dab on the third eye, the wrists, the soles of my feet, and with a drink of Lemurian quartz I would BEGIN!!
At noon when lunch arrived I would take the fruit from the bag, set it on the floor with my laptop, then play one of the eight songs on the album Cathedral City by the musical genius of VICTOIRE, composed by Missy Mazzoli. The music of Cathedral City was perfect as a vehicle to channel my constellation notes into poems. I would cover the piece of fruit and laptop with a basket, then with a blanket, then with pillows, then with towels, and finally with a large comforter, then PLAY THE MUSIC AS LOUD AS I COULD. It was inaudible from all the coverings that were keeping the music CLOSE to the piece of fruit and INFUSING its water molecules with the song of VICTOIRE!! As soon as the song was finished I ATE THE FRUIT as quickly as possible while the song was still inside it. Eating the song in the fruit, I then set about with the first phase of dividing the notes into language for poetry. In the sunlight I would lie on my back behind my studio, my head over the edge of the deck to SEE the beautiful pastures and quaking aspen upside-down. The upside-down view was for the second phase of dividing the notes into language of poetry. Looking to the upside-down view, then at the notes, then at the view, then back to the notes, until the notes were picked clean of excrescence and the shining teeth came clear in its skull.
In late afternoon I would wash my crystals in peppermint soap and set them on the deck in the sun to dry and collect nutrient-rich light. A sheep I named Gabriella for one of the constellations would always approach her fence closest to the gemstones. One day a flock of agitated migrating starlings surrounded them, singing WILDLY into them!! For weeks the eighteen poems were created and later sculpted, one for each of my eighteen constellations over Wyoming skies. Part of my meditation wandered from the beauty of this natural setting to remember how people have destroyed so much land that UCROSS seems an oasis. We have been mistaken for centuries about our lives on Earth. Early white men named Yosemite National Park, thinking it was the name of the native Miwok people who first lived there. Yosemite actually means “Killers, those to be feared.” One of our great national parks is named after a description of who we have turned out to be, clawing our way through untold reserves of natural resources, and killing all life that gets in the way. These poems found the translucent salamander through Elizabeth Willis’s crystal, and later suggested as the title for the poems by poet Ryan Eckes. A benevolent force from crystal and sky, Translucent Salamander are these poems I’m proud to say were offered through me to you.
Having lived with a ghost for more than a decade I knew where he hovered and settled into walls and lights. This is where I aimed my scrying mirror. I sat on the floor with a handheld mirror and a large mirror behind me. The ghost is named Owen. He lived next door and killed himself where my new neighbor brushes his teeth each morning. Owen was 21; he liked books and used to work at Rizzoli’s Bookshop on Broad Street. Since his suicide he has accommodated my often-unquenchable thirst for life and my addiction and sickness for poetry!
Late at night, blocking all light from windows I read to him Hoa Nguyen’s book AS LONG AS TREES LAST. By candlelight I read a poem out loud, saying, “OWEN, THE POEM IS TITLED ‘RAGE SONNET’ AND SOUNDS LIKE THIS….” At the end of each poem I snuffed the candle to peer into the mirror behind me through the handheld mirror. I stared for a long time, dark to dark, then the candlelight again for taking notes. Then the next poem by Hoa, “OWEN, THE POEM IS TITLED ‘I’M STUCK’ AND SOUNDS LIKE THIS….”
Finally there was a face in the mirror. After a long, assiduous stare I saw my face with another behind and above. The last book Owen read when he was alive was MOBY DICK. When I told his mother she said, “That’s a children’s book isn’t it?” I said, “No ma’am, it’s not. Not at all.” Tonight I’m here, with poetry by Hoa Nguyen, being productive with a 10-year suicide, but making sense is the last thing on my mind. By candlelight the note-taking and poem reading, “I have thought for / a dirty starved circle” until the ghost and I were finished, and Hoa was finished. My (Soma)tic notes forming into a poem dedicated to Hoa and Owen. Thank you!!
drove me to the place where your horses run free.”
