Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Scythe Literary Journal...

Scythe Literary Journal has just published 2 (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises and their resulting poems. Click on "Scythe Volume 1" and then you can click on my name to read. MANY THANKS to the editors and publishers of Scythe Literary Journal

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Is there a deceased poet who was alive in your lifetime but you never met, and you wish you had met? A poet you would LOVE to correspond with, but it's too late? Take notes about this missed opportunity. What is your favorite poem by this poet? Write it on unlined paper by hand (no typing). If we were gods we wouldn't need to invent beautiful poems, and that's why our lives are more interesting, and that's why the gods are always meddling in our affairs out of boredom. It's like the fascination the rich have with the poor, as Alice Notley says, "the poor are more interesting than others, almost uniformly." This poem was written by a human poet, and we humans love our poets, if we have any sense. Does something strike flint in you from the process of engaging your body to write this poem you know and love? Notes, notes, take notes. The poet for me in doing this exercise is Jim Brodey, and his poem "Little Light," which he wrote in the bathtub while listening to the music of Eric Dolphy, masturbating in the middle of the poem, "while the soot-tinted noise of too-full streets echoes / and I pick up the quietly diminishing soap & do / myself again." Take your handwritten version of the poem and cut it into tiny confetti. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and toss the confetti poem in. Add garlic, onion, parsnip, whatever you want, pepper it, salt it, serve it over noodles or rice. Eat the delicious poem with a nice glass of red wine, pausing to read it out loud and toast the poet, "MANY APOLOGIES FOR NOT TOASTING YOU WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE!" Take notes while slowly chewing the poem. Chew slowly so your saliva breaks the poem down before it slides into your belly to feed your blood and cells of your body. Gather your notes, write your poem.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


for John Coletti & Jess Mynes

Visit the home of a deceased poet you admire and bring some natural thing back with you. I went to Emily Dickinson's house the day after a reading event with my friend Susie Timmons. I scraped dirt from the foot of huge trees in the backyard into a little pot. We then drove into the woods where we found miniature pears, apples and cherries to eat. I meditated in the arms of an oak tree with the pot of Emily's dirt, waking to the flutter of a red cardinal on a branch a foot or so from my face, staring, showing me his little tongue. When I returned to Philadelphia I didn't shower for three days, then rubbed Emily's dirt all over my body, kneaded her rich Massachusetts soil deeply into my flesh, then put on my clothes and went out into the world. Every once in awhile I stuck my nose inside the neck of my shirt to inhale her delicious, sweet earth covering me. I felt revirginized through the ceremony of my senses, I could feel her power tell me these are the ways to walk and speak and shift each glance into total concentration for maximum usage of our little allotment of time on a planet. LOSE AND WASTE NO MORE TIME POET! Lose and waste no more time she said to me as I took note after note on the world around me for the poem.

Friday, October 23, 2009

giant HTML webpage!

THIS MADE MY DAY! Blake Butler's GIANT HTML site just featured this page of (Soma)tics, click HERE!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#34 Seance Your Own Way

