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

TRIPLE JUPITER MANIFESTO: A (Soma)tic Poetry Entrance

EVERY human being is creative!
It is how we imagine our solutions to SURVIVE and THRIVE!
The only humans who are not creative are those not yet born!
The dead transmute their cells into other organisms, their spirits whisper poems to the living!
FALL IN LOVE OFTEN, Love is our countermeasure to spiritual degradation!
DATE THE ZODIAC, date every one of them, IGNORE ALL WARNINGS, consult no astrologers!
I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how much this mechanistic world, as it becomes more and more EFFICIENT, resulting in ever-increasing BRUTALITY, has required me to FIND MY BODY to FIND MY PLANET in order to FIND MY POETRY!
The last large wild beasts are being HUNTED, POISONED, ASPHYXIATED in one way or another, and the TRANSMISSION OF THEIR WILDNESS IS DYING, TAMING!
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 I am an extension of this world then I am an extension 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!
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!
Every poem is filtered through the circumstances of the poet, through the diet of the poet; through anyone whoever made them feel unworthy, stupid, ugly, anyone who made them feel safe and loved, every one of these helped make the poet to shape the poem.
Just as creative is every reader of poems, for a thousand different readers of a poem makes a thousand different poems.
We are here relying on one another whether or not we wish it.
Collaboration IS SUPREME, but poets ARE NOT the indentured servants of artists!
If artists want to collaborate with poets THEY MUST TRULY COLLABORATE!
Do not ask a poet to write poems about your art unless you also create art with their poems!
If you used to paint, paint again!
If you used to write poems, start writing again!
The potential magic of this world PROFOUNDLY 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!

Sunday, February 23, 2020


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


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


Many thanks to the editors!

new poem in The Jewish Current


Many thanks to the editors!

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Wizard of Oz Portal

There are a lot of dead people in my past, not just people who died of AIDS, but a large number of these beautiful souls did. I was searching for a way to contact them that was universal, and I do not mean through a kind of portal in the sense of organized religion, but something secular we had all shared or visited. There was no location I was certain everyone had visited, no restaurant or park or beach. Then I thought about The Wizard of Oz as the place all of us had visited at some point in our lives. Everyone I ever knew saw this film. I am calling this (Soma)tic ritual The Wizard of Oz Portal.
            I have also been thinking a lot about hypogea in ancient Greece. Hypogeum was circular burial chambers, and pregnant women would visit the remains of their dead ancestors to invite them to inhabit the bodies of their unborn babies. I hope I was a pregnant woman who performed this ritual in a past life. It sounds terrifying at first, seeing the bones of the dead, but it is exciting thinking of such an experience coursing through my electrical circuitry and nervous system, my blood pumping into the heart of my unborn child and ancestor simultaneously.           
            Do you remember the scene in the film where the wicked witch puts Dorothy into an opium-induced trance in the poppy field? It is an essential part of the story because after Dorothy is pulled out of the trance by the good witch Glenda she can finally see the solutions for the way out of fear and suffering. But when she is asleep in the poppies, this is when I freeze the frame, then sit across the room with binoculars, studying Dorothy while quietly invoking the name of a dead lover or friend.
            After doing this recently I had a dream that I walked past a church and singing poured onto the street. When I walked inside the church it was filled with everyone I knew who had died of AIDS. They were fantastic and laughing and happy to see me and I was happy to see them. There has never been a dream as good as that one for me. Even my next best dream was only half as overwhelming with beauty, hugging and talking with these friends. If I could get pregnant, I would want to be in a hypogeum with these friends and lovers and invite them to visit the physicality of Earth again through the life of my baby. Without hesitation I would do it and write poems with my baby, a true collaboration. I do enjoy visiting The Wizard of Oz Portal. It is a way to be present for an examination of what parts of my life are beautiful because of each of these people and what each of them taught me. My life is what it is because of these people, and all of it, the horror and drama and being sick and me trying to convince everyone to come to macrobiotic cooking class with me. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Creative Capital (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual Talk

January 30th, at 6pm
Creative Capital, NYC
Limited seating please RSVP
Please buy your ticket at THIS LINK

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Suspension Writing

Cave of the Hands, Argentina
In 2005 this technique was called the Human Hibernaculum. At a workshop in San Francisco that year, half the students were dancers. I like it when dancers join (Soma)tic workshops, giving all of us poets lessons in the true spirit of soma meets somatic. Initially, this ritual ingredient involved each person getting the opportunity to write inside a tight circular cave made of the other students. The writer's job was to write, nothing more. Everyone else was instructed to please place their dominant hand (the hand one writes with) on the head of the writer, stacked one on top of the other. I would then ask everyone to direct a loud hum down the tower of hands and into the head of the writer. It was very exciting in my experience, like being filled with a high electrical pulse, my pen flying across the paper, channeling the most extraordinary material. But for most people, it made them dizzy and sick, one of the dancers vomiting in the middle of the ritual. It was a disaster, and I knew there needed to be significant changes to this ritual ingredient.
           Over the years, the Human Hibernaculum transformed into Suspension Writing, which is far more enjoyable and generative in many ways; this is something I generally include at the end of the day. Please ask everyone to choose a line or phrase from their day's writing, something they can easily memorize and repeat. Then break the workshop into groups of five. A clock or watch is essential for the workshop instructor. Each group is to choose the first writer, and the writer's job is to write, and nothing more. The other four are asked to place their hands on the writer's back, and then the writer is asked to lean into their hands. When the writer is securely held, I ask them to bend their knees so that they need the others to be able to stand while they write. Then instruct the others to whisper their lines, please. After half a minute, ask them to please speak their lines. After half a minute, ask them to sing their lines, and time this for a full three minutes. Then ask them to speak their lines for half a minute, then whisper their lines for half a minute, then stop and switch. Each person gets to write while being held and washed in the sound. While this is generative writing, it is also exhausting. At the very end, I ask everyone to shake and wildly dance, howling, or screaming. Then we stand or sit to write for another ten minutes.
           With multiple groups of five, have the writers face the center of the room, so the whispering and singing travel between the groups, compounding the experience. If you have students who are sensitive to being held or touched, consider a different version where the workshop is divided into two groups. Group A will be in a circle writing, while Group B will be in a circle behind Group A, directed to whisper, speak, sing, etc. Then the two groups switch. The good thing about this version is that there is less exhaustion from holding someone's body up, and therefore you can do multiple rounds.