dan raphael

The Thing, Not Whats Around It

hum stone bridge release,
every directions up or down,
geese taller than trees, river faster than bicycles.
the moon in so many pieces it could be a city 40 miles away
eating what I’m thinking about.
                                                                 how the bridge reached into my pocket so invisibly,
how a square mouthed ferry coming to get my car and its new friends
five kinds of sea birds on a twisting pier even dogs cant walk
time birds    frigate birds    micro gulls    black footed rumor catchers


the sun changes its broadcast frequency every couple miles
don’t know who has the biggest mouths—chimneys, cedars, squirrels
I have a neighbor I never see at home but often in other cities
owning something from each of the last 100 years
teeth like cathedral doors
aligning the white mountain with the abandoned hospital


driving around the malls perimeter as if it were a global tiara, a multi-screen pastiche
of immature movie sets, defining a culture by its deep fryer, whats put on & in their burgers
with every spoonful of soup is an artifact or opening line I may or may not have lived through
take my hand from my pocket and find an excavation begun:
before the trees grew here, before the stream got so high it couldn’t flow

focus like a rectangle whose corners umbrella with tendrilled ribs
freezing the moment as a perfect black & white print where nothings black or white
ashine with spongy depth, moist resonance, how going in that building I’d be someone else, driving that car, I can tell by my shoes & pant cuffs

inhabiting my friends eyes I see what a different birthplace would have made me


draped in cats, exhaling unpainted timber.
keep laying cards down til a 5th suit, a whole number tween ten and eleven
don’t go up the steps but around them,
all the water slides honoring anatomical features
the white of the tiger, the lenses in the rain
next morning I exit a plane I never got on & follow a decades path
yoyo consciousness, spinning against so much
when just enough stars fell for me to connect the face and the window
like a costume party with 23 people in gray sheets who become stonehenge

Blue Whale Lazarus

as the city convulses like freshly yeasted meth dough
the heat we’ve nursed in some lead lined cavity learned to pee like the sun—
so many explosions needing choreography, seismic webbing—
if we’re out of sequence we wont multiply,
frothing out the bottle ive never stopped shaking

we parry time with bone swords, moon bones hollow and focused in a dance de eclipse
as stars extinguished easy as candles in a church ripped open by a manmade tornado
released from the electromagnetic lamp no gloves are thick enough to wake
without poisoning your perceptions,     your ability to feed yourself—
so few can afford such robotics, such respect,
remote controls that fly when you snap.     so many leashes which is the IV

swollen as a sidewalk giving birth to an open sore,
the sewers that refuse to flow bubble with long chain mantras-spells:
lime fragrance,     barbecue cologne,     popcorn every time I flush.
we add new wall paper every year and the walls get no thicker,
the rooms tessellate with niches and null points, places of so many signals
you don’t need a phone, 10,000 numbers woven into a yarmulke dish
exposing my memories to subscribers & search engines,
flipping over my internal dumpsters so wide we cant swim across
                               the counter flows of evaporation and marriage,

tuesdays are love days, wednesdays are denim,
thursdays could be any igneous rock just small enough to hurt

seeing how much can I shed, how long can I keep these unnatural angles of invisibility,
                                                                                           the posture that says im no threat and taste awful,
my wallet so full of coupons I need bigger pants, barcodes cascading from spotlights
                like bait for mosquitoes,     bats,     carnivorous fruit,     the photophobic,
                     those with not enough tarring black beneath their skin,
                           those whose bright blue minds,     whose pie deep minds.
when the pan doesn’t fit the oven religiously schizoid and having so much sex with the freezer
we’re an ice age wrapped in global warming exhaling vaporized fords and boeings,
the earth body rejecting transplant technology—my feet never needed tires before,
petrochemicals instead of a parka, 3D goggles instead of a house

after I conquer ten planets of gravity I rise like a blue whale lazarus
trailing enough lilluputian threads to network islamabad
waking up with less than bones, rising into feet     into socks     into stirrups
each of the 50 states made into an equal sized square and lain in no order:
every movement is crossing borders
every movement is places that havent touched for epochs
in the geologic shuffle of paper,     sugar,     salt cod,     slaves

air thickening as it reverses into a blanket disrupting traffic
renting out heart space, leasing cardboard that smells like tomorrow
as all our gloves and hats unravel into noxious liquids & blood squoze from pasture
a hybrid lunch
                               rivers where every molecule is moving swimming intra-stream,
                                                             molting outside the oceans of consistency,
                oceans inside transgalactic washing machines.
                               the galaxy of colors forging new elements in the solar spin dry.
two stars at the corners of my forehead like nascent antlers,
your smiles constantly shifting 4 dimensional connect-the-dots without numbers,
lines stretching away to knit, pearl and compromise
the story arcs of one day in anytown USA
our local high schools now a discharge of pus
with so many more houses, with fewer alleys & easements
I walked down the hill,     jumped on the train,     effloresced my parachute
                                                                                & slept from it two days

Current poems by dan raphael appear in Caliban, Mad Hatters, Tower, Unlikely Stories and Big Bridge.
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