This particular exercise is meant to encourage everyone to find their own way to communicate with loved ones who have died. A month before my friend kari edwards died she gave me a packet of incense made in the community in India where she and her life partner Fran Blau had lived for a short time. It was a sampler packet with 14 different scents. When kari died the incense developed a force field of psychic barbed wire around it for me, sitting on my desk. She gave this to me just before hugging me and saying goodbye before getting on an airplane which would fly her away from Philadelphia for the last time. After news of her death, burning the incense, even TOUCHING the incense would seem an extraordinary event for me. Then I decided that there was NO BETTER WAY to communicate with a dead poet than through the process of creating poetry with them, and for them. I chose 7 of the 14 different incense flavors, wanting to use the number 7 because as a symbol, it's designed for energy to rise up the stem and fly off the top, the top serving as a psychic catapult. This is why 7 is considered very fortunate, as it sends messages, wishes, whatever's put into it STRAIGHT up into the air. For 7 days I would meditate with each of the 7 scents, and chose the order of the scents for a communication magic spell. For instance, Day One: CEDAR is a scent associated with the god Mercury, and used to close the gap of time and space between you and the one you wish to contact. Day Two: FRANKINCENSE is a tree resin used to purify and to honor the divine. Day Three: MUSK, a scent belonging to the planet Saturn to aid in making inquiries about evolutionary spiritual responsibilities on planet Earth in this life-cycle. Day Four: EUCALYPTUS is used for many things, but in this case I was using it to firm my own resolve to become macrobiotic again, telling kari that I wanted to and needed to return to total health (it worked as I've been macrobiotic for 6 months now). Day Five: LEMONGRASS is used to dispel negative charges left behind after the healing invocations of eucalyptus. Day Six: OPIUM invokes Binah on the Tree of Life, and Binah helps the questioner understand information, and in this case understand more clearly what the messages from kari for the poems mean. Day Seven: MYRRH is the scent for the goddess Isis, the High Priestess, and I could think of no better way than to honor kari with the scent of Isis, She the great patron of nature and art, and She who puts the dead back together to live again. Each day I would UNPLUG THE PHONE, create a quiet space, then put kari's music CD on (experimental electronic music she created), then burn the incense, and WAIT IN THAT SPACE for the words to come. In my essay MACRO (Soma)tics published by Rob Halpern I discuss the uses of sound in (Soma)tic practice. The resulting poem from this communication with kari is called "kari7" and can be seen here, and was published as part of the anthology NO GENDER: REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE & WORK OF kari edwards (edited by J.T.Brolaski, e. kaufman, & E.T.Grinnell, published by Litmus Press/Belladonna Books).

Monday, September 28, 2009


for Ben Malkin
Find a small tree, prepare the ground with blankets for you and your partner on either side of the tree. Get undressed, completely, get on your blanket, your partner facing you. Have the flats of your feet pressed together, the tree in between your pairs of legs. Both of you rest on your backs, and press your feet, press them with legs raised, then lowered. For a little while work together in this meditation of pressing and moving legs and feet with the tree quietly growing between them. Take notes about how you're feeling. Make it clear ahead of time that he or she working with you is free to do, say, sing whatever they want, so long as you keep the bottoms of your feet connected around the tree. My boyfriend Rich did this with me, singing, humming, and finally masturbating, sitting up and smearing his semen on the bark. His orgasm PUSHED our feet together at a critical moment of note taking for me, good for my note taking. Let this (Soma)tic exercise have as much freedom for the two of you as possible, the frequency given and taken and shared with the tree between you, a living antenna between you, pulling nutrients from the earth and sun rays. The tree between us is where the notes came most clearly for me. WHATEVER YOU DO please do not give any additional instructions to your partner, let THEM do EXACTLY what they want to do once you're both on the ground naked together with the tree between you. THEIR freedom to express themselves depends upon this poem as much as your feet pressing together between the tree. But take notes, take many many notes. Now take all of your notes and use THE FILTERS "Handful" and "Overtone" to shape your poem.