Find a plant, tree, some living nonhuman entity you want to communicate with. For me it was a giant sycamore tree in Philadelphia, a tree I’ve known for years. I cleaned my quartz crystal by resting it on a shallow bed of sea salt over night. I touched the tree with my left hand while speaking into my crystal in my right hand, “PLEASE translate any messages my tree friend has for me.” I then touched the tree with my right hand while holding onto the crystal with my left hand. I stayed this way for fifteen minutes, quiet, with eyes closed, letting the communication course through me and into the crystal for processing. My hands grew HOT.
As soon as I opened my eyes I began taking notes. I asked the crystal, “Was there a question for me, please say.” I heard “NOTHING!” The word rang through me. Trees don’t need to ask us anything, but they have plenty to tell us and I let my crystal tell me and let the notes flow out of me. What will it take to recognize the intelligence of such a quiet giant? Years ago I was leaning against the tree, earnestly writing a Frank poem and suddenly looked up into the branches who seemed to shake with no wind, and I HEARD the anger aimed at my pen carving into paper, paper made of tree, wood. There I was, the human carving my own thoughts in my oblivious imperialism. What love do I really have outside my own kind of animal? I took many notes for a poem through the crystal translations of a tree.
I attended RADAR Lab writer’s residency in Quintana Roo, Mexico. For 9 consecutive nights I prepared my crystal-infused water dream therapy. Each morning I would implement the final stage of the dream therapy, then I would listen to a different PRINCE album in its entirety: DIRTY MIND, CONTROVERSY, PURPLE RAIN, etc. Lying still with eyes closed, allowing the dream to braid and dissolve inside the musical landscapes of my beautiful, androgynous muse. As soon as the album finished I would write for fifteen minutes, which was not so much a dream-journal as it was a dream-lost-inside-PRINCE-journal.
After breakfast I went down to the beach. Each morning from 9am to noon I would sit in the same place, one foot closer to the tide each morning. On the last day I sat directly in the tidal break with sturdy paper and a pen whose ink imbeds into paper, a pen invented to prevent check fraud. PRINCE may wash my dreams away, but the ocean would not take my poems.
For a few minutes I would close my eyes to listen to the tide. Then I would suddenly open my umbrella and stare at one of its polka dots, each one a different color of the spectrum. After staring at one polka dot for five minutes I would suddenly look out at the beach, coral reef and ocean. The polka dot’s color would show itself in the hue of a broken shell, or be found in the bow of a distant ship. One morning my eyes landed on the white of the umbrella, which is all the space surrounding the polka dots. I decided to go with it. When I tore the umbrella aside I noticed FOR THE FIRST TIME tiny white crabs who made their homes at the wettest part the sand, continuously washed by the tide. The study of the crabs consumed my morning. One day I looked up from writing to see a hundred yellow butterflies fluttering in a line down the beach above the surf a few feet from my face. The parade of beauty kept me in awe: giant sea turtles, iguanas, and magnificent sea birds. One day I placed my large Lemurian crystal in the sand under the surf. RADAR Lab’s amazing chef Christina Frank sat with me to witness the little silver fish surround the crystal. They LOVED IT! They would ride the surf to the crystal, surround it and KISS IT, ride the tide out, then ride it back in and KISS IT AGAIN!
