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(Soma)tic Poetry Exercise
& Poem

Storm SOAKED Bread

             —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% 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 slice 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, which, 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 awake!


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 if
      a belief in one is missing

       a mouse eating
                  the dead
                  cat our

                     I was born
                      in Topeka
                     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
                                               as gentle as
                                               vicious can
                              one promise: when
                                I get to the bottom I’ll
                                   accelerate deeper
                                            my small pile
                                            of poems
                                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




CAConrad is the author of The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010), Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and a collaboration with Frank Sherlock, The City Real & Imagined (Factory School Press, 2010). His newest book of poetry is A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012). He lives in Philadelphia and writes with his friends at PhillySound, and he is a co-foudner of PACE: Poet-Activist Community Extension. Look for him at http://CAConrad.blogspot.com. Contact author.

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