(Soma)tic Reading Enhancements

THIS JUST OUT from Attention Span 2009, My enhancements, click HERE

Friday, August 21, 2009

MACRO (Soma)tics

MANY THANKS to Rob Halpern!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


for Juliana Spahr & David Buuck

First we must gather ingredients for the soup. It's whatever you want, but my soup included: carrots, onions, beets, burdock root, celery, kale, mustard greens, chard (4 roots, 4 stalks and greens, or, an even exchange with yang underground and yin above-ground), salt and water. Before chopping, sit with all the ingredients in your lap, or at least near you while you meditate however it is you meditate. But try to meditate on how this FOOD SOURCE is about to become your body. Chop and cook your soup. After soup has cooled, place the soup in a deep bowl, deep enough that you can submerge your hand. Unplug the phone, ignore the world. If you are right-handed then your left hand will be submerged into the soup, or the reverse, if the reverse. Sit for awhile with eyes closed, FEELING the soup with the submerged hand, pinch bits of carrot, or whatever is in there, FEEL it FEEL it, feel IT before IT'S eaten. Take notes about your body and the soup in the bowl before it becomes your body. The roots have recently been HUMMING underground forging themselves; stalks and leaves stretching into the light, and rain, and slight flutter of insect wings, ALL have now COOKED TOGETHER to become YOU. Take notes, take notes, many notes. Use a HUGE spoon if you have one, this to reduce your sense of your own size. Take notes about what THIS MEANS TO YOU to reduce your sense of your own size. Dip the spoon into the soup, scraping your hand, eat. Take notes about how this tastes, take notes about YOUR marinated hand-soup. Are the ingredients organic? Take notes, take notes, source of THE SOURCE is for the notes now. If ingredients are not organic, were there labels at the store telling where they were from? Take notes. Were any ingredients GMO? How do you feel about GMO foods? Notes, notes. Cup your submerged hand and eat from it. Run your tongue along the surface of your hand, and lick your fingers clean. Put your hand back in your soup. Can you feel the soup in your body, in your blood, coursing through you, can you feel this yet? Eat your soup with your HUGE spoon and cupped hand eat it eat it eat it all, licking the bowl and licking your hand CLEAN. Take notes about ANYTHING that comes to mind, pressing your now SOUPLESS hand to your forehead thinking thinking thinking about ANYTHING at all running your now SOUPLESS hand ALL OVER YOUR HEAD while thinking and writing. Now take all of your notes and use THE FILTERS "ACCENTUATE" and "ENGINE" to shape your poem.

Click HERE to read (Soma)tic Poetics Outline
Click HERE to see the book (Soma)tic Midge

Thursday, July 9, 2009


for Sharon Mesmer

Take a white helium balloon with a red string into a private room where no one can see you or bother you. Don't even let them know you have it, and hide it in a closet when it's not in use. You need four consecutive days for this exercise. DAY ONE chew your favorite gum while naked in bed, or on the floor, but on your back, arms behind your head, legs spread apart, relaxed with your balloon on the ceiling above you. After your gum is sufficiently chewed and soft, stick the end of the red string into the gum, then shove the gum into your navel. WORK IT IN THERE. Relax again with the balloon above you, now attached to your navel. Navels are scars from birth, scars which are the center of gravity. Take notes about your navel now filled with gum and balloon string. MOTHER FED YOU through this before you were born, chocolates, spaghetti, tangerines, mayonnaise and turnips and cashews and pickled beets! You processed shit and other excretions through this YOU LIVED THROUGH THIS HOLE WITH THE BALLOON NOW HOLDING ON! Take many notes. DAY TWO sit naked on the floor while holding the balloon to your forehead, rub it into your third eye, bouncing your head gently into it over and over. Hum into it while thinking about your day, especially something that might have irritated you, hum LOUDER when irritating thoughts come to mind. Take notes. Now tie the red string around your penis, if you don't have a penis tie it around a dildo inserted into your vagina, or around your thigh, then walk around with your balloon bouncing above you. Read a favorite VERY FAVORITE book of poetry, stopping from time to time to take notes about reading this book naked with your balloon attached to you. How is it different reading this book naked with your balloon? Now read your favorite poem in the book backwards out loud, last word first, even read the title backwards. Take notes. DAY THREE cut a little hair from your head and pubic hair, and tape it to your balloon. Let the balloon rest on the ceiling while you sit on the floor naked, looking up at your bits of hair above you. Bring your balloon down slowly and study the hair and let it float back to the ceiling. Bring it down again and WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT WHAT TO DRAW draw spontaneous drawings with several different colored magic markers. Let it float back to the ceiling. While it's on the ceiling take notes about what you've just drawn. What does it look like? How do you feel about what you've drawn? Take notes about each color and how you used each color. Bring your balloon back down by the string and study it closer. DAY FOUR smear snot or blood or semen or pussy juice or ear wax or piss or vomit or shit or spit or sweat or whatever excretion you have available onto your balloon. Hold onto the string as it floats above you. Relax on your back on the floor. Hold the string by your toes with your legs extended. Look at the balloon with binoculars. What emblem is this? What Jolly Roger? What letter of love or apology is this? What declaration? Take notes, take notes. Slowly let the air out and put the balloon with all the hair and drawings and secretions into a sock, and put the sock under your pillow. In the morning take notes about dreams you had, especially if the balloon appeared. Your excretions had just been floating above you the night before, what was in your dreams? Take notes. Now take all your notes and use THE FILTERS "River" and "Basket" to shape your poem.

