Thursday, December 8, 2011


‎"Venturing into the sun to smoke

I am proof of nature and all its declarations."
      --Ariana Reines

Kitten is my favorite spirit animal, a totem to conquer my various forgivable, discordant planes of constriction. But it is the cormorant I surrender to for my most morbid of human needs. A cormorant DIVES into subconscious water-worlds to resurface somewhere new, and agitates my soul into happiness. When I was a boy I yearned for webbed fingers and toes, and was grateful to Benjamin Franklin for inventing swim flippers. Telling Ryan Eckes about this new (Soma)tic exercise he said, "That's what I try to do with every poem, I try not to drown."

What animal will you require yourself to meet for this exercise? I wore nylon stockings on my hands, then DOVE into the morning ocean off Virginia Beach, American fighter jets howling across the coastal trails, deafening the gulls, frightening the dolphins, and me. Eggs in the sand, nest in the dunes, a wind where all instruction flattens my eager crest. Love in a cormorant call compels a vibratory trance throughout a feral heart, lungs, liver.

Draw eight pictures of your spirit animal in different phases of your enactment of their lives. On the back of each write a message. Write a bit of confession from the bird, hippo, or alligator you choose to be. Create an email account for this exercise to include at the end of the message. Leave the pictures on the subway, in the bathroom at a museum, or on the counter at a coffee shop. Anyone who writes you must receive your animal’s reply. Your animal correspondence is YOUR TRUE correspondence! All your notes from the exercise are for the poem(s) you will create.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


JUBILAT Magazine has published PRETERNATURAL CONVERSATIONS and the seven resulting poems in issue #20. To celebrate, they have asked poets to make videos reading the poems.

Friday, November 11, 2011


--for Ariana Reines

On Halloween, 2011 it is estimated that the 7 billionth human child was born. 7 billion humans are here now. And we have displaced or made extinct SO MANY other species of creatures that we have ACTUALLY lost track! When poet Emily Dickinson was alive less than a billion humans existed on Earth. When she was alive wild bison roamed the open plains of the United States. Today there is just a small group of them in Yellowstone National Park, and those were put there to be wild on purpose because there were literally no wild bison left. They are museums of fur and hooves. We love our museums, they comfort and tranquilize us when we feel uncertain of the choices we have made. I have NEVER been MORE TERRIFIED than I am this Halloween!

Find a space in public to meet with other humans in silence. Create a flyer inviting anyone to come. Please do not invite your friends, it's IMPORTANT to let this time be for you to come together with total strangers. But let it be silent. Make several flyers and hang them in libraries, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. My flyer read: THE SILENT MEETING GROUP -- WEDNESDAY – 10/26/11 – 5pm to 6pm – 2nd floor couch area of THE BOOK TRADER (2nd Street near Market Street) – ONLY RULE: NO TALKING. Show up a couple minutes late. I lurked around a bit, not wanting to appear too eager because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had created the flyer for the meeting.
To be perfectly honest this (Soma)tic is something I have NEEDED to do. How many people do I meet a day where I say to myself “IF I HAD TO LISTEN TO THIS PERSON EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE I WOULD KILL MYSELF!” Today’s answer: 7!!!!!!! (an exclamation point for every one of them) My threshold for small talk and stupidity is so low in this time of acute poverty and war that I could actually SCREAM when I face it! And in the past five years I have watched rich hipster yuppies take my neighborhood over. It belongs to them now and they know it, and they want me to know it. The amount of bullshit I have to witness at the grocery store is incredible at this point. INCREDIBLE! Watching the spoiled rich be malicious to stock clerks, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU RAN OUT OF IMPORTED OLIVES!?!” This brand of selfishness INFURIATES me! And there are now so many new condominiums in my neighborhood that those of us who rent apartments are the extreme minority. In fact the last public Laundromat in “our” neighborhood shut down and was turned into a ticket office for the ballet and opera. I’m doing my laundry in the bathtub because otherwise I would have to get on a bus and go many blocks across the city to even find a Laundromat to use. My soul is worn thin by human beings who don’t care about the infrastructure of community.