From 3pm to 6pm I would sit in the bathtub to write. My favorite childhood liquid was FRESCA! I thought it went out of business, but it just moved to Mexico! I drank FRESCA all day long at the residency, and used it for the bathtub meditation, drinking mouthfuls, letting the grapefruit bubbles roil in my mouth while turning the shower on. I would touch the falling water with the tips of my fingers then I would swallow the FRESCA and turn the water off. I would meditate on arguments from the archive of my unforgiving brain. Arguments I had, and arguments by others. Once I heard my mother and sister shouting in another room. My mother yelled, “I SHOULD HAVE ABORTED YOU!” My sister yelled back, “GRANDMOM SHOULD HAVE ABORTED YOU AND WE WOULD ALL BE FREE FROM THIS GODDAMNED MESS!” My mother BURST into tears, my sister left the room with a smile. She saw me and said, “I TOLD HER!” I returned her smile and hugged her saying, “YES you did my dear!” The MOMENT we embraced THE RELIEF of our grandmom’s imaginary abortion WASHED OVER US BOTH! We laughed from so much pain and nonsense for a rolling tide. The brain holds all of our disasters in little, decrepit files marked and mismarked and repeating their vomitus sick, and sometimes a little too quiet from too much damage. These notes became nine poems, my homage to my mother who was not aborted, and to her children who were also not aborted.
We created this (Soma)tic exercise together, then performed it separately. Then we wrote the poem together via email. That first poem is “BEFORE ABSINTHE.” Then we spent the evening drinking absinthe together and writing a new poem off the first one, and it’s titled “AFTER ABSINTHE.” Here’s the exercise:
Burn sage over the area where you will be meditating for the exercise. Coat your face with the smoke, infuse your hair, FILL THE ROOM WITH IT!! Place rose quartz over your heart while lying flat on your back, eyes closed. Be quiet and still for ten minutes. Move the rose quartz to your forehead, have pen and paper within reach so that you can begin writing. WRITE down the message your heart told the rose quartz to tell your head. Every single day for five days after writing with the rose quartz, maintain your position on your back to taste a different spice. Dip your finger in cayenne, next day, cinnamon, next day salt, next day oregano, and next day black pepper. By the second day, after writing, notice if the cinnamon sent you in a different direction than the cayenne had taken you. Take your pulse, write more and then prepare for part two.
Go to the internet, find the e-book L&O by Pattie McCarthy and click on FULLSCREEN view. Put your cursor on the page-scroller, close your eyes and randomly move your mouse up and down for a few seconds, stop and open your eyes. The first line that you focus on, remember it. Go outside for a walk to the park, repeating the line to yourself every few seconds. As you walk, try not to think about anything but what's immediately in your view, every few seconds saying the line to yourself. After a minute or so, let the line transform by adding the names for what you see during your walk or by substituting words from the original line with words for the things you see during the walk. As it changes, feel free to sing the line to yourself or whistle it. Once you get to the park, sit down, get comfortable, say the new line to yourself a few times. You can say it like it's a question, then an exclamatory imperative, or however you like. Wait for the first animal that comes near you, seems to look at you, and say the line to the animal. Take notes. Every day, for five days, choose a different line from L&O and walk to a different park, changing the line.
Set a clear quartz crystal on a shallow bed of salt over night. When you wake flush the salt down the toilet, the crystal is now clean and ready for you. Dig a hole in the backyard. Sit by the open hole with the crystal; speak to the crystal in your right hand, close to your lips, telling it you will bury it over night. Tell it you will dig it up next morning, then take notes and go to bed. (This transgressive act, putting a crystal BACK into Earth, I mean imagine someone taking a bone from your FOOT or below your heart, then putting it back for the night!! Sick, but also quite beautiful to permit ourselves this.)
Wake and write down ANY DREAMS you had in the night. Unearth the crystal, hold it in your right hand again and ask, “What was it like down there? Was it comfortable, please say? Was it fearful, please say?” Hold the crystal in your left hand and write as fast as you can WHATEVER comes to mind.
Next night hold the crystal in your right hand telling it you will both climb into the hole of your dreams together. Place the crystal under your pillow. Next morning write down ANY DREAMS you had, then ask the crystal the same questions you did after digging it out of the backyard. ADD ONE QUESTION by asking the crystal if she had any dreams, or if we were traveling together. For seven nights alternate burying it in the backyard and placing it under your pillow. Take notes take MANY NOTES. The crystal will translate the way to the poem(s) with you.