Tuesday, October 20, 2020

21 Grams of Us

for David Buuck


In the early 20th century, an American doctor named Duncan MacDougall conducted experiments with terminally ill patients to find observable traces of a soul leaving a body. His study concluded that 21 Grams of weight left the patients at the time of their deaths. Is it true? It is an exciting idea, regardless of the authenticity of a soul's weight on Earth. 


Two AAA batteries are roughly 21 Grams. I am designing different methods of wearing the batteries on delicate parts of my body to feel the weight better. One day I will wear them as an earring, bound together with thin thread, pulling on my earlobe throughout the day. I will also wear them from my nose, clipped at the apex for balance and more explicit sensation. Finally, I will wear them as a splint on my pinky finger. Wearing them on my finger so that the knuckle cannot bend will only add to the feeling of weight. Write in the notebook, write in the notebook, please write as fast as possible in the notebook explaining nothing.


I do not want to have specific concerns but simply treat it as a small amount of extra weight I will carry around. There is no way to do this ritual without the (Soma)tic fully engaged; the body will remind every part of me what the weight suggests. I want a clean entrance and a wild ride! My boyfriend Tre and I will do a version together where we hang 21 Grams of battery from our cocks, then again looped around a testicle, then write and write and write together.



Thursday, October 15, 2020

Section 7 of Resurrect Extinct Vibration


(shape of the poem "Golden In The Morning Crane Our Necks") 

 When I began writing poems using (Soma)tic poetry rituals, they became shapes. At first I tried to allow the poem to languish on the left margin, but I felt ill. Then I felt anxious while also feeling compelled to move the lines off of the left margin. The more I pushed the words into the page's interior, the better I felt. 

Muses, ghosts, spirits, there is no doubt of their existence to me. On occasion, I have met people who say they do not believe, and I am okay with that. For those who do believe in spirits who guide us in our poems, let me share a couple of things. One morning as I was waking, a voice came to me from the dimension I was about to leave upon waking. The voice said, "You have too many straight lines in your human world. We want to show you the way out of the violence of the line." After that, I never again resisted shaping the poems, and I was eager to allow all the help they wanted to offer. 

Another morning the voice said, "The shape of a poem is the space between us. The poems are the bridge we use to one another." Who are you? "Many" was the answer. Many? I began thinking of all the beautiful people I knew who died, not just grandparents, who I also loved, but the many souls I knew who died of AIDS. Painters, singers, prostitutes, janitors, poets, the many who died were somehow pushing up to my ear, to my hair and face, singing a little song for me to translate. From 1975 to 2005, they allowed me to write most of my poems on the left margin. Since 2005 they have wanted me to explore the broader reasons I find sustenance and strength in the poem's work.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

CROW DREAM-WEAVING

There seem to be more crows in Seattle than people; their caws are wherever you find yourself. Four floors up, I created a small, secured feeding bowl on the ledge outside a window and filled it with grapes, crackers, and unsalted peanuts roasted in their shells. For this ritual, I carry 9 peanuts with me for the day, pausing to talk to them, tell them how I am feeling and thinking. There are actually 18 peanuts since there are two in each shell. I break them in half in the early evening, placing one half of each out for the crows, while I open and eat the other halves. The last round of crows visits the ledge before flying off to the trees for the night. 

 I smell the empty shell halves before sleeping with 9 peanuts in my belly and 9 peanuts in 9 different crow bellies. While drifting off, I imagine the crows sleeping in their group. Many crows visit the ledge throughout the day, but these evening crows coming back to roost are a rowdy, noisy bunch of teenage crows. They are fast, diving into the bowl for the peanuts, chasing one another until they land in the trees to eat. Finally, I imagine connecting 9 silver threads in my stomach to each of the 9 crow stomachs. Then I braid our threads until we are one strong cord. When I wake, I sniff the empty shell halves, then write in my notebook. What were they feeling and thinking? Where were we flying? I know we were.





Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Occult Poetics & (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals ONLINE

I am very excited to work with 
everyone who joins us

Please register at THIS LINK

Many thanks to Cat Tyc and Home School





Saturday, July 25, 2020

FREE (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual Workshop

SUNDAY, August 9th
11 am San Francisco Time
12-noon Denver Time
1 pm Chicago Time
2 pm NYC Time
7 pm London Time

PLEASE REGISTER
AT THIS LINK

I dedicate this workshop to the 
memory of Kevin Killian (1952--2019)

This workshop will focus on turning our homes into a workshop space with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual. We will also discuss a nationwide collaborative project called The Poetry Commons as an extension of both poetry and ritual.