Click HERE to read (Soma)tic Poetics Outline
Click HERE to see the book (Soma)tic Midge

Sunday, July 5, 2009


...SAY that (Soma)tics appear in the new issue of MARK(S), edited by the one and only Ted Pearson! Click HERE to read!

Friday, June 5, 2009


for Dorothea Lasky and Thom Donovan

This exercise needs nine consecutive days. Take nine books of poetry by LIVING POETS ONLY, but choose books of poetry you turn to again and again. Choose the order of the books for the nine days, then place an oak leaf (preferably late Spring leaf) in the first book. Sleep with the book under your pillow. Next day take the oak leaf from the book and bite a chunk off and keep it in your mouth. Find a recording of wolves howling from natural recordings, or even a recording you made yourself of friends howling. But if you make the recording, direct your friends to a Rallying Howl, then a Defensive Howl; let them decide what that means. Listen to the recording on headphones and go outside chewing your leaf, keeping the book on you, in a bag, under your arm, between your ass cheeks, it's up to you. Walk where there are people, walk where you can find THE MOST people. Keep chewing with the howling while studying faces and arms, studying how they move with one another, move around one another. Take notes, take as many notes as you can. When you're tired of chewing your leaf move it between your teeth and gums, but don't spit, swallow, don't spit. Remember that this leaf has been soaked in the book while you were dreaming. This isn't about appropriating text, it's about text absorption, the leaf taking on vibratory elements. Take notes about how the leaf tastes while thinking about how the book made you feel the first time you read it. SUDDENLY look up and find someone you are sure would howl a howl you would recognize as one of your tribe, your pack. Take notes about them to you in your world. Repeat this exercise for the nine days, a different book each day, the same leaf though, it's important to keep the same leaf, the leaf building layers of absorption. Now take all your notes from the nine days to make either one poem from all the notes, or nine different poems, it's up to you. If you use all the notes for one poem choose at least 2 FILTER WORDS, but if you write nine different poems choose at least 2 different FILTER WORDS for each poem, keeping in mind that the filter words are merely filters and guides for shaping. Don't worry about poem length, length is more important in bed than the poem.

Click HERE to read (Soma)tic Poetics Outline
Click HERE to see the book (Soma)tic Midge

Thursday, May 28, 2009


VERY EXCITED that my (Soma)tic Exercises just made it into STEPHANIE & STELLA'S HUMP DAY HUSTLER, I'M HONORED! CAConrad

