I stole a book and I liked it.

Sing it to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”

 

Of COURSE I didn’t really STEAL it; well, I kinda did. While I was visiting Angel Boy 2.0, I found an intriguing book that belonged to my son and it sorta made its way into my carryon.

By CAConrad, Ecodeviance (Soma)tics for the Future Wildnerness is a book of poetry and essays that demands attention. This is not a quicky beach read.

There’s humor, pathos, despair; references to Reiki and crystals. There is love and death.This is a polar shift diversion from my usual reading fare of romance novels and vegan cookbooks. It’s like this…it’s as if you’re driving down the highway on your regular commute and all of a sudden you slam on the brakes, and while they’re squealing and smoking, you completely turn around and speed 100mph in the opposite direction.

Not only is that an apt description of me and this book; it’s a metaphor for my life right about now.

Conrad has become known for his “(Soma)tic” poetry — works that are part map of his process, part writing exercises, part final product, and that emphasize doing and living in a body. In an interview in the film, Conrad calls the (Soma)tics “ritualized structures where being anything but present was next to impossible.” [From http://www.notey.com/@hyperallergic_unofficial/external/8647290/the-ritualized-anger-of-a-queer-poet.html]

“What would you wear for camouflage if you were hiding in a gingerbread house?
I’m NOT hiding, I WANT the witch to eat me!”

From the Poetry Foundation website:

Poet CAConrad grew up in Pennsylvania, where he helped to support his single mother during his difficult youth. Influenced by Eileen Myles,Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Emily Dickinson, he writes poems in which stark images of sex, violence, and defiance build a bridge between fable and confession. In a 2010 interview with Luke Degnan for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBlog, Conrad discussed his approach to poetry, which focuses on process and on engaging the permeability of the border between self and other. “Ultimately, I want my (Soma)tic poetry and poetics to help us realize at least two things. That everything around us has a creative viability with the potential to spur new thinking and imaginative output and that the most necessary ingredient to bringing the sustainable, humane changes we need and want for our world requires creativity in all lives, every single day.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/c-a-conrad

CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays. A Pew Fellow , he has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, and Ucross.

For his books and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (Delinquent Films, 2016), visit http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

Two of my favorites:

PRETERNATURAL CONVERSATIONS

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, yelling “GOOD DOG! GOOD DOG! YOU ARE A VERY 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. Study them in cafes, museums, going up escalators, or maybe standing in line at the bank. Aim your attention at the clothing they wear, or the way they chew food. Envision saying HELLO, and tugging their sleeve. TUG IT with your mind, punctuated with putting an imaginary 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? Communicating beyond the auditory is our goal. What are their reactions? How do you feel about it? Take these seven days of notes and form your poem(s).

 

SEVEN

if i had been
there when they
invented the word
chair
things would
be different would sound better
look at this amazing
structure holding
our bodies in place
to write
to quarrel with ourselves and others
to eat and sing
to launch forth new ideas
to comfort the sphincter
chair is a ridiculous word
monosyllabic NONSENSE
i love chairs but remain
annoyed by their name
living in this post vocabulary
chosen without
imagination
chair chair chair CHAIR
nothing less than
seven syllables will do

CAConrad reads “Preternatural Conversations”

What would I tell my twenty-year-old self?

I’ve been inspired by all the interesting, poignant, witty, and funny entries so I decided to add my own two cents. I discovered #genfab on Twitter and would join the FB group, but I can’t figure out where it is!  This week they’re doing a blog hop on the topic “writing a letter to your 20-year-old self”. Here’s what I have to say. I’ve also included links to some other posts at the bottom of this page for your reading pleasure.

1. Hey girl! Be a mouthy bitch sooner rather than later. Stop letting everyone push you around. Develop your Napoleon complex right now; don’t wait!

