dan raphael

Angels in a Mixing Bowl

the throbbing of rain mixed with the house puckering
to hold in what everything outside me wants removed
even if I crumble, de-tendon, lose my way in my own chair

angels the margin of error, 1.6%,
relative angels--not everyone sees her that way--
angels with sharp knives computer skills &/or drinking problems
fingers flying like wings, bright cloth draping musculature,
the way he inhales what he walks through to stoke his radiance,
her hands making everything tastier, so many dimensions in the same room
is how so much space between bodies packed this close together,
like rivers I could swim in ripe with volunteer fish and aqua-peaches
bubbling into the air

knowing they’re out there
dry and at least as warm as me
here in the windward tower, treating letters like staples
shot from my heart through my eyes onto this moments phone pole

fluttering in my throat—wings can be anywhere,
realigning personal gravity, weather patterns,
not a cloud but a congregation, like each goose splitting into 7
we need spherical cameras to read their messages, their chatter
of weather, insects, land formations, what happened there last year

I’m in a cage in this large room aswirl with birds,
birds from myth and alien worlds, extinct birds in new plumages,
birds that writhe, birds that imitate traffic.
I fall through the floor lined with video screens, birds eye views,
I’m hunger and satisfaction, hallucinating clarity.
the winds from inside me, rain from my fingertips
I’m a bird that walks like a man with featherless tendrilled wings

The smell of cigarettes and saddle soap, plastic roses sealed in glass


If all my parts were stretched til flat
like a street turned into a false horizon, stretched without clouds in those huge indoor studios 
we no longer need to have imagination or appetites: 
  i pull out my card, 
     it disappears into your brain
wasn’t listening as those shadows solid as factory smoke 200 years ago 
turning the wooden wheels coated in fresh metal fallen from internal skies 
as no one could drive that fast without huge steam irons cruising the trees 
with eyes so red so cold like evil stars hating every breath we take 
fogging the night windows tween lung castles all perilous and hard to heat

White and elastic. the entire meal served  in stemmed glasses. 
The halls were so much longer from the inside. 
What became of honest walls, tongued to the earth, rain grooved away to lessen the spin 
coz whether im walking toward home or away its slightly uphill, 
ive forgotten how to lean like a skier flying slightly over my job and bank account 
to land on the tallest horse known, a piñata so large no one can stand beneath it, 
theres rumbling in my stomach as if im a roman sewer system, a sonic stutter 
riveting like train tracks blocking my exit, 
                                                                                           what I thought was a ceiling is a very slow sandstorm 
but fortunately my hands were replaced with shovels and duck feet 
im a syncopated spider inhaling social adhesive scrubbed into a perfectly transparent complexion 
when the bones want to put down their load, and let their tendrils sink into a summery river 
warm as blood and soft as midnight when all the clouds are below us 
trying to blend in with the urban clatter and pop  


The middle of the street is higher than door steps, 
4 hours later it wont be any darker—this city will only go so far, wont flinch.
if I try to get out of my car I’ll be stuck between an exit and amperage, 
a sudden bulb sprouting from an arm vein, a pore opening to see who I am 
then saying I cant come in

Walking through a warehouse of clothes on hangers on racks with all that stifling plastic 
suddenly moving like a train accelerating through billboards and abandoned shopping centers
a sea shell just the right size to block my air flow
cousins who cant see me

To pop one cork and internalize another, an open cockpit gliding in a non specific ocean 
feeling I’d never see land once the wind stopped, the stars turned their backs.
 I had to sleep a couple years and when I said “the sun” no one knew which one I meant, 
just a star, just another gravity we can choose to spend with, 
tapping spinal credit,    neural resources,    unceasing fluorescence, 
saying nay again like bells

As the trees inhale the dusk and hold it til dawn behind clouds 
with a yoyo moon walling the gods in a museum of their choosing 
when the frames come first and windows are banished without a ticket 
leaving a corrosive multi-tendrilled debt before the forests of coats and glistening robes 
were dethreaded into sheep,    cotton,    flax,    skins tanned into anonymity 
so I wouldnt cringe with hunger or mistake my sheets for slices of bread
Where would we have been in that now
When what I thought was a closet was a prison for what I couldn’t get my hands on 
before they were mass-produced and anyone could press their face into it, 
write a tongue, lose a finger and a couple hours, wearing a color I hadnt walked in with, 
this pocket’s not mine


A hand pressed on top of my mind,    a hand pressed against my palm, 
a hand larger than my face,     a hand I can sit on for hours, 
hands all over the sky,     highway jammed with hands, 

the refrigerators empty, the stores closed, I went down five flights of stairs 
and was back where I started as if the street had never existed 
as if I’d never been outside but where did the bank get my promises, 

I have extra kneecaps, I have thighs like desert mesas, 
I dont need a country this big to represent me but I need more than one state, 
I need to lap both oceans and have my borders patrolled 


Horse fist        Curtain bob        Lamp rite
Tailored maize        Plasm unaware        Beads of wet
Tourmaline in abundance        Nothing less than 4 stories high
Sits on the banister, balustrade or balcony
A head, a nut, or a plaything
Glove dam        Forest mike        Where im dropping you        Wants the waves
Hale in / hole out     Low and behead        No room for drafting
Every door a step down
Just coz the wires not dancing doesn’t mean you can kiss it
Hollow pint
Peel away the hand and smell the fruit you werent waiting for—I ordered the pasta
To make sure I wasnt disturbed with a wake up call, feet pressed to windows til something opens 
wet and savory
Fellowship with birds and chlorophyll imbedded as day begins near 90 degrees
I turn on the ceiling with my needle eyes stitching neither ornate or functional
Spasm ray
Everyone had sand in their shoe, hair, on facial crevices and shelves
When I’m behind the wheel its always transitional, seldom a surprise
Everyones a twin, at least
By turning into gale force, by getting all the days rain in 5 minutes, 8 pills instead of dinner, 
a diet so hard to open—eat or eaten, sing or played
As the street and sky are elastic I might get caught like the air through oboe reeds, 
collapsing capillaries, my house folded up with me still inside, 
stud heels to crush any smoldering  

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