dan raphael


my inner countours drowning in light
from a new periodic table molecules cant get back to
where hands and feet are barely acquainted, capable only of pointing up or down
yet slinging particulars in a forest train (slam?) of sunbeams
revealed by the finest dust, the most complex dried & flaked,
like a thousand fish in a spoonful

                                                                            going where we can
                                                                      swinging and pointing the much heavier bat
                                    to the horizon of red lips ive tasted the butterfly within,
                                          the silicon hummingbird holding half a library of momentum and biology
                dive til we’re rich w/ whatever the heatflash seals inside
                                                                            the new house on a 10 foot strip
                               helicopters raising questions that may not be ripe for weeks

we’ll never be rich enough, wanton, mobile enough
or is crossing this street my days labor, gathering car parts,
assembling holographically on the worldlet of my multi-jointed carapace
my eyes behind 16 screens im supposed to fold into concentric cubes
as sunrise from a new direction, sun suspended in mercury

the meter is running in each of us, fingering beads to accelerate the horizon wide train
my chest cant open enough to bind or bridle.
doesnt take long for wings to atrophy

i always walk like im playing racquetball, confident i’ll smell the flames before the heat,
more than concrete can bear, steel on a sweaty vacation—
this time metal will grow direct from the ground rooted in every spent battery since world war I,
my hands cant concentrate, cant follow instructions from when I was just a pair of gloves
with a narrow but powerful fragrance causing me to stamp the ground as if hooved,
bringing sparks of complaint from the 100 story condo of my femur—say it with me—
all our lips pressed to the windows and wailing our personal pitch.
i predicted the weeks weather across my ribs and belly, stagnant fronts, hallucinatory isobars

eventually i realized that is a mirror but my face keeps altering,
even in solitary im floating on faces, a jellyfish mattress w/ sheets of fused sand,
losing its spin as the drain collapsing itself frees the oceans to claim the final third,
getting high enough to escape into space and water the moon
so resistant to bathing and personal hygiene it wont even turn around
and taste the galaxies lighters of affirmation, strike and don’t let go
until the gas pressure brings us to our knees, humming with prosperity,
the warm magnet of comfort food, a steaming mass, seldom dark.

waking up isnt the finish line.
cartography is the fastest growing religion, connecting the dots
in the night sky, i never travel without a template,
re-entry is always the most dangerous part, like the first six hours of a fast,
the third night when all dreams are self-digesting,

after years of precise brushing my remaining wisdom tooth became buddha
or an incomplete snowman; a dog turns around with my face on its neck, its ears,
industrial halitosis from all the distilling milling and grilling done inside me,
almost ready to split open and be the mold for a future dilemma:
when the news comes only in our sleep. you must be fully sedated to vote,
able to wake up anywhere in the world and get home on a dead man’s passport

ten thousand silvered wings i could swallow at once and escape to the only home i remember,
one i could have drawn in 3rd grade with trees inside like its always christmas

Everyone in this Movie Gets Paid

in the world so smile and presidency unraveling and following the momentum of my face
as if continents stitched together on the editors screen with each breath jagged seams
to carry to the shore 3 hundred years ago hills moved like pawns
the water redefining its grudges would muscle chest past my lips would convince apparently
as i turn the corner the age i woke up in like a sleeping bag ive never seen before,
straw blanket, dogs who become my shirt and skirt and answer to my name like memory devices,
send their thoughts at frequencies only clothes can hear, warning against washing,
detergents as drugs, scrubbing and altering the weave of succulence,
cameras bursting with memories, digital seeds with the trees already inside them
blood in the earth, babies in the mosquitoes

im awaring like cabbage     like butter pastry the layers like years
rolled so thin then stacked as if we have more than we started with:
a baloon becomes a bird becomes a map we lift the rivers off,
topography springing loose refuses to fold again like this extra rib,
this patch of skin declaring independence.

pour yourself over me, darling, using maps for bedding we discover planets
the doctors cant see inside us, illusory faith in everything that hurts when i smack it,
a thousand fingers to strain the air of its meat memory     of its molecular flames
horizon body rises     thick with heat,     clouds dripping milks momentum
when only the roofs hold fat strained by the grass over every rivulet, buzzing glints
delineating so many possible pollinations, this acre trying to align with one three states away,
white with snow, red river valley, the color of money and chlorophyll,
money basking in its own light as self-radiating plants wouldn’t need a sun or moon
if the moon begins to burn or why is it deep with ash floating through the universe
after forests of planets kept stubbornly growing, death is declared insane
though walls and drugs are its apostles

from the airs all purpose tool belt i only need one, the idea of one,
knowing at the right moment i’ll snap my hand off at the wrist
and lett the stump do what it was designed for, anonymously, without screen rights—
no one can trademark the too sudden and strange to comprehend,
rapid-mind checks all possible correspondences and given no match decides this didn’t happen
or was misperceived, you only thought i was born,
that random heap of charred wood teleported by a technology we’ll never know

red lights blinking, gate arms descending.
im in an unfinished building 14 flights up.
im looking at every inch of dirt on this block between 23rd and 23rd—pucker, rent, anomaly—
if theres no street to cross whats across the street,
despite columbus people still fall over the edge     in their hand-made vessels long-hoarded fuels,
keep putting into a jar but never letting out.

i need so many numbers i grow a bigger hand to write them on,
what kind of pulse could wipe my brain clean, someone says “and CUT”,
lights go out, whether doors open or close, remembering the name of this city before it matters,
leaping the right chunk of pavement so they don’t know im close, spreading like a picnic blanket emblazoned with pastel bulldozers and chainsaws,
i look up into a fish eye of building tops, migrating clouds,
i roll over and fall into standing & dressed, open my windows
and hear wild jazz instead of the freeway
on the goal line     precipice     threshold,     jumping too high onto broken glass
i pull myself up with one hand. i hover in the air for almost a minute.

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. The State I'm in, a collection of newer work, will be out before the year ends.
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