The Silent Meeting Group was – quite honestly – an incredible experience! I hovered around before joining the small group. There were six of us, and after being together in complete silence for awhile you begin to SMELL the others. Smell you, I SMELL something, maybe it's you, yeah, IT'S YOU! And it's okay. You smell just fine, but I smell you just the same. At one point a man in the group started to talk, but stopped himself, then wrote on a piece of paper for us to pass around, “Maybe we can all get a snack afterwards.” He seemed very sweet, however---

IMPORTANT: Do NOT go for a snack! You have poetry to attend to! For the entire hour of the meeting take NO NOTES! Meditate with these other humans, these fellow travelers in complete silence. If no one shows up the first time KEEP TRYING! People WILL show up! Enough humans will show up. You will all show up together. The only notes you take should be in your head. Make note of ALL THE SOUNDS around the group. Do not fear LOOKING at these people. The kinds of people who show up will understand, and will be looking at YOU as well! Look at how WEIRD our world can be! It’s beautiful and peculiar! What and how are we communicating without talking? Remember these things. Then as soon as the hour is up, casually walk away WITHOUT TALKING! NO TALKING! GO, GET GOING, GO SOMEWHERE where you can sit and quietly take account of your silent meeting. Take the quiet with you. I took a subway to a grocery store in my neighborhood. This is what I observed:

Outside the grocery store tonight a man and woman approached the entrance. He grabbed one of the large shopping carts. She said, "Why don't you get one of the smaller ones, we're only getting a few things." He said, "I'M A MAN I'M NOT PUSHING AROUND A SMALL CART!" She rolled her eyes and went inside. HOW FUNNY! I must admit that I had thought he was hot, but when he said THAT he was suddenly 10 times HOTTER! He reminds me of my old boyfriend Nate, a double Leo with a Scorpio moon and a fresh ax to grind every morning until he's had sex and coffee. HAHA!

Take your notes and shape them into a poem. The Silent Meeting Group might be something you want to continue in your life. I think I want it in my life!

Friday, November 4, 2011

2 (Soma)tics published online today!

Peter Moysaenko of
BOMB! Magazine for publishing
(Soma)tic "Aphrodisios" and its
resulting poem! You can see it
by clicking THIS LINK!!!!

publisher Adam Robinson
and special guest-editor
Benjamin Spivey of
publishing (Soma)tic "MINDING
THIRST" and the
resulting THIRST
poems! Click
HERE to read!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


a collaboration by CAConrad & Debrah Morkun

We went to Occupy Philadelphia on 10/31/11 where the tent city grows by the day for the world that is possible! The encampment is on the west side of city hall, facing the cavern of skyscrapers, forest of glass and villainy. This was late at night, between Samhain and Day of the Dead.

We were down near the subway entrance, and spent time meditating on two small gemstones we had given to one another earlier in the evening. CA’s was chrysocolla, and Debrah’s was red jasper. As soon as the meditation began a snare drum from the camp commenced, followed by another drum, then a bell, then a flute. We took notes for our poems.

We began the botanomancy by reading sprigs of rosemary and sage. One would hold and meditate on the bunch of herbs, then drop them to the ground for the other to read through their fallen patterns. These are the readings:

CAConrad: Two anarchists were making out by the strands of long wild grass, rocking back and forth to the beat of the snare drum. This is truly sacred space. Debrah threw the herbs, ALL the sage was together in the east. Two sprigs crossed over the pile, making a solid railroad tie. Tracks of the spirit world have brought her here to this day. Not just this day today, but to this day where she is the amazing poet she is. Her bio on the last page of her new book (The Ida Pingala – Blazevox Books) says she believes in near death experiences and prays to the old gods. Those are the tracks. Solidly. And they have brought her to the pile of rosemary, bunched together in the west. Rosemary being the foundational herb for magic spells, this packed bunch of rosemary to the west is a magnificent opening to the new, all the sprigs together in the same direction, a concentrated magical force PUSHING toward some unanticipated beginning.

Debrah Morkun: CAConrad threw the herbs, and the majority of the herbs fell into one pile that beamed with light. I held my hand over the pile, to sense the herbs’ vibrations. Botanomancy is a choice endeavor, for plants have a very communicative vibration. I kept hearing the words “planning” as the vibrations of the rosemary & the sage entered my hand. I heard this word “planning” like a cacophony of multiple herbal voices. Soon, Conrad will embark on a world tour for his amazing upcoming book A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, & he will spend quite some time doing necessary planning & prepping for this magical tour. I noticed two rosemary sprigs that had fallen outside of the larger pile – one to the Northeast of the pile, and the other to the Southeast. I touched the rosemary sprig to the northeast first, felt the vibrations of this foundational herb tell me that this beautiful tour itself will lead him into positive magic spirals & he will remember something that he forgot a long time ago. This memory will be so large & so good that he will wonder how he ever forgot this. Next, I touched the rosemary sprig to the southwest. This sprig indicated that before CAConrad leaves for the tour, he will experience a heightened spiritual transformation that will send his entire body & spirit into the highest spiritual vibrations. This spiritual transformation will manifest itself in the most proper ways to prepare him for his tour.

