(Soma)tic Poetry Exercise & Poem by CAConrad

Ecstatic and unflagging, CAConrad is a poet of singular verve. His exercise approaches the tenor of mystic rite—no shambling rote, no sir—and the verse it bears forth raises upon loci of torment a worldly oratory to the extraordinary ordinary, to the flawed and failing and dear.

​Judith Supine

Judith Supine, I Was a Widow, 2011, acrylic, collage, varnish, resin on pine wood, 48 × 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


for Erica Kaufman

Wash a penny, rinse it, slip it under your tongue, and walk out the door. Copper is the metal of Aphrodite, never ever forget this, never, don’t forget it, ever. Drink a little orange juice outside and let some of the juice rest in your mouth with the penny. Oranges are the fruit of Aphrodite, and she is the goddess of Love, but not fidelity. Go somewhere, go, get going with your penny and juice. Where do you want to sit? Find it, and sit there.

What is the best Love you’ve ever had in this world? Be quiet while thinking about that Love. If someone comes along and starts talking, quietly shoo them away, you’re busy, you’re a poet with a penny in your mouth, idle chitchat is not your friend. Be quiet so quiet, let the very sounds of that Love be heard in your bones. After a little while take the penny out of your mouth and place it on the top of your head. Balance it there and sit still a little while, for you are now moving your own forces quietly about in your stillness. Now get your pen and paper and write about POVERTY, write line after line about starvation and deprivation from the voice of one who has been Loved in this world.


“Shopping without money is a

challenge with the cameras.”

—my mother

why are you trembling dear one

my president has come to free you

hair flying at

bullet’s impact

the shooter’s beautiful

crooked teeth

argued up the evolution of

borrowed faces to

angle potent

my pregnancy dream told me

not born but evicted

length mopped over later

operating a forgotten bell

Venus stipulates a

freedom not to be dismissed or

every grip weakens

smell it to

see it

a joint groans inside its

flesh casing

“have sent it

inside” means

thinking deeper on it as

other waves

proceed through

we cannot train

ourselves to feel less

a silent

misuse of the ordinary until this

moment cannot stand

on its own

each failed attention

sent stinking

pulling your ass apart in

your sleep

no beverage

eliminates the


ask our


bartender as we

bend from

the ceiling with

a fresh ocean-catch


watch through a

hollowed-out bone our

perfection of

brutality as


suddenly lacking

courage to

steal every

day’s larder

emptying pockets slower

does not bring us to a

new sense of

where we left off

aggravate over our

dumb scratch the

dead can I

promise you

CAConrad is a recipient of a 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, as well as the 2009 Gil Ott Book Award. He is the author of A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012), The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010), Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), Deviant Propulsion(Soft Skull Press, 2006), and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010). The son of white trash asphyxiation, his childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.

Judith Supine, born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1978, is a collage artist and painter working and living in Brooklyn. He can be reached at studio (at) judithsupine (dot) com.

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