(Soma)tic Poetry Exercise & Poem


for Jocelyn Saidenberg & Rob Halpern

Gather sand from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. When I collected sand in Atlantic City I meditated with the ocean for an hour, then dug a hole, placed a quartz crystal in the hole, covered it with sand and crystal-infused water (Fiji water). I repeated this ritual at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. During both rituals I was conscious of facing AWAY from America. East and AWAY! West and AWAY! Migration of senses, their capacities perceived and pursued. Back home, using a compass, I positioned the head of my bed north for 4 nights of concentrated ocean dream enhancement. Night 1: Atlantic sand in a cloth under my pillow with a continuous recording of ocean tides playing from the east. I drank crystal-infused water to better remember my dreams. As soon as I woke I took my notes DO NOT DO ANYTHING PEE CRY ANSWER THE PHONE MAKE LOVE until you have taken your notes. Night 2: Repeat ritual, except use Pacific sand in a fresh cloth under the pillow and play ocean tide from the west. Night 3: Repeat ritual, except have both cloths of sand under the pillow and play ocean tides from east and west. As you begin to doze, listen for when the tides match pace, your body between them, America between them. Night 4: Mix the sand in a fresh cloth for the pillow, then play ocean tides from east, west, north, and south. Set the alarm to wake in the middle of the night, move your head south, sand now at your feet in the north. Gather your four rounds of notes and sculpt your poem.




The last large wild beasts are being hunted, fished, poisoned, asphyxiated in one way or another, and the transmission of their wildness is dying, taming. A desert is rising with this falling pulse. It is our duty as poets and others who have not lost our jagged, creative edges to FILL that gap, and 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. With our poems and creative core, we must RETURN THIS WORLD to its seismic levels of wildness.


CAConrad is the recipient of the 2009 Gil Ott Book Award for The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010). He is also the author of Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), (Soma)tic Midge (Faux Press, 2008), Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock, The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010). He is a co-founder of PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension). The son of white trash asphyxiation, his childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. Visit him online or with his friends.

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