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.