Resurrect Extinct Vibration
Resurrect Extinct Vibration is a (Soma)tic poetry ritual I have been working with for the past year. Please let me explain. I create rituals that I do and while doing them I take raw notes that are later sculpted into poems. These rituals demand physical interactions with the world, keeping a strong focus on the present while writing. One might say the rituals create a space of “extreme present” where nothing except the ritual and the writing within the ritual can be concentrated on.
In the Resurrect ritual I use a mix of audio field recordings of recently extinct animals. When driving across the United States in my car I take time each day no matter where I am to lie on the ground and saturate my body with these extinct sounds, the speakers first at my feet then slowly moving up my body. I take notes for my poem immediately after the ritual is completed.
The World Wildlife Fund’s biennial report from 2014 revealed the stark results from analysis of accumulated research that more than half of our planet’s wild animals have disappeared in the past four decades. My goal with the Resurrect ritual is to focus on Ecopoetics as more than our degraded soil, air, and water, but to also consider and begin including the idea of vibrational absence. When a species becomes extinct they take their sounds with them: song, cry, breath, footfall, heartbeat. And we in turn replace their sounds with our human sounds, our metal, machines, bombs, cars, etc. When I was born over half a century ago my cells were formed on a more complex, organic vibration than the cells of children being born today.
My goal is to delve even deeper in 2017 and 2018 into this ritual, writing poems as a study through my body, the results of returning these missing sounds to my cells. Part of the ritual involves sleeping in my car in Walmart parking lots. I view Walmart as the epitome of the effects of Manifest Destiny upon the land. There are 9,000 Walmart stores in the lower 48 states with each one holding between 250,000 and half a million items on site for sale. Outside in the parking lots each night, and this is true no matter where I am in the United States, there are homeless families living in cars.
Another component to the ritual happens at sunrise, listening to the extinct animal sounds on headphones while walking in a spiral formation inside the Walmart, working my way into the middle of the store. At the center of the spiral I find a spot to kneel and take more notes for my poem. In the end it is a poem pointing a finger within the body living inside the structures of capital and religion and how those forces worked together to shape ideas that in turn reshaped the planet. As a transgendered / gender-fluid person I will write through the broad spectrum of my experienced genders as a vehicle for the poetry to compound its message and song.
CAConrad’s 9th book is titled While Standing in Line for Death (Wave, 2017). Among their other titles is The Book of Frank (Wave, 2010), which is now available in 9 different languages. They have received fellowships from Pew, Lannan, Banff and RADAR, and their book ECODEVIANCE (Wave, 2014) won the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award. Publishers Weekly says, “Conrad consistently surprises, and few, if any, American poets are doing more visionary, disorienting, and wonderful work today.” For information on their books and films, visit them online at http://bit.ly/88CAConrad.
‘Camisado’ is one of 108 poems resulting from the Resurrect Extinct Vibration ritual first published here.