Dan Raphael

Dan Raphael’s poetry collection Maps   Menus   Emanations will come out this June from Cyberwit.  Last year saw the publication of Moving with Every, from Flowstonre Press, and Starting Small, from Alien Buddha Press. Some more recent poems appear in Pangolin, Danse Macabre, Former People, Synchronized Chaos and Ginosko. Most Wednesdays Dan writes and records a current events poem for The KBOO
Evening News.

Unidentified Satellite

Mixing across geography
invisible from above
what could get through
as villages were tight internal communities
across dozens of generations
always some blood coming in, going out
spilled seed, windblown or planted

When the odds weren’t right
isolation leading to different molecular bonds
socio-molecules or abandon ship 
how a planet might give birth
as much empty space in me as the universe
dense at the curb, fleet as the street

As we spend more generations naked
we evolve pockets in our skin
inset rings in our shoulders to clip cargo to
carrying an flute down my spine
the way a ronin would carry a sword

Let sleeping dogs dream
next time i’m the dog
the dog’s behind the wheel
skin on the drum of a life
living in a roofless cylindrical house
the rain’s hands of all sizes, rainbow storm
marching through the cityscapes, the tree-less future

As if the clouds are a series of models
filling the horizon’s runway to show
what will be wearing us down next season
why i’m charged every time i look up

Working Things Out

The tendrils of time each person is, space-time puckers
mathematical birth canals, eye socket without eye like a cave
what comes out of it—cool flames or just the slightest perturbation, 
the aura of light rimming a closed door, the older the house 
the more can’t be contained

Thinking about people i see in stores, bars, on the street
about people from my past, from pitttsburgh or college
i get jangly with partial information, too many open circuits, 
hints of flavors. when it’s all in my head it’s not of this world 
which is an average of perceptions, an average of facts
with plenty bandwidth for memory, for speculation, ring tones
 with no phones near, is that a text scrolling across the red light, 
do i need to yield to virtual pedestrians

The gym today was rusty, the water fountains spewing muscle milk
individual studios where you could adjust the gravity—
pump moon iron or strain over a dime from Jupiter
fortunately the ceilings don’t retract, the mirrors smell 
like video screens, tattoos that look like road maps 
like album covers, most folks are silent few of the talking 
are speaking english.  
this isn’t the place to start a fight
gym culture, work out culture, why do some guys 
shave here,  rituals and methodology, mythology, 
habit & circumstance, i do tai chi in a racket ball court. 
i’m one of the few without ear buds, one of 2 or 3 reading 
an analog book: out the door, into a car, dissolve

Sweep Hand

No edge too thin to not peel, delaminate, light at the end 
of the layers, a fanning out, the ridges separate, edges of edges, 
not as ornate as mandelbrot, more like the badlands or moab 
from the air, mazes of erosion, all the water my hand can hold
if i can get to the first flame before it grows, if the edge holds me

Capillaries spreading from my pulse point, pulling heat from me 
and bringing back noise too subtle for my house to hear, 
foundations deciding to crumble instead of explore 
the city beneath me, ten thousand rocks from a mythical flood, 
from a rain that forced the sun to take a week off, the wind 
was offered all it could drink, the river becomes the ocean
never stopping its search for an edge to rise from

Is time paint or the opposite, focus or distraction, 
numbers with lives of their own beneath their uniforms 

Noon with all the lights on, midnight when it doesn’t matter
if my eyes are open or not, a dream of swimming naked 
and i can’t feel the water though i’m swallowing it like 
all I could ever need, a flash-flood of time, dust drinking sound, 
not so much pouring between my fingers but prying them loose, 
relentless gravity, rain’s wavering grooves on caked windows

I drank my whole week in one night, spoons everywhere i look
or sit, is this salt or sugar, start with dessert and work backwards
the best appetizers aren’t food, my stomach has so much more 
to talk about then meals, no movement without hunger
no wall without a door, no frame without potential

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