Monday, May 11, 2009


Go to a shopping mall parking lot with trees and other landscaping growing between the cars to create this poem. Find a tree you connect with, feel it out, bark, branches, leaves. Sit on it's roots to see if it wants you OFF! These trees are SICK WITH converting car exhaust and shopper exhale all fucking day! Sit with your tree friend. Don't pay attention to the cars coming in and out of the parking lot, you're here to write poetry, not to worry about what a lunatic you appear to be. Remember what our QUEEN poet of merging celestial bodies Mina Loy said, "If you are very frank with yourself and don't mind how ridiculous anything that comes to you may seem, you will have a chance of capturing the symbol of your direct reaction." Public Space is not easy in shopping mall parking lots, but calmly explain yourself to the security guard like I did when creating this exercise. They will train a camera on you, but the sooner you get rid of them the sooner you can train the camera of your brain. Take notes, feverishly at first. Use a magnifying glass to study the dirt, trunk, to look carefully at leaf veins and bark structure. Notes, take notes, writing quickly, as if you've just discovered a sleeping creature that may wake at any moment and ATTACK YOU! Smell your hand, smell a branch. Study then the sky and buildings and people and everything, every detail. Face one direction and stare for a few seconds. Close your eyes and while they're closed imagine what you saw. Open your eyes and notice what you missed when imagining what you saw. Study what was missed and where and how it exists in relation to your tree friend. Take notes. If you are right-handed then touch the tree with your left hand, for your left hand is the hand which absorbs the world. Then walk to other trees in the parking lot and touch them with your right hand, for your right hand is the hand which sends your messages OUT of you. Touching your right hand to the other trees sends OUT of you the message your tree friend put into you through your left hand. Take notes on what was said from tree to tree. What message were you carrying? Take notes while leaving. Later, at home, close your eyes and remember your tree friend, take more notes from this visit with your memory. Now take all your notes, and using THE FILTERS "TRACT" and "INITIATE," shape your poem.

Click HERE to read (Soma)tic Poetics Outline
Click HERE to see the book (Soma)tic Midge

Saturday, April 25, 2009

#28 AMERICAN poem, AMERICAN poet, the roots the roots the roots there are roots

Go to a local government building or monument, courthouse, statue or prison, but a government structure, one paid for by all tax payers. This monument or building is something you paid to create, something you pay to upkeep. It stands for the collective stronghold of our nation, as Americans, as America moves and removes our collective fingerprints around the world as a military, as a business, as a structure of faces supplanting trust and empathy with a guise of trust and empathy under the guise of one flag. This is not to say an angry poem must ensue. This is just saying LET'S GET CLEAR. This is not to suggest you read up on American assassinations of leftist governments in South America, this is just saying KNOW what you already know to be true when coming to this poem. We're here as Americans. It's an American poem in a way that has roots, literally roots. Study the plants if there are plants. Study the grass around this government building or monument. Smell samples of the soil. What's around? See everything as best as you can, sit very still and look closely at the world as it always is around this structure you have come to today. DO NOT ENGAGE IN COVERSATION WITH OTHERS. You're here for how you see it, how you see this structure, how you see our country. This is personal. The date presently is April, 2009. We are at war on more than one front, millions of lives have been lost, and who knows how many more are at stake as our tax dollars purchase bullets and bombs, prisons and worse. Look at this structure you have come to, and know you are paying for its upkeep. You have a claim to it today. Take a list of notes about the structure, but these will be the notes you glean from later, as these are not the real notes for the poem. Take another list of notes while investigating the plant life, the soil, the natural surroundings. Take yet another list of notes about the government structure, only this time take notes about WHAT it is made from. Is there wood? Is there metal? Write in your notes about trees and rocks, iron and oil. Write about the elements all these parts of the structure originated from, and how they arrived here by boat and truck. Take the notes of the government structure broken down into the finer notes of the natural elements the structure originated from, and combine those notes with the notes of the natural world surrounding the structure today. Weave these notes, as this is an exercise in weaving notes. Now with the FEELINGS you have of being an American TODAY, whose tax dollars continue to pay for the cost TRUE HUMAN COST of two wars, form these final notes into a poem BUT WITHOUT EVER mentioning the government structure. And without directly involving America by name. Write a poem as a poet of the world with feelings for our collective human costs of war. Write this poem through THE GRASS AND TREES you see around you. Now take all your notes, and using THE FILTERS "ALERT" and "EXILE" shape your poem.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