2. Stay out of the sun. You don’t need to lay out at the beach and tan for six hours a day, seven days a week–from June to September. Cocoa butter and baby oil are a lethal combo. Thank goodness there’s Botox and fillers, but you can’t imagine the rest of the damage too much tanning can do. A little spot of basel cell carcinoma will be in your future along with some Moh’s surgery and a few sutures. You could have avoided that. Stop refusing the straw hat mommy gave you.  She’s a nurse. She knows.

3. Be nicer to mommy. (Yes, you and I called her mommy ’til the end.) Don’t roll your eyes at me; really. Be nice. As soon as you have your own baby, you’ll understand 99% of everything she said that you pretended not to hear. You will really miss her when she’s gone, trust me.

4. For one second and one second only, peer inside this crystal ball and see all the things you’re NOT gonna do: become a famous ballet dancer like Anna Pavlova, go to Val D’Isere to study French and ski, spend the summer in Minnesota studying the wolf population while actually living among them, move to LA to pursue a real acting career, study harder and go to med school, study harder and go to law school, marry the guy with the massive trust fund, get that boob job–and then STOP thinking about what you DON’T have and what you DIDN’T do and focus on what you DO have. That will end up being your most favorite thing to say to people–whether it’s regrets about the past or food they shouldn’t eat.

5. You are going to be the luckiest girl in the world. You are going to give birth to the most wonderful angel child that ever existed in the universe. He will be a planned for, wanted, loved, and adored boy– even before the very first moment you realized you were actually pregnant. As you will tell him on his twenty-first birthday, every breath he has taken has given you joy. You will be lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom and never miss one smile, one milestone, one MEAL. You will be the one to nurture his every interest, teach him to read and watch his world open up through books. You’ll teach him to love animals, to be kind and gentle, to care about the environment, to have a voice, to stand up for what is right no matter what. You are going to be a great mom except for those couple of times that you weren’t. We won’t discuss that. No one’s perfect.

6. When you’re a mother-in-law, you can take all some none of the credit for his choice of a brilliant, outspoken, funny, gorgeous DIL (who also happens to have very curly hair that she diligently straightens.) Now’s the time to give DIL a major shout out for kick starting my foray into blogging and social media. Thank you, S! Now go make J his dinner. Ha ha.

7. Sit down for this one. It’s painful. All My Children will end. I know, right?

8. You’re gonna marry two guys; one will become BioDad and the other will be the best stepdad in the world. Your past and present husbands will become friends and spend time together. (A really, really long future blog, maybe even a book.)

9. Now that I think of it, I’ll allow a moment of sadness to recall how you didn’t get that major role in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at the Old Globe in San Diego. You are really, really going to want that, and you were really, really awesome at the audition, and not getting it will be a huge disappointment.

10. And finally, when you’re in your late, late late forties, and by that I mean fifties, you’ll still act like you’re 20, OK, I mean 16–oh all right then, 13! You’re gonna love Katy Perry, Christina Perri, Adele, Gossip Girl, Hello Kitty (don’t ask, just know that it’s in your future), anything sparkly (especially diamonds), animal print, Chanel, and have a very healthy obsession with seashells that will bring you fame and fortune as Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife, and you’ll meet a few like-minded witty chickas– whilst writing something called a blog–

More articles in the blog hop…

The Fur Files Looking backward: What we’d tell our 20-year-old selves (After The Kids Leave) Dear 20-Year Old Me (Chloe of the Mountain) To Marci, On Your 20th Birthday (The Midlife 2nd Wife) Having a talk with my 20-year-old self (Midlife Crisis Queen) A Heart-to-Heart with 20 Year Old Me (Books is Wonderful) What Would You Tell your Twenty-Year-Old Self? (Empty House, Full Mind) Dear 20 Year Old Me (Kids Are Grown) Back to the Future (Employee to EmployMe) Callow, Clueless, and Cruising Paris (Daily Plate of Crazy) Happy Birthday, Twenty-Year-Old Me (Not a Supermom)

  • Twenty. (stephyness.wordpress.com)