Mango Reintegration Project

I was lucky enough to take a workshop with CA Conrad at Naropa University’s “Summer Writing Program” this past summer. He designed a (soma)tic exercise for me, using a scenario with a mango, because it is my favorite food, as a unique vantage point from which to come to writing (about loneliness, because this is what the poem I work-shopped with him was about).

Here is what CA has to say about the (soma)tic as a practice:

“I cannot stress enough how much this mechanistic world, as it becomes more and more efficient, resulting in ever increasing brutality, has required me to FIND MY BODY to FIND MY PLANET in order to find my poetry….(Soma)tic poetry is a praxis I’ve developed to more fully engage the everyday through writing. ‘Soma’ is an Indo-Persian word that means ‘the divine.’ ‘Somatic’ is Greek. Its meaning translates as ‘the tissue’ or ‘nervous system.’ The goal is to coalesce soma and somatic, while triangulating patterns of experience with the world around us. Experiences that are unorthodox steps in the writing process can shift the poet’s perception of the quotidian, if only for a series of moments. This offers an opportunity to see the details clearer…”
(CA Conrad, from “A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics”)

Here are the instructions CA left me:

DAY ONE: Draw your face on a mango. Carry it with you throughout the day. Set the mango far away, and look at her through the binoculars. Write about loneliness, write about as many forms of loneliness you have experienced or witnessed. Take time then to write as fast you can without thinking for a few minutes. At the end of the day place the mango next to your bed with her face watching over you. When you wake write while staring into her face, then eat her.

So. I did exactly what he told me to do. And I wrote. I wrote many pages about lonliness. Now I need to go through that material, and edit it, and see what I am left with.



thanks to anyone reading this: for reading it.

love and love and love,

Johnny Cicada


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