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About this poet

Born on January 1, 1966, CAConrad describes himself as "the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift."

He is the author of numerous collections of poetry including Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006); Advanced Elvis Course (2009); The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009), recipient of the Gil Ott Book Award, reprinted by Wave Books in 2010; The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010), with the poet Frank Sherlock; and A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012).

The poet Eileen Myles writes that "[Conrad] always argues (from the inside of his poems) for a poetry of radical inclusivity while keeping a very queer shoulder to the wheel. His kind of queerness strikes me as nonpolarizing, not intentionally but because of the fullness of his exposition, a kind of gigantism that seems to me to be most deeply informed by love, and a tenderness for the ravages and tumult of existence."

CAConrad's awards include a PEW Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Currently, he lives in Philadelphia.

(Soma)tic 5: Storm SOAKED Bread

CAConrad, 1966

—for Julian Brolaski

Sit outside under shelter of a doorway, pavilion, or umbrella on a park bench, but somewhere outside where you can easily touch, smell, taste, FEEL the storm. Lean your face into the weather, face pointed UP to the sky, stay there for a bit with eyes closed while water fills the wells of your eyes. Come back into the shelter properly baptized in the beauty of pure elements and be quiet and still for a few minutes. Take some preliminary notes about your surroundings. Try not to engage with others who might run to your shelter for cover. If they insist on talking MOVE somewhere else; you are a poet with a storm to digest, this isn't time for small talk! You are not running from the storm, you are opening to it, you are IN IT! Stick a bare arm or foot into the storm, let your skin take in a meditative measure of wind and rain. If you are someone who RAN from storms in the past take time to examine the joys of the experience. Remind yourself you are a human being who is approximately 80 percent water SO WHAT'S THE HARM OF A FEW DROPS ON THE OUTSIDE!? Right? YES! Pause, hold your breath for a count of 4, then write with a FURY and without thinking, just let it FLOW OUT OF YOU, write, write, WRITE!

Set an empty cup in the storm, hold a slic of bread in the storm. Then put a little salt and pepper on your storm soaked bread, maybe some oregano and garlic. With deliberate SLOOOWNESS chew your storm bread and drink the storm captured in your cup. Slowly. So, slowly, please, with, a, slowness, that, is, foreign, to, you. THINK the whole slow time of chewing and drinking how this water has been in a cycle for MILLIONS OF YEARS, falling to earth, quenching horses, elephants, lizards, dinosaurs, humans. They pissed, they died, their water evaporated and gathered again into clouds to drizzle down AND STORM DOWN into rivers, puddles, aqueducts, and ancient cupped hands. Humans who LOVED, who are long dead, humans who thieved, raped, murdered, were generous, playful, disappointed, fearful, annoyed and adored one another, each of them dying in their own way, their water going back to the sky, coming back down to your bread, your lips, your stomach, to feed your sinew, your brain, your living, beautiful day. Take your notes POET, IT IS YOUR MOMENT to be totally aware, completely aware!



One Day I Will Step from the Beauty Parlor and Enlist in the Frequency of Starlings



                                           my favorite morning 
                                        is not caring if
                                      blood on sheets
                                       is yours or mine

                                        a machine in
                                         your station
                                           rides me
                                 tracks to snacks      
                                 snacks to tracks

                           I feel very fortunate
                           to know magic is real
                           and poetry is real
                     you can see it in the writing
                     a belief in one is missing

                     a mouse eating
                           the dead
                           cat our
                           longed-for
                           malfunction

                                   I was born
                                    in Topeka
                                    otherwise
                                   they would have
                                    never let me in

                     they circle away holding this place
                     opening opening opening OPENING UP
                             I grope the tree down its root

                                              if truth soothes
                                        soothing was
                                              not truth's goal

                                              my goal
                                         is to do what
                                              produces
                                              memory
                                              as gentle
                                              as vicious
                                                 can

                                    one promise: when
                                     I get to the bottom I'll
                                       accelerate deeper
                                              my small pile
                                              of poems
                                              surprising
                                    everyone along the
                                    open wound
                                              "was there a
                                              death" they ask
                                              "a merger" I say

                                       everyone paying attention
                                                      enjoy your visit
                                                        everyone else
                                                              good luck

From A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon. Copyright © 2012 by CAConrad. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon. Copyright © 2012 by CAConrad. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

CAConrad

CAConrad

Conrad's many awards include a PEW Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Currently, he lives in Philadelphia, PA

by this poet

poem

Confetti Allegiance

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

poem
1

by choking in
11 years
4 months
2 weeks
6 days
12:18 pm

     ———

when i win the lottery
i want my legs amputated
and two beautiful peg legs
wooden of course

Frank Sherlock says it's
a very bad idea
he says i should
reconsider
seriously
reconsider

i want peg legs but
he says i'll regret it
he might
poem

—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