dan raphael


wings pulsing out of the sides of my forehead
like mercury retrograde, like a white goose where my head was
i cant rise coz i dont fall
the center of the universe pulls me as strongly as the center of the earth
centrifugal spine spin
                                              where else would all the beings inside me huddle together
knowing some of us are illusions, some aren’t what they appear to be,
a couple have no idea what I’m saying,
                                                             what appear to be eyes are backsides of maps,
frequency maps, accumulations of billions of dice rolls, gene splits,
the difference between crossing the border and going beyond the margin of error—

once you start sliding you see more doors, can read the large print on the streams bottom
blurbling by knowing i’ll never be on this ride again,
missing so much by thinking what’s next—
when you can’t go back where do you go, specifically
the one way street keeps branching with eventual cul de sacs

i think i went somewhere coz theres dirt on my pants
regularly alternating how i resist the planet trying to push me aside
i’m rooted like a tree but not wired to talk with them
no matter how i run in place, how much it rains,
i never know more about where, when, on what frequencies transmitted
the array of outward neutrinos leaving an aura of exhaust,
                                                             a micron of food for every exposed pore

in the cold wind of whats usually 2 months earlier
not a day to be half-naked & sweat drenched on an urban hilltop
unsure how i got here, hoping i didnt lose more than money,
realizing I’m not in my town,
                                                             no cars or birds moving,
the only sounds construction equipment, then a tree crashing to the ground, a chainsaw duet.

getting out of the puzzle when so many of the pieces are faded and similar,
so many the same shape, like coins whose values show only after pressured in my fist--
spend it while its hot, spontaneity is quicker than most defenses,
be ready when the server gets here coz you many not see her again,
so many people with phone numbers tattooed in visible places,

can a call give your phone a virus, if i’m not talking or texting for hours a day
am i still fully here, partly transparent from not generating enough information,
opening the domes of our skulls to the radiance of instant availability—
                                                                                           never lost      never silent      hallelujah.

If Not

if you don’t start you cant quit
if you don’t leave where are you
I don’t breathe in but so much comes out
the sun neither rises or sets
the hand can engulf the eye, redirect or turn off
the switch never stops flipping

after the dog caught its tail it grew a new one, boomerang-shaped & detachable
if you don’t drink how will you learn to drive
like golf played with clubs but no balls, golf in a huge blank warehouse
with the far side vague as mist, as if a stream flows through, frogless
if you don’t mate you keep playing

without walls you are windowless
without tomorrow all the lights are green

The Adjacent Possible

wall shimmers like translucent drapery, spins like a haunted mansion fireplace
but the other side is so adjacent we dont know its there.
if i could see the sky something might point me.
inside an abandoned arena where the courts floor is two inches thick with running water,
thin seats not touching each other folding like thick dough
pouring onto yeast about to wake up with more hunger than mouths.

wall spins back to a blanket heavy with unable to,
why i have to cross downtown to get from one terminal to another,
where a sky scraper lifts off and unfurls windowed wings.
we’ll fly you over for free to participate in and monitor experiments—
you’re part of the mirrored number hearing a pulse that could be anyones
as one face is lifted from another until no human aspect,
no bone geometry possible at this velocity and blow-back.

we’re crowded together to stay in crowds, working massively, eating manufactured,
experiencing the well produced and oft-repeated:
every generation has its father knows bests, its growing pains, its book ’em Danno.
as if at my trial perry mason isnt working for the corporation,
robin hood became a celebrity and got a medal from the king.

if my ears were wings i still couldn’t fly but i’d hear more range and texture, speak a passable wind. slowly the neuro-plasticity for new languages but how fast can the mouth re-structure,
adding an arch and cupola, removing a wall and a door. a language where the story changes
in the next room, and when will my eyes ever adapt to a new visual alphabet,
my reflection translated by red shift and quantum perturbations.
if i could let go of the illusion of solidity somwhere my inner network
wouldn’t be tidal waved or cookied, quickly weaving neuro walls,
shimmering and rotating like pole dancers directing traffic,

i think the rooms are growing new doors cause everyday more people come in,
opening the fridge, looking behind the bookshelves.
i went to sleep on the first floor but almost walked off a 12th story balcony,
always suurendering more than i know—,
3 credit cards with someone elses name and my picture,
here the cars have no steering wheels, every street has several questions,
the busy weekends activities all show up at once, but this time theres enough mes to go around—
spying on a loved one, fondling produce,
re-filling glasses by sending them back in time