For a little while we took our notes, then we each built further botanomancy ritual-meditations for the poems. These are the rituals:

CAConrad: The drums had changed to a more sustained, deep, steady beat. It felt as if they were working with us, which is part of the magic of coming to Occupy Philadelphia, or going to Occupy Wall Street. The community is a complex mixture of feeling HOME, and feeling like entering a new family, a new kind of family structure. The vibrations were ripe this night especially. At this point I asked that we fix our eyes to a lighted window in a skyscraper beyond the trees above the subway entrance. It seemed as though no leaves were moving, but in fixing the gaze on a solid, unmoveable point, the slight, hidden motions and gestures of leaves would reveal themselves. Sometimes you can only see what moves by staring into what will not. This flickering parade is then revealed at last. To the snare it shines. After a long drink of this meditation we again took time to write our notes for the poems.

Debrah Morkun: Another set of snare drums. I was reminded of Shango & CAConrad’s divinations from our previous (Soma)tic collaboration. I rode the drums for awhile, & felt pulled to a sculpture in the center of the cavernous part of underground City Hall where CAConrad & I sat. Was this a sculpture of an angel or a paper airplane, folded properly & ready for flight? Either way, the sculpture bespeaks of flight, of leaving one moment to seek another, of hope & aspiration. I said, “Conrad, we must walk around this circle & gaze into the bizarre world below.” For this sculpture sits atop an ancient Masonic magic spell of lava rocks & yom kippur, of footballs & elephant ears. An underground glimpse of flora native to Philadelphia, weeds & trees & an interesting bush with red bark. We walked around this circle & gazed below, receiving wisdom transmissions showing us that there is another piece of magic spell in Philadelphia’s magic sluice – where lava rock, non-native to Philadelphia, & nonexistent for miles & miles & miles until you reach the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii, rests creating an eruption of energy that catches flight in the wings of the angel or the paper airplane above.

Drunk from this experience, we took more notes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

#64: HELEN DRIVING Magic Ritual

(a collaboration by CAConrad & Debrah Morkun)

We made our way to the roof of a ten-story building. October, Philadelphia, late at night. There was a large yellow arrow painted on the ground. We called the four directions over the arrow.

We took turns standing at the arrow’s tip, facing Polaris, the lodestar. We each drew Polaris into our circle and carried it to a large cement pedestal. We ate from a bar of dark chocolate with a snarling black jaguar on the label, and then we took notes for our poems. Jaguar chocolate and poetry, perfect together. We later used chocolate pieces as chalk to draw a celestial orb with rays and waves emitting off the top of the pedestal.

On a different pedestal far from the black jaguar we had tiny rabbit cookies, which we arranged in a star pattern, eating every fourth one. The large fluorescent light shining down on this pedestal was used for two meditations. First we were to each find a word for this star. Debrah saw the word HELEN. CA saw the word DRIVING. HELEN DRIVING.

The second meditation with the rabbit-shaped cookies and intense beams of industrial light was to listen for a message from a god or goddess for the other. We offer our findings:

CAConrad: Well, first of all the black jaguar made me RAVENOUS for the little bunny cookies! I wasn’t even hungry but I tore into the little cookies! They were incredibly DELICIOUS! We deliberately kept the jaguar and rabbits on different pedestals, far from one another, but I must have brought the giant cat’s energy with me! It didn’t take me long to hear Shango calling. God of drums, thunder, protector of children. He wants to help Debrah safeguard, even inoculate an exposed wound from her childhood. He says “LISTEN TO DRUMS” for drums are the vehicle He rides when He is needed. He says listen to drums while driving in the car especially. Shango wants to raise a wound and in doing so transform the life.

