Friday, September 24, 2010

"The Book of Frank," CAConrad: "this lithe magic waiting to come out"

"It's good for poets to write all the time, write write write, write every single day. And to STAY AWAY from novel writing. Poets and novelists should be mortal enemies in my opinion. Novelists who try their hand at writing poems always IMPROVE their novels. But generally speaking, poets who take to writing novels probably wind up writing good novels, but it often ruins their poems forever. There are only a few poets who write novels whose poems are as amazing as their poems are, and who continue to write beautiful, strong poems. Prose destroys the world." (

CAConrad's one-man tent show of poetry is not for the faint of heart, the weak of mind, or who fear leaps of imagination. Each of his books is a high-wire act of love and transformation performed without a net -- Jonathan Williams' perceptive axiom reading makes hair grow in your palms and makes you blind seems just as good a review of CAConrad's work as any, and just as pertinent to The Book of Frank, in a new and expanded edition by WAVE Books, to be published next month. Herewith a sample of that rare thing: poetry with this lithe magic waiting to come out.

Frank grew crows for hands

it was a difficult childhood

at dinner during prayer
his crows flapped
excited in the name of the Lord
"FRANK! KEEP STILL!" Mother hollered
"did you wash your crows!?
did you wash your FILTHY STINKING CROWS!?"

when Father died
Frank was found
straddling him
his crows picking the seven
gold fillings


he was exotic company

her mouth
full of mouse

Frank never heard a word
his gaze
steady on the mouse
disappearing to reappear
with every syllable

he prayed
to God she’d
marry him

but late in the night
she touched his hand

Frank recoiled
and realized
it was really
the mouse
in her mouth
he loved


"would you sign
my book Mr. Poe?"
Frank asks the pile of bones
amidst shovels of dirt

"why certainly young
man" answers Frank in a
different voice


"I'm here for the show" the man said
looking under Frank's shirt for the door

"I'm no theater" Frank said

a line formed

must he admit them all?

many had umbrellas

a blind woman
waited with
her dog

"it's gonna be a great show" someone said
"but when's he gonna let us in?"

Frank's tears began to fall

someone ripped his doors open

they filled him for an hour

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You always popping up good stuff I never hear about on that blog of yours, man. Thanks!