Please read THIS LINK ahead of our August 9th meeting.

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While this workshop is FREE, it is also a fundraiser for the Kevin Killian Memorial Scholarship Fund at Naropa's Summer Writing Program. He was an extraordinary poet, novelist, and playwright, and a kind, beautiful soul who is missed by many of us around the world. Kevin invited me to build (Soma)tic poetry rituals with his students several times over the years at CCA. Each time it was exciting to witness his enthusiastic, generous encouragement for his students to push open the possibilities of what it means to be a writer. His work as a writer and teacher is only part of the magical presence that remains of his time with us.

To DONATE please follow these steps:

First, please go to THIS LINK
Then select the Naropa Scholarship Fund in the dropdown menu
Then in the notes section write: "Kevin Killian Summer Writing Program Scholarship"
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MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE AT NAROPA FOR THEIR DEDICATION TO
Poetry, Art, Breath, Courage--- Love & Gratitude

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

GELANTINA Festival Madrid & (Soma)tics

It was such an honor to participate
in this year's Gelantina Festival

Please click HERE for translation of my poems

Please click HERE for an interview with me
conducted by Leticia Ybarra



RIBOCA!!! 2020!!!

MANY MANY THANKS to everyone at the Riga Biennial
I am grateful, and please enjoy this video they made

Thursday, May 14, 2020

I'm mentioned in Jillian Steinhauer's new article

"FIVE ARTISTS TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM NOW"
Click HERE to read...


Saturday, April 25, 2020

TRILOGY for Woodland Pattern

I designed this (Soma)tic ritual for Woodland Pattern, and I enjoyed every minute of it! If you have not yet visited Woodland Pattern, it is one of my favorite homes for poetry! I look forward to visiting in person again one day!

I suggest taking three days for this poetry ritual experience.

CHOOSE A MOVIE
I chose Carrington, a marvelous biopic about artist Dora Carrington, played by Emma Thompson.

BRING BINOCULARS, a magnifying glass, as well as your notebook and pen.

For three days, watch the same movie with the sound off. Each day will have a different focus of study:

Day One: Art
Day Two: Nature
Day Three: Windows

If we study one film three entirely different ways, is it not a trilogy?
Is it not the ongoing saga through three views in three days?
Do we not make it three different stories from the original one?

Day One: Please watch the film, looking for any signs of art, which could be paintings, sculpture, or a vase that catches your eye. Pause the movie whenever you see art, then study it with binoculars to get a fresh, close view of your interest. I stopped Carrington so many times, and this is a film still from a favorite scene with a beautiful iron wood stove, Art Nouveau shelf, oil lamp, and of course, postcards and drawings on the wall. It felt essential to begin this (Soma)tic poetry ritual by studying the things human beings had to reach through their creative powers to give us. Look for the gifts of art, pause the screen, examine it through binoculars, or get close to the screen with a magnifying glass. Then take notes.


Day Two: Spend time looking for any signs of living plants or animals. The natural world has begun to flourish in our absence from the world. Less human traffic, less pollution, it is as though nature has been waiting for us to give them all a break. Freeze the frame and study a leaf, its branches, then look carefully into the tree. I found the faint outline of a bird sitting on its nest, a silent, secret cameo. I enjoyed ignoring every human activity, looking instead at flowers, moss, and birds, imagining life before real estate, deeds, barbed wire, highways to risk your life crossing for water, food, or love. Last spring, I was driving across the United States and counted 27 dead raccoons in one day, little hands frozen reaching above their bloody fur. It was the time of year they were all looking for one another to mate. How much more relaxed the spring of 2020 will be for them. Look at the natural world on your screen, then take notes.


Day Three: Windows and all that they frame and reveal is the third day's focus. There were many windows in the movie Carrington; film footage shot from both indoors and from outside. What is it we take for granted about windows? What do I know about making glass, making wood and metal frames? Very little is the answer. The less we know about a thing, the more likely we are to dismiss it or never notice it. Windows fascinate me, thinking of the first humans who poked a hole in their mud and straw hut. Windows let light in, let us look outside, allow us to see who is approaching. Use your binoculars and look through the windows of the film; see what the actors were seeing. Windows, like most things in the human manipulated world, can be strictly utilitarian, or pleasurable, even beautifully crafted. It made me happy to watch the film one more time with a completely different focus. Let your mind go into theories you did not know you had about windows, then take notes.