Debrah Morkun: Rabbits are much like stars, & jaguars like the night sky that holds them. Realizing this, I felt the presence of Egyptian Goddess Isis hanging in the air around CAConrad & I. She was not alone, however. Much like the night sky holds the stars, & just like the jaguar holds the rabbit-star, the spirit of Isis came to us residing in the spirit-body of Simon Magus, apocyphral magician & heretic whose magic was so powerful that he was hated by the Apostles because his miracles rivaled the so-called divinity of Jesus. Isis told me to tell CAConrad that he has great powers stored in his hands – that they vibrate with creative & healing energy. To compliment these power-hands, he must find a powerful writing utensil – a pen unlike any he has ever before seen or experienced. This pen must be purple, & it must border on the “gaudy” (Isis’ word), replete with a purple feather, so it looks like a psychedelic modern day quill. This feather must not be from a real bird – feathers of actual birds must not be bought but found – it must be a synthetic feather. The commingling of CA’s energy vibrations & the magic of this pen will spin a power-poem.

After these messages we took more notes. We returned to the yellow arrow and closed the circle in view of our lodestar, our night’s guide, Polaris!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#63: SoMA MoMA de Kooning LoMA

a collaborative (Soma)tic by CAConrad, Stephen Boyer, and Filip Marinovich

for the current, 2011 de Kooning retrospective at MoMA in NYC

find a favorite de Kooning. what
do you imagine it
smells like at
10 paces then
5 paces then
what does it
taste like? (ass and gravy, pitch and starlight, calm and sea grass, asbestos and miles of candy, etc...)
stare at a de Kooning
for 5 minutes
keep track of the image then
free-write for
5-10 minutes then
reduce it to 10 words
use these words to
create an image
or landscape
Become a pink angel
in De Kooning's painting
"Pink Angels."
Don't leave the painting
under any circumstances.
If they put you in the painting
in a crate don't leave it.
Stay in the painting
when they vandalize it.
When who
vandalizes it?
When the museum gods vandalize it
stay in it, a Pink Angel
When the museum gods come on the painting
after midnight
with their long thick
museum god cocks
reach out and grab god cocks
and pull them off and
use them as paintbrushes to
paint a reproduction
of De Kooning's "Pink Angels"
on the walls of every bank ATM stall
in New York City,
and then, dear Pink Angel, please
feed me your Ass-To-Mouth god cock now.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2 new (Soma)tic Poetry publications!

The (Soma)tic exercise,
its resulting poem
are in the latest issue of INTERIM Magazine!
Many thanks to
editor Jonathan Skinner!

The (Soma)tic exercise, "DOUBLE-SHELTER"
FLOWERS WON'T BOTHER" are in the latest issue of LOADED BICYCLE Magazine! Many thanks to editor Martin Rock!

Monday, October 10, 2011

#62: Gender Continuum

--for Anne Waldman (aka Outrider Anne)

Every morning for seven days I gave my friend Elizabeth Kirwin treatments of reflexology and massage, and she in turn gave me craniosacral therapy. Each morning while on the table I would fix my mind to meditate on seven possible genders for my body, intersex intersecting day to day. Starting with the female skeleton, hormones, glands, and genitalia. OF COURSE START with woman against the fairytale of Adam and his magical life-giving rib!

Day seven was male, but days two through six were variations of our world. The aim of physical, political, and sociological outcomes were in constant flux days two through six. Margins were permitted to drop in meditation. Permission to drop margins is an exceptional space to offer yourself and others. The craniosacral therapy was straightening my spine, relaxing my muscles, and challenging my thoughts throughout the gender exploration. The craniosacral lifted my consciousness while in deliberate concentration on the sex of my body.

Each morning after our healing exchange I would take notes about my physical condition, how it was shifting, mending, and notes on my gender meditation. The notes took no specific course other than a personal demand to divulge all hidden words and needs breaking free through the experience. I am a woman. I am a man. I will be neither, or bits and parts of both with blood and imagination flow on the increase. And that increase is a prodigious stream tempering the spirit, today, tomorrow, again, again against a wall. Up the wall. Over the wall. Away from the wall. The world as it could be (or a collective version of it) is always trying to bend the air around itself to be heard. The risks of the day are holding themselves out to us, yet we all know too well that the power structure is far ahead of us, the ambush of the ages. My notes from this exercise were plucked and shaped into a poem.

Monday, October 3, 2011

#61: TICULI Magic Ritual

(a collaboration by CAConrad & Debrah Morkun)

We went to Atlantic City at dusk where we found a dilapidated wooden dance floor on the beach outside TRUMP PLAZA CASINO. This was perfect for the ritual that would lead us to our poems.

In a gazebo overlooking the crashing tide we called the four directions. We took discarded four-foot tubes and placed them on the dance floor one at a time to form a hidden word: TICULI. We offer our definitions:

Ticuli (tih-coo-lee)
1. Noun. A color not detectable to the human eye, as in the color of ghosts.
2. Noun. A sand bar where the detritus of a tidal wave has left a lingering historical shadow.

