dan raphael

The Ocean Makes its Move

as the ocean so
many uncanny forces
the cormorants in the turbulent waves move only vertically
froth for whose effect
air caught between wave and cliff explodes

to follow the waters many paths, a unified chaos,
as the water momentarily thin enough to hint its true color
not thin enough to see its name
on the wheel of depth and saturation

the wings of shadow, hunger, invisible exhaust
flying among, landing between
to slide or hover in, one wing tagging the surface
nothing upside down except the sky
when we cant keep up with the sun
& cant sleep in the light, cant hunt in the heat

foreign grass stabilizing dunes prevents nesting:
the birds cant mow fast enough, cant offer the wind enough feathers
to land like a plow every vector of impact & reflection
represented by a gnat bringing 1 hundredth of a swallow
threading its linear ocean of impact and reflection,
folding and leaning to fall and rise

as the sun keeps its post atomic plasma weave, its chasing something
transit through stationless space, riding the rail woven from star pulls,
intake & output vents wide as from here to pluto, wherever it is today,
something coming so fast you know its already been

Myth Cell

Joni Mitchell throws a frisbee into space from the cliff of her wilderness
amoebas of rainbow plastic, blocked sleeve horizon:
fibers pour out of her skin like mushrooms after a storm,
fibers neither organic or man-muddled, more message
than substance, response to a future unfolding

the body finds a new table of elements/ nutrition/ odds,
practicing furniture yoga, asana of jungle and swamp
as if any difference tween a lung & a shower curtain
but whose muscle, short twitch or long distance,

wind not one hand pushing but a cable of thousand thousands,
some see through, some thick with heat, some cobbled & dust-choked
for centuries, this phone booth full of a lifetime of rain,
how their hats have changed but not their utilitarian skin,
sniff before tasting, a clear bowl of aged ocean to plunge my whole head into

i run til something catches up to me, diaphragm signals time out
my shadow spreading its feathers to cool more quickly
antenna spine, more cloud in my brain then ever, more planetarium than map
the arc of my elongating arm a boomerang scythe, a diversion
so the scene change seems instant, as if for the first time you see how i bend
yo not scrape against the sky full of music, visions and inspiration;
like pollen that causes most to sneeze,to close whatevers still open,
while a few of us are revved by it, like saxophone caffeine,
an unease more exciting than paranoid, that shadow portal around the corner of my eye

only close up can i tell the crow is a drone shitting semi-digested data,
trance missions, random autonomous alphabets my watch doodles into tapestry,
llumination without light or flame, a voice of many times and places,
story that keeps changing clothes: woke up, it was a chiseled morning,
sky corseted in straight lines, the twin dunes at the bottom of my rib cage,
fine wine and marinated lamb at adams rib café, shimmering curtain
of surplus guitar strings yearning for more than come and go

“never do anything unless you’re lost or on fire”
                                                                            M John Harrison

Lost in fire
Don’t fire til you see
Taking years to herd the muscles and give them posture
Lost the last list
Alphabetized as if in Chinese
I was fired without notice
You lost me
2 weeks in a kiln stoked by a single butane lighter
Fusing sulfur genes with pine so the tree can light itself
Moving 5 times you lose as much as if your house had burned

In storms you either huddle or speed
Going through so much water in so little time
Takes patient forge and fire to get the right tone
Low planes can hear it, helicopter instruments momentarily blur
A planned surprise, a choreographed impulse
I pass, i fold, i’m broke
Just when everything seems totally alien
Is that snow or evolving ash
The eye of the flame—safe, tiny, inconstant
“I didn’t even know what city i was in”

No Matter Which Way You

I live to look at the lake
want to wend with the wind
I’ve come to calm the climate

win or whine when wanting
lose and laze, lustless
employ play as planned plunder

I’m sick of slick silk
stale stylish stools
brothers breathing butter

alternative nature of knotted nuts
the rules of rolling reality
cats cant contain catastrophe

a destiny of dysentery and dust
fates futile freight frightens me
to die delightfully
engage eagles, honk at hawks
chasing cheese with chisels

fish focused on the floor
outside oxygen ossifies
interior antlers attune
our hour of error and ire

rein in rains ruinous rule
feel flies falling from flight
humidity humbling harmony
when weapons weep & whips whisper
limber lambs lament

insane suns singe the sensible
rivers never reverse
the tides to do list
moons mean manifestation

i dance in dense dunes
celebrating elaborate deliberation
free fire from fury
let light linger

Not water

it was the hottest time, it was the coldest,
when we’re going where we’ve been
that weaving, not leaving, arrival, survival
like the cities we’ll build inside asteroids but inside my hand,
from a leg bone to a mile long cylinder travelling through a universe
where the skin is so far away we call it dark matter

the structures i destroy with each inhale and ex-, his & hur ricanes,
eyes stay calm but never still, as everything a tornado swallows
becomes the bones of new tornados, becomes hard rain.
gravitys asbestos blanket of a days full sun packed into a studio—
one ledge is all stars, one window thousands of pages
marinated in a february of rain
                                                             as moss becomes mineral,
as every paved road is thousands of stinging vertebrae,
asymmetrical houses scrunched together by the suction of need—
roof, heat, a floor that wont move, places for food to enter and exit,
ventilation so our dreams dont en-gel

flavor is color, aroma is instructions in an alphabet we’ve never met
i get the floor so clean books want to sleep there
some things you can only preserve by letting them dissolve in you
winter in a juice glass, summer by the quart
without windows we’d learn other ways to know what’s coming

nothing that travels millions of miles can be as simple as light,
as mouths are attracted to heat, as a river is mostly muscles and history,
the futures always up, flooded forests in an overcast month,
squirrels not caring whose maps they unearth, oaks make acorns bitter
in hope we’ll migrate to evergreen sweetness—
                                                                                           by the time i have a needle
in every pore its time to start over, replacing the absorbed, the swollen
with accidental blood, chlorophyll compressing to emerald tears
shattering like pollen-glass into new constellations aswirl in interstellar allergies
we rake and roll the rain til it chooses where to flow.

open your eyes but make your skin stop receiving, all your eyes—
uncorrected, untempered, waiting til the colors share their names and druthers.
whenever i’m next to yellow i cant help leaking, for example.

“i must invent my own system or be enslaved by other men,” Blake said
lest my structure fold into itself like subatomic origami,
unpacking what i just unpacked, as seeds unpack to trees,
as sperm & egg fruit a sprawling city where a river used to flood,
where volcanoes finally lose patience and manners, the air becoming rain
but not water

Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, dan raphael’s 19th book, came out in June from Last Word Press. He also has poems appearing in Caliban, Phantom Drift, Oddball, Rasputin and Spiral Orb
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