dan raphael

Clerodendron and Hydrangea in Winter

If clouds were held up like leaves, then went away,
revealing the multi-curved structure of several growing toward the same light
like tracing our paths through time searching for love or security
so many suns to choose from, breaking off and re-rooting,
where the skin rubbed thin, where the green scent in my mouth each morning
is offensive to those who sleep in filtered air, who brush before tasting..

time-elapse sky, silvered streets we speed to minimize contact
yearning for self-driving cars so we don’t have to see all we go through
until the city is changed and we can work, shop, play and live
in a tight cluster of similarly priced blocks, trees the same age as the buildings

as if i was kidnapped, memory-wiped, and placed in a 12th story condo
knowing only whats in my wallet, what numbers to punch in phone locks and alarms,
paid for hours i cant account for, hours of numeric speed juggling
stripping away decimals and origins

    *     *     *     *

If plants were as important as weather, predicting blossoms and fruits,
promising unseasonal efflorescence just so we tune in:
evergreen skies, hills yellowed by lack of conversation,

as if shakespeare never existed so lovers don’t cross
and heroes remain perfect, unimpassioned.

whenever i hear the dead speak i know what pill to take.

i try to grow what i remember from childhood but that was three planets ago,
the continents joining and re-miosing like unbaking a pie, making my irregular slice
w/ inconsistent toppings, having to read the magazines the carrier delivers,
learning the language cause my new name’s ugandan

    *     *     *     *

Strings from digestive systems,           invasive reeds,
                     hollowed limbs,           cambered skins,
rubbing the seeds til they shine with sweat, squeezing the fruit,
           waiting for the music to ferment

While the Battery-Amped Blues-Woman Keens String Bends & Sorrow
to the 40$ Salmon Eaters a White Jacketed Busman Takes a Smoke & a Sit I Walk Through

                               the sky exerts more pressure when it has less space to fall on,
these teflon buildings impervious when no ones inside but janitorial t-cells
dispersing the days resistance for the sake of food and shelter,
                                                       the sake of shining teeth and mid-thigh skirts,
blind spots around the corners of revolving doors and happy hour,
a neo german northwest pan-asian bistro with so many gaping carafes
a full moon wont sate a single table, thirsty for illumination and jazz
pumping night from sewers as germ-free as dog slobber—linen whiter than innocence,
cotton so complex a hundred spiders drop from exhaustion and jealousy

someone broke into my car and left a better stereo and an eighth of bud,
sequential hazard lights pulling me to safety on various grids—sexual, athletic, financial—
placing beads on the sky to sprout time-transit, memory creation, something thatll explode
next september: the best pizza i’ll never finish, everything melting at different temperatures
defining their own coherence & flow

moons always full somewhere on one of the many concentrics, inside the inside,
like a thick weave engulfing two multi-muscular bodies who cross, fuse & ventilate
as we’re each part of the earths skin, a zit-clogged pore, a hair growing out of,
a flake ready to slide free and begin a new accumulation of experience,
as my memory splits & multiplies, multifaceted encounters,
selectively overlapping like transparencies where the image parts can move for protection
or whim—all shortcuts are possible:

if you & i had met some other time and place there could have been love, laughter, hunger,
something never left or forever regretted, like mistaking the gas pedal for the brake,
tipping a salt shaker whose lids been loosened, a friendship based on butter.
if everyone on the outside is brought in what about the claustrophobics? what if a couple of us
join the walls & frame to breathe expansive, showing dry wall its fuller potential?
if i stop the floor will move me backwards, one channel of sedative politics,
one channel of manic whit, a rainbow of hormonal musics, living life most caffeinated,

i approach with a star flanged chisel, timing trumps the hammer, an elegant thrust in a 3 way
tango of chromatic accordions with random echo pockets, feedback, glissando, portmanteau,
what seems to be a hammock quickly becomes lawn, as the trees open like lilies
with anthers as big as my head, the schools are closed because of the pollen,
traffic snarled, bees dropping ecstatic

i would rearrange the weeks like the weather does—may in early march, halloween in january
i want 12 months of 30 days each and 5 or 6 days that are off the ledger, unofficial:
maybe you’ll sleep through each one or have a room you only use then.
20 hours of 100 minutes, big international sweepstakes to decide the new name
for what minutes are made of, our phones synched so we meet precisely punctual,
as the beats my heart skips are stored for later, inlaying the booted things,
the motorcycle shoulders, the hair providing maximum heat loss.

when i see wild and domestic animals prowling downtown am i hallucinating or imagining,
from the pills ive taken or the four days fast—only special dreamers can sleep by the cell phone spears. we’re better conditioned by moving through thicker air, the complex overtones
recognizing two blocks away as the sidewalk ripples with a misplaced yam
hatching a yellow bird whose migration route is continually up. past the pool hall betting parlor,
the windowless dancers, the glass walled commercial of sinuous corridors with no rooms
or doors, i turn around myself to tighten and thin, i reopen like better homes and panorama,
replacing windows with monitors, replacing electricity with herds of amphetamined rats
trying to slow the earths spin & lengthen our days

In february, dan raphael's first CD, Children of the Blue Supermarket, live performances with saxophonist Rich Halley and drummer Carson Halley, came out. He's still spreading the word on Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems, which contains works from his first 13 collections.
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