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About this poet

Born on January 1, 1966, CAConrad describes himself as "the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift."

He is the author of numerous collections of poetry including Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006); Advanced Elvis Course (2009); The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009), recipient of the Gil Ott Book Award, reprinted by Wave Books in 2010; The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010), with the poet Frank Sherlock; and A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012).

The poet Eileen Myles writes that "[Conrad] always argues (from the inside of his poems) for a poetry of radical inclusivity while keeping a very queer shoulder to the wheel. His kind of queerness strikes me as nonpolarizing, not intentionally but because of the fullness of his exposition, a kind of gigantism that seems to me to be most deeply informed by love, and a tenderness for the ravages and tumult of existence."

CAConrad's awards include a PEW Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Currently, he lives in Philadelphia.

Confetti Allegiance: Love Letter to Jim Brodey

CAConrad, 1966

Confetti Allegiance

Is there a deceased poet who was alive in your lifetime but you never met, and you wish you had met? A poet you would LOVE to correspond with, but it's too late? Take notes about this missed opportunity. What is your favorite poem by this poet? Write it on unlined paper by hand (no typing). If we were gods we wouldn't need to invent beautiful poems, and that's why our lives are more interesting, and that's why the gods are always meddling in our affairs out of boredom. It's like the fascination the rich have with the poor, as Alice Notley says, "the poor are more interesting than others, almost uniformly." This poem was written by a human poet, and we humans love our poets, if we have any sense. Does something strike flint in you from the process of engaging your body to write this poem you know and love? Notes, notes, take notes.

The poet for me in doing this exercise is Jim Brodey and his poem "Little Light," which he wrote in the bathtub while listening to the music of Eric Dolphy, masturbating in the middle of the poem, "while the soot-tinted noise of too-full streets echoes / and I pick up the quietly diminishing soap & do / myself again." Take your handwritten version of the poem and cut it into tiny confetti. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and toss the confetti poem in. Add garlic, onion, parsnip, whatever you want, pepper it, salt it, serve it over noodles or rice. Eat the delicious poem with a nice glass of red wine, pausing to read it out loud and toast the poet, "MANY APOLOGIES FOR NOT TOASTING YOU WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE!" Take notes while slowly chewing the poem. Chew slowly so your saliva breaks the poem down before it slides into your belly to feed your blood and cells of your body. Gather your notes, write your poem.


                                                Love Letter to Jim Brodey

                                                                        Dear Jim
                                                                        for
                                                                those whose
                                                acid trips were a success
                                                only twice
                                                I've met men who
                                                are high exactly
                                                as they are sober
                                                both became my lovers

                                                both died one like
                                        you died Jim he
                                played music too
                                loud at parties to
                                gather us into a
                                single frequency feel
                                healed for the length
                                of a song

                                                nothing works forever
                                there was something in
                                the air that year Jim
                                and you put it there

                                        a rapt center in
                                           pivot looking
                                                   to face
                                                    love again
                                        learning to
                        accept what's offered
                        without guilt

                                        to be reminded
                                                of nothing
                my favorite day not dragging
                        the dead around

                                                they're looking
                                        for Lorca in the Valley
                                                    of the Fallen

                                        Franco's thugs would understand
                                "developing countries" means
                                getting them ready for 
                                mining diamonds drilling oil
                                teaching them to make a
                                decent cup of coffee for
                                visiting executives

                                                if I'm not going
                                        to live like this
                                        anymore I must will
                                        every cell to
                                                        stand away

                                                the History of Madness
                                        725 pages is too much to
                                        not be normal

                                                scorn is very
                                        motivating

                                                        I'm vegetarian unless
                                                angels are on the
                                                menu mouth watering
                                                deep fried wings
                                                shove greasy bones in
                                                their trumpets

                                        the cost of
                                                scorn is
                                                often unexpected

                                        I see my fascist
                                neighbor from downstairs
                                "Did my boyfriend and
                                I make too much
                                noise last night?"
                                his glare the
                                YES that keeps
                                me smiling

Copyright © 2010 by CAConrad. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by CAConrad. Used with permission of the author.

CAConrad

CAConrad

Conrad's many awards include a PEW Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Currently, he lives in Philadelphia, PA

by this poet

poem
1

by choking in
11 years
4 months
2 weeks
6 days
12:18 pm

     ———

when i win the lottery
i want my legs amputated
and two beautiful peg legs
wooden of course

Frank Sherlock says it's
a very bad idea
he says i should
reconsider
seriously
reconsider

i want peg legs but
he says i'll regret it
he might
poem

For Penny Arcade

There must be a piece of art near where you live that you enjoy, even LOVE! A piece of art that IF THERE WAS WAR you would steal it and hide it in your little apartment. I'm going to PACK my apartment TO THE ROOF when war comes! This exercise needs 7 days, but not 7 consecutive days

poem

—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