Day Four, you can take your handwritten notes to the computer and begin making the document to then mine for your poem(s). Click HERE for tips.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

(COM)BAT STIGMA: A Pandemic (Soma)tic Ritual

I designed this (Soma)tic poetry ritual with David Greenspan, Marcella Haddad, Juleen Johnson, Jayson Keery, J.L. Lapinel, Laura S. Marshall, Michael Medeiros, Jamie Thomson, S.Coates

Bats have excellent eyesight, contrary to popular belief. They also have the extraordinary ability to echolocate, which is a form of seeing in the dark with ears. Bats can make the hidden world reveal itself, and this ritual honors their extraordinary abilities in a world filled with fear and ignorance for these flying mammals. Humans might want to blame bats for COVID-19, but we should be aware that our own human actions are the cause -- the coronavirus is not the bats’ fault.

Listen to a recording of bat sounds. This one includes echolocation and screeches at THIS LINK. Think about what bats are doing with their sounds. Think about how sounds can travel through air and bounce off of objects, echoing back at you. This is their way of seeing! 

Sit in a closet or a darkened room. Close your eyes, and begin to listen, even if you believe there is little to hear. Allowing the deeper listening, locate layers of sound, and look for what you might ordinarily hear. Take notes for the poem. Make clicking sounds and listen for an echo. In a world where we are now told to pay attention to the microscopic levels on which we are all interacting, think about how sounds also connect us, how sound is physical, how sound can be our guide. How sound is something we can sit in.

Wear a bedsheet as wings and fly around the house, flapping your wings, then suddenly pull the sheets around you and squeeze yourself, holding tight. Hold tight like a mother bat to her baby. Hold tight like someone who may feel lonely, longing for the other, but who is also resting in aloneness, feeling the deep presence and company of themselves. Take more notes. Lie on the bed with your head over the edge to look at the room upside-down. Take notes from the upside-down world.

In the evening, say, "Good morning, bats!" In the morning, say, "Good evening, bats!" If you find yourself waking up suddenly in the middle of the night you can say, “Good afternoon, bats!” until you fall asleep again.

Bats pollinate hundreds of plants that we use for food and medicine, including cocoa. Strange how echolocate and chocolate have a similar ring to them! Draw bat wings with chocolate on your arm or on bread. Lick the chocolate off your arm, or eat the bread. Take notes. A cherry or other fruit can represent the coronavirus. Cover the cherry in chocolate and tell the bats, "It is not your fault," and then slowly eat it. Take notes. Be still, then fly around the house again. Take notes.

PHOTO CREDIT Michael Medeiros

PHOTO CREDIT J.L. Lapinel

We hope you found the ritual to be fruitful. To further support bats please: 

Don’t use pesticides in your garden! 

If a bat flies into your home, choose the humane way of releasing it by turning on the lights (turn off ceiling fans!) and opening a door or window, OR, wait for it to land, gently cover it with a box, slip some cardboard between the wall and box in order to transport and release it outdoors. Take notes for the poem.  If you prefer professional assistance, ask that they be humane!

Plant a moon garden! Night-scented flowers attract bugs, such as moths, that bats love to eat. White jasmine, evening primrose, mint, lemon balm, datura, moonflower, four-o’clock, yucca, night-blooming water lily, night-blooming jessamine, cleome, barrel cactus, nicotiana. 

Build a bat house! Finds instructions at THIS LINK

Become a member of the Bat Conservation Group at THIS LINK

PHOTO CREDIT Michael Medeiros

Friday, April 10, 2020

Mary Gemini's "Rhythm"

A MEDITATION SONG 
WITH A VIDEO OF MY 
CRYSTAL GRID AS OF 
APRIL 10TH, 2020 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

SIN BUG: AIDS, Poetry & Queer Resilience in Philadelphia

THESE DAYS of healing herbs and studying
the human body through macrobiotics and
encouraging many friends and lovers to
thrive at the darkest time of our lives
helped me cultivate this practice
of (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals

Read the essay at THIS LINK

MANY THANKS to the Poetry Foundation
PS I used The Wizard of Oz Portal to contact my dead


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quarter View

With so many of us unable to leave our homes during the Coronavirus pandemic, I looked into my notebook of sketches for future (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals that we can all do at home. First, cut out a quarter section of paper or cardboard. Choose a television show you have never seen. Do the ritual for five consecutive days while smelling a different spice or fruit from your pantry each day.

DAY ONE: Watch the entire show with sound off, and using your cardboard cutout, cover the screen, so only the upper right quarter is exposed. Take notes, take many notes in your notebook throughout the show. Try to stare at the screen, not looking down at the paper while you write. I like to use my 3 Basics method.