We placed a large chunk of orange calcite on a wet and sandy TRUMP PLAZA black jack table in the middle of the dance floor. We touched both ends of the stone and meditated with a long, low hum. We then wrote notes for our poems. Orange calcite is known for enhancing our creative functions and dissolving obstacles blocking our way to our highest potential. We took notes to the flashing lights of the casino and the roar of a warm, September ocean. Aphrodite. Yemaya. And now, Ticuli.

Next we took turns walking off the dance floor, across the beach, down to the ocean to find and bring something back for the other person. We offer our experiences:

CAConrad: Warmth blowing off the ocean pulled me into the water. At first I stood knee-deep, then felt an electrical EXCITEMENT and threw myself onto my back to look at the sky. There were three bright stars directly above me, two for my shoulders, one for my feet. But then the incoming tide forced my legs apart. I went limp to allow the ocean to position me, waves fucking me, waves fucking me, waves fucking me, waves fucking me. A small animal was in my left palm for a moment, something that looked like a miniature armadillo or beige beetle with many legs. After it swam away my hand felt a large shell fragment, smoothly worn into a hook. I brought it back for Debrah, told her it was from Aphrodite, to help her gently hook and pull love into her life.

Debrah Morkun: After receiving this goddess lore sea treasure from CAConrad, I made my way to the waves, listening to the communal oyster, crab, sea urchin sounds that one can only hear through auditory spying. I listened to the human sounds, the sounds of human ghosts, humans who spent centuries dying at sea. I thought about the communal voice that these sea ghosts create – a cacophony of both dead human voices & the sounds of sea creatures mating. The Earth is often referred to as The Blue Planet due to its astounding hydrosphere, so I thought about what it means to be a Blue Person on a Blue Planet as I finally reached the ocean, embraced it, allowed it to bring its salty survival all around my legs, drenching my dress, feeling the eternal pull of the ocean. While connecting to the salt & its commotion, a seashell kept finding its way under my left foot, rubbing against my big toe. Despite the tumult of the waves, this shell remained there. I knew this shell was to be my gift to CAConrad, for when I looked at it, I realized it was an "essence hook." With this hook, Conrad will be able to catch those little things that are really big things, the essences at the root of all life.

We took more notes and asked if the ritual was complete. Wind pulled a gate at the edge of the dance floor closed: our answer. We went back into the gazebo to bid farewell to the four directions and close the circle. Our notes from this collaborative magic ritual were shaped into poems.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


--for Jamie Townsend

Watch weather report for heavy rain. On the day before, drink NOTHING. No beverages of any kind. Eat no soup or broth. Eat only steamed vegetables with soft noodles or bread. Wait for rain. Set your alarm to wake in the middle of the night, and then sit by the window peering into the dark sky with binoculars. Think about your first memory of being thirsty. Take notes, go back to sleep.

Wait for rain. You are still not drinking the next day and you are very thirsty. When rain arrives sit by the window. Close your eyes, take your pulse, hear the rain, feel your blood. Imagine that the water you hear coming to earth will never touch your lips, can never quench the dryness that is your mouth. Were you ever so thirsty that you were in pain? Open your eyes, take notes.

Go out into the rain. Lie on the ground. Look into the sky through binoculars with your mouth open. Drink DIRECTLY from the air while watching the streaming drops fall onto the binocular lens. Open an umbrella and take notes to the beating of rain. You are a drought that is cured. You are a body sponging back your life. Shape your three sets of notes into one poem or three.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


--for Dana Ward

Every once in awhile I think something about a stranger on the sidewalk and they dart a glance at me and I get it -- I GET IT -- we are one! Allow seven consecutive days for this exercise. DAY ONE, think about a woman you know, think about experiences you have had with her. Think about conversations you have had, think about the things she wears, eats, her way of walking, her laugh. Think about every detail you can imagine. See if she calls you or emails you. Take notes about this attempt at psychic connection.

DAY TWO, do everything you did in DAY ONE, but for a man you know. DAY THREE, go out to the streets and follow someone walking a dog. Look closely at the dog, study the dog’s movements. Whistle in your head, bark in your head. Imagine throwing a stick, throwing food, yelling "GOOD DOG!" Does the dog respond to this? If so, how? Take notes.