On the Rise

like mozart on chinese guitars, what jazz is to stradivarius,
always someone toiling,     bent over,     hands out of control,
the government says our clocks are wrong so change them

sounds like wind but it’s the tiniest switches in our deepest molecules,
a self-aware gene wondering how to escape this overcrowded, inflexible world
liquid mobile caress, holding my breath     my water     my horses
wild in the badlands of unreachable gullies
where the shower seldom washes—
                                                                            how can i trust water
coming from so far away, through so many hands and dumping grounds
not the introspective warmth characteristic of this season,
a store everyone visits this time of life
rain on the windows but not the sidewalk
the moon as taciturn as ever but no longer alone

what im holding in, squeezing the last flavor from,
holding up to the mirror to see the glass bubble and zizz,
like trying to open a rubber wall where no door is, trying to get out of my ribless chest
when sun is sauce, sauce a warn soft carpet able to touch 200% of me,
cleaning both sides of a window at once in two different environments,
standing in a jungle and looking out to dry frosted mountains

in a world with so few sizes to choose from we’re shaped by our clothes,
exercising so our clothes will be proud of us
transforming the space around me in an impossible way may be the only travel i can afford
learning to step out the door when i don’t know wheres on the other side
as this planets an inefficient spaceship, stuck in orbit, sun dependent
the vacuum of space wont pull me apart but free me into thousands of worlds & lives

i’m not going out that door
as walking where the kitchen was is spring, dreamy,
holding the hand of someone youll later have sex with—
i was just here; if i walk backwards the walls will stretch to avoid me,
falling through abundance, sometimes going five directions at once:

the body’s an abandoned amusement park, a fraction of a subdivision,
sketches on a napkin with excited gestures and four eyes clicking like lighters
with the fuel building for later where the luminous leakage in the sponge dark room
of mass produced walls, blank sheets kept that way, carpet too slow to react,
to itch from what accumulates:     ground water     ground beef     ground control
                                                                            into a pulp,     a paste spread in a thin even layer—
whose name to write with the finger afterward glowing like a fruit thatll ripen next month,
opening to release a shimmering behind me, a cold breath above my belt,
the heat of two bodies sliding together like the fastest geology
protected from the universes colds,     tomorrows cold,     empty apartment cold,
gotta run to the power company before everything is dark and stops moving,
no free heat, nowhere i can walk without being asked for change, for directions,
for who do i think i am, pushed against the glass with my face behind them,
                                              the pushing hands, the velcro windows,
anything this thin is always hungry, water can only explode here,
friction makes language,     scar poems,
                               a headline from banging the meditation table,
sitting on too thin and hard, opening to learn, identifying before they escape
imbued ambushed amused

                                                             i’m looking for whatll look back,
theres no shape a face can’t be,     a feng shui face with windows through it,
frenzied in the urban mass unable to find unobstructed sky,
                to discern between stars and tiny holes with universes behind them
how to roll over in bed and trust the hallucination next to you—
mirror fibers, used guitar strings hungry for touch, for chasms to stretch across,
plucking bridges, flossing with transatlantic cable, trying to bring down satellites
with a long enough whip, gravity with cleavage and thigh high slits
melting granite into the egg/sperm/egg,
                                                                                           we’re not built like tooth paste tubes,
we’re cages without roofs and floors, towers of straw crowned with would-be worlds
leaking magnetic water and a thousand skins pressed into a wafer
where wind changes color, how clouds add weight in the smallest places,
as a second moon, on the other side of night, letting the earth spin beneath me,
i’m the opening a vibrating string makes, a hummingbird folded into its beak
opens as a sphere of umbrella flowers rippling with change
like where a nerve junction opens another conduit of light
ready to go anything, to be the undefined about to happen

dan raphael's new book, The State I'm In, came out 2/29 from Nine Muses Books.

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