DAY TWO: Watch the same television show with sound off, but flip the cardboard cutout, exposing the lower right corner. Repeat with notes. DAY THREE: The same as the other days, but with the lower left of the screen exposed. DAY FOUR: The same as the other days, but with the upper left of the screen exposed. DAY FIVE: Shut the screen light off and listen to the show from beginning to end. After that, choose whether or not if you will ever watch the show with the sound on and the full screen exposed.


Friday, March 20, 2020

JUPITER HUMANIFESTO: A (Soma)tic Poetry Entrance




IF CREATIVITY IS AN ORGAN, THEN IT IS A VITAL ONE! IT IS HOW WE IMAGINE OUR PLANS TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE! POEMS PROPEL US ONWARD THROUGH THE SHAPE OF OUR LIVES! POETS SHAPED THROUGH ANYONE WHO MADE US FEEL UNWORTHY, STUPID, UGLY, AS MUCH AS ANYONE WHO HAS SHOWN US TENDERNESS, SAFETY, TRUST, AND LOVE! JUST AS CREATIVE IS EVERY READER OF POEMS, FOR A THOUSAND DIFFERENT READERS OF A POEM, MAKES A THOUSAND DIFFERENT POEMS! COLLABORATION IS SUPREME, AND WE ARE HERE RELYING ON ONE ANOTHER WHETHER WE WISH IT OR NOT! FALL IN LOVE WITH EVERY SIGN OF THE ZODIAC, IGNORE ALL WARNINGS, CONSULT NO ASTROLOGERS! EXPOSURE TO EVERY COMBINATION CAN EXPAND OUR BANDWIDTH FOR NEXT-LEVEL DEEP RESONANCE CLEANSE AND ATTUNEMENT! WE MUST ACCEPT OUR VERY BODIES AS FUNDAMENTAL OCCULT TOOLS FOR FORGING POEMS! RESIST HOARDING THINGS, STOP ANCHORING OUR LIVES IN WASTE! WE MUST DEFY A CULTURE THAT IS ANTIPATHETIC TO NATURAL AGING AND DEATH, YET BUILDS SOPHISTICATED WEAPONS THAT CAN KILL MILLIONS OF LIVING BEINGS IN SECONDS! ACCEPT THE WORM AS OUR TRUE MASTER OF PLANET EARTH! THE WORM MASTER MAKES OUR HYPNO- INTRA- DIMENSIONAL EXPANSION POSSIBLE! IF WE ARE EXTENSIONS OF THIS WORLD THEN WE MUST BECOME EXTENSIONS OF GARBAGE, SHIT, PESTICIDES, BOMBED AND SMOLDERING CITIES, MICROCHIPS, CYBER, ASTRAL AND BIOLOGICAL POLLUTION, BUT ALSO THE BEAUTY OF A PATCH OF UNSPOILED SAND, ALL THAT CROAKS FROM THE MUD, TALONS ON THE CLIFF THAT TAKE ROCK AND SILT SO SERIOUSLY FLYING OVER THE SPECTACLE FOR A CLOSER EXAMINATION IS NOTHING SHORT OF NECESSARY! WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH THIS MECHANISTIC WORLD, AS IT BECOMES MORE AND MORE EFFICIENT, RESULTING IN EVER-INCREASING BRUTALITY, HAS REQUIRED US TO FIND OUR BODIES TO FIND OUR PLANET IN ORDER TO FIND OUR POETRY! IT IS OUR DUTY AS POETS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE NOT LOST OUR JAGGED, CREATIVE EDGES TO RESIST THE URGE TO SUBDUE OUR SPIRITS AND LOSE OURSELVES IN THE HYPNOTIC BEEP OF MACHINES, OF WAR, AND THE BANAL NEED FOR POWER, AND THINGS! THE LAST LARGE WILD BEASTS ARE BEING HUNTED, POISONED, ASPHYXIATED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, AND THE TRANSMISSION OF THEIR WILDNESS IS DYING, TAMING! A DESERT IS RISING WITH THEIR FALLING PULSE! WE MUST RETURN THIS WORLD TO ITS SEISMIC LEVELS OF WILDNESS! THE MOST IDLE LOOKING PEBBLE WILL SUDDENLY MATCH ANY HUNGER, ANY RAGE! SUDDENLY, AND WILL BE REALIZED AT NO OTHER SPEED THAN SUDDENLY! IF YOU USED TO PAINT, PAINT AGAIN! IF YOU USED TO WRITE, WRITE AGAIN! THE POTENTIAL MAGIC OF THIS WORLD REQUIRES OUR PARTICIPATION! I AM NOT A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER; I AM A POET! I AM NOT AN OPTIMIST; I SIMPLY BELIEVE IN THE POSSIBILITIES OF OUR COLLECTIVE GENIUS! EACH NIGHT WE BOW OUR HEADS TO THANK THE WORM MASTER FOR MAKING OUR TRACTION THROUGH LIFE POSSIBLE! OH GREAT WORM, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Moon UNPLUGGED