DAYS FOUR, FIVE, SIX, and SEVEN are for strangers. In cafes or restaurants, or followed briefly on the sidewalk. Try to connect with two women and two men, complete strangers out in the world in shops and museums, or going up escalators or standing in line at the bank. Focus on the clothing they wear. Shoes. Imagine saying HELLO, and each time imagine walking beside them and saying HELLO. If you want, end each experiment by doing just that. Visualize tugging their sleeve, TUG IT with your mind; punctuated with putting a hand on their shoulder and saying, "Don’t I know you?" Imagine clapping and shouting "HEY! HEY! HEY YOU!" Did they look at you WHILE you were walking behind them doing your experiment? Communicating beyond the auditory is our goal. But punctuate it with a HELLO. What are their reactions? How do you feel about it? Take these seven days of notes and form your poem(s).

Monday, August 22, 2011

AUGUST, 2011 Philadelphia workshop

(Soma)tic Poetry Workshop


Monday, August 8, 2011

Many thanks to Eric Baus for his thoughtful, insightful essay on the brilliant Arthur Russell. And the (Soma)tic chapbook ARTHUR ECHO that I had the great pleasure of writing with Thom Donovan!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

iPhone poetry app

The Academy of American Poets has just published my (Soma)tic poetry exercise "CONFETTI ALLEGIANCE" and its resulting poem as an iPhone app, which you can view here without use of a phone.

And for the full text and formatting, it is also available at this link.

Thank you, and ENJOY! I'm very happy to have an iPhone poem!

Friday, July 15, 2011


just written about David Buuck
and The Crystal Nexus
for all
the details!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


(Soma)tic Poetry Workshop


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#58 DOUBLE-shelter

"thriving requires more than just survival."
       --Erica Kaufman

If you’re visiting someone far away, first spend time studying everyday structures of your own apartment. Where and HOW does the light hit walls? Press your ear to the refrigerator, taste the water with small sips, eyes open, eyes closed. Study the smell and temperature of rooms. Feel your pulse on the toilet, in the shower, by the oven. Cook broccoli with a little oil and salt. Eat it slowly.

As soon as you arrive at the house you are visiting cook broccoli with a little oil and salt. Eat it slowly. Do everything in reverse order, pressing your ear to the refrigerator. How is it different? Take notes while investigating THE TRUTH if there is truth. What does it mean to say THE TRUTH? What matters most? The water has what differences? Are they subtle? Metallic?

Listen to Philip Glass on the floor, on your back, very still, in, the, dark, just, you, and, Mr. Glass. I chose the song “MUSIC IN CONTRARY MOTION.” Reflect on a personal violence you want undone. Some terrible THING that removed the beauty you once lived with. My boyfriend Mark (nicknamed Earth) moved to a queer community in Tennessee to work the land. He meditated in a cave each day where homophobic men followed him, bound and gagged him, covered him in gasoline and set him on fire. For a long time I would go to sleep and dream of stabbing his murderers, shooting his murderers, drowning, choking and bludgeoning his murderers. Breathtaking dreams of retribution for the man I loved, which, woke, me, each, morning, more inconsolable than the last. I was never going to feel happy again it seemed. Take notes about how the violence in your life will not leave. How it may never leave. Take notes about how you are sensing the world differently since then.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

6/5/11 (Soma)tic Poetry Workshop

for all details on the
JUNE Philadelphia
go to

Saturday, May 21, 2011

#57 SPLAB Institute in Seattle

(the following exercise was created at the SPLAB Institute in Seattle, Washington on 4/30/11. This collaborative exercise was created by: Greg Bem, Alex Bleecker, J Chive, Adriana Grant, Armen Moradians, Meredith Nelson, Paul E. Nelson, Reshe Sabre, Stanley Sabre, Jeremy Springsteed, Ellen Welcker)

find a quiet room in which to lie down. it may be your bedroom
or living room. it may be blue. open all openable things. leave
open. place something pungent to eat near where you
will lie. it may be an orange. set an intention. close
eyes. seek sound. notice the first one you hear,
then the next. they may come either from
inside (house, room, you) or otherwise.
connect them in your ear with string.
it may be catgut. continue to
connect until you fall asleep.
wake up, hold nose closed.
as still as possible, take
a bite of the pungent
thing. release nostrils.
wait for something to
happen. resume
fall ba
ck a
p. re

Monday, May 9, 2011

(Soma)tic poem in The UPL

Click HERE to find the PDF of my (Soma)tic exercise and poem. This one was about sitting in a storm, EATING the storm. I loved doing it!

