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(Soma)tic Reading Enhancements INSTALLMENT #1

By CAConrad

A thousand different readers of a poem make a thousand different poems. The creativity in the reading percolates through the same membrane as the writing.

(Soma)tic reading enhancements like (Soma)tic poetry rituals create an extreme present, a unique space to force time to come home to the body for the pleasures of the poems. Here, it is all about being here. These are four new books that itch my ear and it is my wish as a poet to encourage readers to not be passive and to take the initiative to break open the idea of the poem’s absorption. Below are four titles, with samples I read aloud, and the things I did when reading.


Frank Sherlock
Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated (ixnay press, 2014)

It was at a Montana rest stop where I met Jerry who was hauling goods to Tacoma. It was the usual way men look at one another to show sexual interest that doesn’t alert men who are not looking, not interested. Walking back to his big rig I asked him if reading poems while having sex would appeal to him. “What? Okay, sure.” I grabbed Frank Sherlock’s newest book out of the library in my trunk before climbing into Jerry’s beautifully upholstered truck. While lubing into the poems I convinced Jerry to try jumper cable foreplay as I started to read (from “VDA”):

Careful w/ the kisses

now This could be

a clown mouth

This could be blood

I dream here in

excess not to remember

but for a new


“Is this poet queer?” I answered, “Oh Frank has a kinship with Pan that runs deep.” Poetry traces our mouths a tenacious lipstick. Can I trust you to leave me alone with the dark parts left hanging? Jerry reads poems while adjusting his cock ring. It is beautiful how the poem persuades the direction of the orgasm. The actual poem set to launch the actual ejaculate. He has the kind of testicles that heave up into his body when he is on the edge, a nice YIELD SIGN to calm it down, keep it going, ride the poem to the rhythm of the arching spine. Don’t get rid of it just yet, hang in there, c’mon, hang, in, there. Sex is poetry’s amplification and poetry is better than your finest amyl nitrate. I encourage Jerry C’MON JERRY to read in his most imperious Power Bottom articulacy (from “Very Different Animals”):

The gaze is

gazing back I want to

get to outer

space on this land

to be an Extra

Territorial What

went wrong I

went & purchased

a slat in that

starvation wall



Hoa Nguyen
Red Juice (Wave Books, 2014)

The Six of Wands tarot card as ceremonial knife is a celebratory application. I sliced the inside of my left cheek with the edge of the card, blood on the tongue reading in the serial cuts, ordered to taste. The map the reader wants and the abandonment that occurs match if the reader wants to disappear. We are our own best meats. We are our own fountains of red juice. Read the poems right off the palate (from “Add Some Blue”):

Blue can spell your name         I don’t
know that yet either        wrapped up
in the snake’s coil        and wipe my hands

You have all the blue a little bit of
blue        like a blue turtle
encased in red-blue        blue-red
the throbbing vein

These vascular vernaculars they are rolling on, the poems. I sliced the inside of my right cheek, interrupting salts on their nutrient shuttle. This flow increased the poem’s metallic, HOLD ON, blossom. Hecate winds arteries into the threshold—the poet has claimed her space—the poet has her six wands ascending. Red tip of the card sucked to pink. Sucked further to white. Murmur about the bleeding, the little wounds open and close inside my mouth as my mouth opens and closes. Filter blood and saliva through the words (from “They Sell You What Disappears”):

They sell you what disappears        it’s a vague “they”
maybe capital T               who are they and mostly
poorly paid in China

Why does this garlic come from China?
It’s vague to me               shipping bulbous netted bulbs
Cargo doused with fungicide and growth inhibitor

What disappears is vague                I can’t trade for much
I can cook              teach you cooking                ferment
bread or poetry                I can sell my plasma



Magdalena Zurawski
Companion Animal (Litmus Press, 2015)

DAY ONE no takers:
Can I read a poem to your dog? Can I please read a poem to your dog? Excuse me I would LOVE to read a poem to your dog. Your dog is very cute would she like to hear a poem from a new book by Magdalena Zurawski? It is celestial, exquisitely published by Litmus Press, 88 magic pages. Poetry by my lifelong assessment is a cabinet of nutritive provisions.

DAY TWO new tactics:
Hi, does your dog like treats? I said I have a bag of treats would your dog like a treat and to hear a poem? Yes, a poem with the treat. Okay great, here is the treat. Wait, wait, the poem, yes a poem, okay? Okay, here it is, by Magdalena Zurawski, it’s so new you can still smell the machines that made it. The printing press I mean, for books, does that make better sense? Okay, here it is (from “[DOG IS A WAY OF THINKING]”):

My language, which likes
to prove I am not

alone, wants
to talk to me again
today. It’s

telling me, Don’t
forget: you want
to be less like Homer and
not at all like Milton, but
more like your dog.

DAY THREE standing in a dog park filled with dogs running around I read Magdalena’s poems as loud as I can humans stay away some humans whistle for their dogs to also stay away a small beagle sits in front of me tilts her head and barks herself into becoming a super fan she is soon joined by a boxer who excitedly sniffs her butt when I read more poems (from “[INVITATION TO A MARXIST LESBIAN PARTY]”):

Dear Marge,

is only
a form
of money,
if you’re
an ass-



Nikki Wallschlaeger
Houses (Horse Less Press, 2015)

I was driving out of Milwaukee in the rain when the weather report said the storm was headed to New Orleans. Nikki was excited the night before around the bonfire telling me that she is visiting New Orleans in a few months. I pulled my car over, pointed its nose South East. I got my umbrella out of the trunk and read Nikki’s book out loud while leaning against the front bumper. Line after line into the storm, louder, LOUDER, her poems riding the thunder to the city of jazz, sending her words ahead of her into her summer visit. Rain and tires in rain and birds caught in rain and worms coming up in it and all of the high voltage wringing overhead (from “Castleton Green House”):

Think of all the gun suppliers who want to shoot me because
       time is
hideous. They make houses for their guns made out of
       carpenters. Then
they find a reputable glass-man to fit gas over my face.

“We’ll take it from here,” says the chief of police. They found
       my body
stunning & practical for the town forum. They carry me
       there so I can co-
hair while playing House, show ‘em how it’s done, Emma’s

mom in her lace last silkworms of the world screenprinted
       across her bag.

Purple cup held into the storm. Purple the color of transformation. Storm water in the cup, read poems into the water LOVE these poems, YELL them into cup into the molecules of water then DRINK it I drink I LOVE the drunken spell of the poems. Call me into the circle Nikki listen to your conjuring bringing us to the authority of light in each drop (from “Glitter House”):

Has nothing to do with you. I was going to say. I was going
       to say social
thing. Social thing like pleather it’s a big one, shame. I wish
       we could go
back & witness our friend’s births. What kind of scream or

whimper micromanages you. Traces of languages, a baby
       with a gourd in
my fist, covered with names. To be shameless with a shovel.
       Digging up a
stage in a community theater. If we knew what we were

getting ourselves into. The humanity of a people on the cover
       of Vogue, a
basketball player next to a supermodel. I feel so good about
       my progress
that I’ve fallen in love with life. Like no one else on earth

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Posted in Featured Blogger on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 by CAConrad.