I'm working on brochure-zines to hand to strangers, asking them to join me in tracking the path of technology. I remember the first digital device to enter my life was a wristwatch. It was a gift from my biological father, Dennis McNeil, when I turned 9. He won it playing cards. It had glowing red numbers rising out of a black background. It was like magic. After that, a tape recorder in 1976 where I recorded president Ford on the TV, a bicentennial parade, favorite songs on the radio, and the wind, THE WIND! I was obsessed with the wind and was trying to find ways of recording different kinds of wind. What are different kinds of wind? I do not remember my theories, but I am happy it was on my mind. I held the recorder into the expansive song of the maw, then held it a different way, but each time it was the same sound of intense blowing against the microphone.
           Between 1975 to now, it feels like a blur of technological growth in industry and science. My digital watch was like a miracle. I remember staring at it in the dark JUST BEFORE it changed time, especially if all the numbers were about to switch to 10:00. We are now unable to grasp precisely what is in use and what is still ideas in the realm of science fiction. So often, I hear about a remarkable advancement in robotics or genetics that is already five years old. I am not interested in studying scientific journals as a tracking device; I want to see what is in use. Entering a grocery store is an overwhelming and exciting flood of technology, from the automatic doors to the massive rows of freezers and conveyor belts, and the laser beam EPS: Electronic Point of Sale at the checkout register. I know, because I was once a cashier. Where has technology entered our lives, and how did the new relationships with these different devices turn out?
One of the most remarkable things about being alive in 2020 is that we are surrounded by things that would make people a hundred years ago laugh in disbelief. Imagine telling them about the new US Navy drone that can dive into a body of water and swim underwater as fast as it can fly. This time is a hinge, and there has never been anything like it. Talking about people a hundred years ago, in 1920, only 35% of homes had electricity in the US. How quickly we learned to rely upon it. This year I have been taking one full 24-hour day each month to be technology-free. January I was in a friend's cabin with a wood stove, which was cozy and filling a notebook. The climate crisis gave me a very warm February. I am excited how the outdoors feel and taste when I am not allowing myself in a car or bus, I have to walk without a phone. My magnifying glass and binoculars are allowed because they do not require electricity or gas—a pen, notebook, fork, spoon, matches, wood. Cooking on the wood stove was exciting, trying to estimate the temperature and opening the flue to ride the flame with a breath. How fantastic, and if I had children, we would do that once a month for their entire childhood. What an adventure to unplug everything.
           The first thing I do on my first day back in the maze of pipes, wires, and airwaves of our human world is to begin looking at every movement made possible or tracked by technology. I am excited to compare these notes with notes I will take ten years from now, twenty, or more. How much more surrounded will we be by then? How much deeper will technology be in the human body? The merge is happening, quietly, gradually, and some days I have no idea how everyone else is feeling about it. When I ask, many people seems suspicious of it, but often I hear, "Well, it's inevitable at this point." What is inevitable? The merge with metal and human bone, blood, and meat? People I love have had their lives extended due to breakthroughs in medicine and science. Writing poems in the glow of artificial light, wondering when the time will come when we can have bioluminescent body parts. I would love to have glow-in-the-dark earlobes; it sounds warm, and I imagine the earrings that are possible. Let us write poems together while carefully studying the machinery of the human world.



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

FIRST LIGHT

I had a dream that I could remember the first time I saw the sun. I remember remembering with great joy, recognizing the "me" in the dream crying from the warmth of the memory of my infant self seeing and feeling the embrace of our star's rays.

When I woke, I spent a very long time in bed trying to remember the first time so that I could merge with the other me in the dream. There was a certain kind of excitement searching myself for the memory of our star — a visitation of a goddess. I want to work with a hypnotherapist to take me back to this; I'm convinced if I am willing enough to be open enough and trusting that I can achieve the task with the right therapist.


new poem in BLUSH-LIT magazine

Please CLICK HERE

Many thanks to the editors!

new poem in The Jewish Current

Please CLICK HERE

Many thanks to the editors!