Click HERE to see other writing in The UPL: The Underground Public Library of NYC, edited by the amazing Greta Byrum!


MAY 15th

(Soma)tic Poems

workshop is $25
please use the Pay Pal button below
(if you miss the workshop you may use
payment as credit for a future workshop)


if you would like to make other arrangements to pay
please contact

CAConrad updates the (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises web page monthly. He has also conducted (Soma)tic workshops in Philadelphia, New York City, Seattle, D.C., San Francisco, and elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


How is it where you live? If there are no wealthy people and/or the poor are nurtured and protected, then maybe this exercise is not for you? I have been littering in wealthy neighborhoods with JOYFUL PROTEST for some time now! It is exciting to SEE “refuse” in the open, not hidden in landfills, if only for a moment. Here in Philadelphia taxes pay for uniformed workers to clean prosperous neighborhoods of cigarette butts, cans and wrappers all day, each day, while completely ignoring working class and poor communities. Philadelphia public school students have a 51 percent dropout rate, and 25 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line (That’s 1 in 4 people THAT’S 1 IN 4 PEOPLE!). The police patrol and protect the rich while they INFAMOUSLY threaten, beat and rob the poor (just ask Philadelphia Daily News reporters Barbara Laker & Wendy Ruderman). WE MUST RESIST! WE MUST BE RESISTANCE! Take initial notes on the class structure of where you live.

Save your “garbage” for a week, packaging, and containers, especially plastics. Take notes about each item, tracing its origin of production from label information or the manufacturer’s website. Find other companies they work with, for instance a candy bar needs chocolate from South America, and plastics, inks, and glue for wrappers. Trace on a map the distance each item needs to travel to the candy bar factory, then from the factory to your city. Calculate gasoline and oil consumption per mile. And consider that plastics are petroleum byproducts. And not just the packaging, but in fact many goods themselves are made from oil: hand lotion, shoes, ballpoint pens, disposable diapers, glue, rubbing alcohol, soda and milk jugs, credit cards, nail polish, ink, crayons, and more. Much of the modern world IS oil. Toys, televisions, telephones, microchips, luggage, cars, condoms, it’s in the air, water, soil, food, IT’S IN OUR BODIES! Take notes about oil, take notes about your discovery of oil consumption in ways you had never considered or realized. After immersing yourself in this information STOP! Then write nonstop for 30 minutes, WHATEVER comes to mind, just write! Let it flow! THIS is where the best language for our poems will arise!

Real change needs creativity and action! Using a black marker write suggestive notes on your “garbage”. Littering in wealthy neighborhoods is precarious but gratifying! Just IMAGINE them reading your used tampon marked US WAR! and puzzling over the message. Make the rich THINK! Or at least make their children think! OIL OIL EVERYWHERE! Write on old shoes, sandwich wrappers, cans, bags, snotty tissues, used condoms, THIS OIL WAR! On an empty bottle of hand lotion OIL THIS WAR! On a cereal box THIS FAGGOT WORLD VICTORIOUS! On a soda bottle YOUR SISSY CHILDREN SAVE THE WORLD FROM YOU! As citizens it is our duty to communicate the temperature of SUFFERING! Littering helps us SEE our planet’s transmuted elements before they’re swept into trucks and hauled to the dump, far, far away, leaking toxins into the water and soil. A tidy sidewalk does NOT EQUAL thoughtful, mindful citizenry! CITIZENS OF THE WORLD RISE UP AND FILL THE STREETS OF THE AFFLUENT WITH YOUR SHIT AND “GARBAGE” TODAY! Let them SMELL and READ the products of THEIR WARS! Write on your “garbage,” WE DEMAND A PLANET SAFE FOR ANIMALS AND OTHER HUMANS! Take notes about your littering excursions. Take notes about the neighborhoods you visit with your deposits. Take notes, take MANY notes, then STOP! Write for 30 minutes on autopilot. Always remember to carry your notes with you wherever you go to pull and wrench your poem into existence.

Monday, March 28, 2011

new (Soma)tic chapbook!

I'm very excited about my new chapbook MUGGED into poetry from Cannot Exist Press! And it's only $5 for pre-sale now. All details about the chapbook, as well as other new chapbooks and issue #7 of Cannot Exist Magazine, please click HERE!

