Philadelphia poet CA Conrad has been posting his “somatic poetry exercises” on his (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises blog for awhile now, creating a rather vast resource for poets and creative writing teachers alike, who want to explore writing under physical constraints. The exercises range from slightly elaborate (eating the same color of food each day for 7 days; getting mugged) to simple and elegant, as is the case with the most recent post, co-written with Ryan Eckes, which proposes writing about the sensual experience of a bus ride to a city you’ve never lived:

Have one foot on the floor, the other hovering an inch above the floor. FEEL the staggering, growling engine through the floor. Look outside. What engines move the world out there? Trees, what does the engine of a tree sound like? Touch the seat in front of you in two-second intervals. Lift your hand to the air in front of you. It is FREE from the vibrations of the bus. HOW is this your life? What does it even mean to ask "HOW is this your life?" How are you FREE and not free? Look around you at the strangers on the bus. You are near people who share planet Earth with you. LOOK AT THEM. What do you have in common with each other? Take notes, take notes, notes notes notes.

Originally Published: November 9th, 2010