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Photo by the poet (illustration by NHM)

Photo by the poet (illustration by NHM)

Written in September of last year during an artist residency in Ucross, Wyoming, Philly’s own CA Conrad has released his new book Translucent Salamander as a free chapbook online. Considered to be Philly’s queerest, most outspoken poet laureate, Conrad’s look at the natural world in this new collection of poetry takes on a mystical tone.

“Each night I sat waiting for the stars,” he says in the book’s introduction. “I noted the first and brightest above distant hills, above branches, and as others twinkled into view I created my own constellations. Eighteen in all, and each constellation demanded a different toll to pay at the start of my note-taking.”

This stargazing would inspire much of the collection. He’s likely to explain more about the process in person this weekend. Conrad’s reading with Ariana Reines at the Penn Book Center on Feb. 2 (2 p.m.).

Here’s one of his newest poems, “head out window on the baptism highway:”

shake tall
buildings
out of my
loving you
down far down
far far down by a
rock at the water
finish cooking soup with
violins everything could use
a melody to set it right
mitigate suffering you
care you
cannot with
success deny
needing violins
okay trombones the
trombones enter the
pasta entering our bodies
the microscope shows
there is song between the grains
the wind the wheat endured is
a taste the animal
carries forward
immersion of
hours through a
loosening bone
we are without the
timing of the beetle
a sound that cannot
get to where we left
our homes in shame

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