APRIL 2011 (Soma)tic Workshop

April 10th

the poetry in everyone

workshop is $25
please use the Pay Pal button below
(if you miss the workshop you may use
payment as credit for a future workshop)


if you would like to make other arrangements to pay
please contact

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


in memory of Akilah Oliver
(1961 - 2011)

"...but I think also death itself, as an event, as a limit, as a field of investigation, is too many things at once. It's solid and it's slippery." (in her interview with BOMB Magazine)

It is horrendous, this world's condition of dying. Loss of life is the most arduous vista of pain. Let us honor Akilah's life and legacy, and honor her advance toward death as "a field of investigation" by writing a poem. One of her many appreciable gifts was her encouragement of others. Years ago when she lived in Philadelphia she taught workshops at the LGBT bookstore I co-managed at the time. Her students always seemed some of the most jubilant, motivated people entering the store. Let's share their enthusiasm TODAY! Bring your favorite Akilah Oliver book to this exercise. Consider creating your own (Soma)tic Reading Enhancement for the book you choose.
The enhancements are to be created intuitively, a structure derived from initial sensations upon receiving a particular book. It is my wish as a poet to motivate readers to not be passive, and to take credit for a poem’s absorption. After all, we each bring a unique set of experiences and circumstances to filter and digest poems, making them part of ourselves and entirely in our own way. In honor of Akilah Oliver let’s inspire one another to have full participatory reading! Take NOTES while engaged in this exercise, notes you will later pull from to shape your poem. A couple of summers ago I created the following reading enhancement for Akilah's book A Toast in the House of Friends. Wanting to get OUT of my city for it, a visceral reaction transpired:

Maybe it was the trees on the cover, or the NEED for something MOVING around me, but I took this book out to the protected wildlife parks around Philadelphia and found a secluded stream, first for my feet, then…. Bring a battery-powered radio, turn it to a talk radio station, but put it far enough away from you that you can hear it, but can’t make out what it is they’re saying. Faint, keep it faint, go and adjust it if you can understand them, as we want the voices to be clearly voices, but the words unattainable with our senses. Get your feet in the moving water and start reading, “language is leaving me: ahhhhh—this victimization shit / is not stable and the victors: / when are we going to safari / we: [astounded exclamation] / nancy reagan out of my head” This is a book, and it feels like it is written right into your skin when you read it. I found an old scuba mask, and if you have one, please wear it and rest your head in the stream, submerging your ears at least for the reading of one poem, “well the point is, things were calm down / here for a while and the world was little. i want to be big like you. or i / want you not vast, not dead, not gone, but human small and here. i am / so selfish. that is what i really want. to see you again. to oil your scalp. to / hear you walk in the door, say ma i’m home. give me a chance to say / welcome home son. or when leaving, don’t forget your hat. what do you wear / out there?” That was the one I read underwater, under running water. This book needs time to be alone between poems. How is the water? How is today for you, reading Akilah’s poems? “i’d like all the stone butches to wave their hands in the air right now, wave em / like they just don’t care / (it seems to be unfortunate but true; corporate spell check does not recognize you / we are all too young to remember this”

Now let's listen to her voice! There are marvelous recordings of Akilah available online, but my favorites are on MATCHING HALF, poems written and performed by Akilah Oliver and Anne Waldman, with the exquisite music of Ambrose Bye. This is A MUST, find a copy! Borrow a copy! LIE FLAT ON YOUR BACK IN THE DARKNESS and listen to the entire CD from beginning to end without stopping. GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE you begin, do NOT interrupt the flow of the CD. Do NOT answer your phone or the door!

Prayer is palms pressing together, directing the circulating energies in the body through the extended fingertips and OUT of the flesh. Let's redirect that energy while listening to the CD. While on your back fold your fingers with fingertips pressing into your chest, this way you conduct the flow of energy back inside you. Occasionally PRESS your fingertips deeper into your chest to better sense your recycled circuitry. Listen carefully to the CD, let their voices SHAKE you out of the landscape where you meditate. Let the poems and music become an entirely new PLACE you go to. When the CD ends light a candle. WRITE THESE PARTICULAR NOTES BY CANDLELIGHT ONLY! Have the candle, paper and pencil sitting beside you so that you don't shift out of position. Notes about death, notes about living with death, notes about the topography of grief, of darkness, isolation, forgiveness, and what it means to give and receive mercy. For the next week keep your notes on you at all times. Walk everywhere with them and BE READY to add to them, or to begin PULLING them and kneading them into a poem, a poem you write for the living who are dying everyday. And STOP sleeping so much! We sleep TOO MUCH!