#27 IRON AND SOAP! a collaborative exercise by CAConrad & Maria Mirabal

Take a square foot of white fabric and iron it on an ironing board until it's HOT and perfectly smooth. Make a fold and iron the fold into place. Put the warm fabric to your cheek and hold it there with your eyes closed. What are you thinking about? How does this make you feel? Lightly rub the freshly made crease against your nose and cheek and neck and forehead with your eyes closed. Take notes about how you are feeling. Make another crease over the first crease and iron that into place, then repeat the meditation of holding and lightly rubbing against your face. Take more notes, take notes, take even more notes. Make more creases over the other creases, iron, repeat, take notes, repeat, take notes AND DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE or the door, ignore everyone. Take more notes. When you are finished taking notes, open your eyes. Take 7 steps to your left (if you can.) Now go wash your hands. Go to the nearest sink, or water fountain, or fire hydrant, or fountain. Use soap. Liquid soap: something that moisturizes. If you don’t have soap, go buy it and return to your found source of water. Good. Now wash your hands 7 times with the soap. If you are in a public place and people look at you, offer them some soap so they can wash their hands too. After the 7th wash, shake your hands as fast and as hard as you can. Count to 70 then stop. Take more notes and remember to NOT answer the phone! Now take all your notes, and using THE FILTERS "LINES" and "SMOKE" get to work shaping your poem.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Do you have a favorite gemstone? Do you know its properties for healing? Do you know its mythology, how it received its name and properties? Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Emerald, Ruby, Hematite, Garnet, Tiger's Eye, and hundreds of others are easily found in jewelry shops and New Age shops these days. You can find gemstone guide books, or even search online to learn about your favorite stone's properties. It's important to educate yourself and know this information in order to be able to do this particular (Soma)tic Poetry Exercise. Once you have a stone you want to work with, and know enough about, take a sheet of blank white paper. Draw a map of the streets or roads surrounding your home. Once your map is drawn, sit very quietly with your stone, the map in front of you. Close your eyes and meditate on your stone, thinking about the healing properties and other legends pertaining to your stone's world history. When you feel ready, open your eyes AND WITHOUT THINKING throw the stone onto the map. Now, go to that location with the stone. When you arrive at the location drink in the landscape. Be quiet, be invisible. Stand there, or sit there and be quiet, the stone in your hand. In your notebook take notes about what you see, feel, hear, smell, take it all in and write it all down. Then IMAGINE how the properties of your stone FIT into the world before you. For instance, if your stone is Garnet, this stone is known for the ability to maintain psychic protection, so, how would psychic protection be useful for what you see in front of you and around you? Take notes, LOTS OF NOTES! Now take all your notes, and using THE FILTERS "SOFTEN" and "VICTOR" get to work shaping your poem.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

#25 legs do it all!

legs do
it all
head bobbing
a free ride

it's no
telephone she
holds a dying
bird to her
ear as legs
get them
there the
names of
you 'n' me

This poem from my book DEVIANT PROPULSION inspired our new exercise. First put pen and paper in four locations around your home. Make sure you do this when you are completely alone, and ignore the doorbell, ignore the phone. In fact unplug the phone. Now get naked and position your upper body in a pose, HOWEVER YOU WANT, limbs above your head, our out to the side, head tilted if you want, but find a pose, and make certain it's a pose which is unusual for your body. Then STIFFEN into place! All muscles above your waist should be stiff and frozen into place. Let you legs walk you around your home like this. Your legs can skip, run, or slowly, slowly move your body through the rooms. Your eyes can move in your skull, but don't move your neck at all. Have your legs and waist bend you into things like lamps and shelves, have your body touch things by the strength of legs and waist. Go over to your first set of pen and paper. Walk around the pen and paper, touch it with a foot, or knee. Then relax your upper body, sit down and WRITE NOTES! Sit there and write and write and write! Then find a new pose and dance through the house again. Go through this process untill you have taken notes at all four locations with four different, stiffened poses. Now take all of your notes, and using THE FILTERS "CLENCH" and "VANTAGE" get to work shaping your poem.

for (Soma)tic Poetics OUTLINE click HERE
for details on the book (Soma)tic Midge click HERE