Issue 18: Dan Raphael

The Ice of No Light

in the ice of no light

bright balaclavas on transparent faces

if the eyes aren’t all white

at 17,000 feet above,

17 thousand feet on 85 hundred people

spider legs, crab legs, chair legs

where the legends rise to full height

a few per cent out of focus

some people never all here

theater beaks

birds camouflaged as asphalt

crows afraid of the dark

legs without knees

elbow macaroni,  pads,  joints

the 4 humors, 5 flavors, 6 scents, 7 evangelicals

to keep chewing without getting fat

houses without windows still have holes

to keep light from coming in

without trees, without concrete, without an address

i give you my temperature, my fool’s attention, my heart’s delirium

my isolated eye, insulting the insulation

on the street of ice, the light of warning, the eyeless foot,

an F250 lands gently from above, turns its headlights on

as if it had been in daylight 10 seconds ago, at least 4 times zones

from here, with more wind and collisions

where the only insurance is in your hand

so cold, white, adamantine, what if it doesn’t

listen to me, what if the street of ice is its passion

“All those beauties/ in perfect motion”

                                                                           Talking Heads

Thinking about time on I-5

all us vehicles in motion

the difference of 3 seconds

unexpected benefits

time’s different speeds & densities

crumbling shopping center home to how many

Mt. Rainier floating on the haze

haze penetrating the earth

when what we’ve exhausted has nowhere to go

cleaning out grandma’s or mom’s home

grinding the bones of houses to put more on top

as if uncovered earth is wasted potential/profit

What can be passed down, visions we never could cure before

her body imprinted backwards

anticipating a twin who went elsewhere

finding more things to stop from growing

exercise equipment and pills different sides of the marketing coin

bottled water and oxygen bars

i only eat fermented fruit

A hectare of rain constricted to 4 square blocks

for a couple blinks at rush hour alert drivers saw the sky rip open

to an unexplainable clash disabling thousands of vehicles and people

who remember a 91 minute movie, a yearbook animated by nintendo

How a mask of my face bulges the elevator door

of a hotel in a city I’ve never been

when the watch is in me

from analog to digitall to what

a conspiracy of GPSs

buying directions in the sky

satellites orbiting other satellites

when paper maps are illegal

since everyone’s new here there’s no one to ask for directions

I represent coincidence and immediacy

i am release, recess, the muscle push

.002 seconds before the green light, the starting bomb

like jumping in the air right before impact

though my head’s already against the ceiling:

sometimes earth should get out of the way

someplaces time should shift to another dimension

escaping what we cannot change

when nothing matters every nuance could rule

Cabin Fever

I’m internally displaced

more than my job was sent overseas

no roads or rails cross my border

learning to keep people out,

the random out, still fire comes,

rain’s so undependable

 The timer i hadn’t set buzzes,

my door knocks

the bread wont rise

my windows cant agree if its day or night

i never learned to shout

why is the stairwell glowing

Jump from a

put a gun in my

20 oxys washed down with half a pint of

day after day, minute by minute

avoiding windows

using only stolen phones

You put your right foot in

i’m changing channels though the tv’s off

no matter how quickly i turn around

all the doorways on the inside

plaster sandwich

painting our faces with exterior enamel

my vest of roofing tile explains my anacondic shoulders

Beast Tears

When i’m sneezing out mud & breathing in the resistance of meat

backing over a horizon, mirror & telescope combined—how many concentric hands,

how many ways out, interest paid, commissions waived, demands never met

nor intended as more than navigation, pounds all around to magnify the imagination

& possibilities, make the odds more familiar, curious,

lithe as a dachshund, supple as snow, as honest as a head on collision

In is coming to me, soaking in, turning blood into a medium,

a scent so true no one believes it,  taking me apart at the joists,

amazed we stayed together as the world spun 180 degrees beneath me,

a different 180 within me.

                                                       like our bodies the world is not round, symmetrical

or how we envision it, those moments when more than our usual satellites

get through, a fearful but cleansing symmetry, surfaces too smooth to remember

whats put on them need to be roughed by time, chemistry, usefulness:

didn’t fit like it did in the store;  the factory smell never went away

One with the show,  out the wave,   in the have not,

by narrowing the pipe you increase the pressure:

more than ticking, more than gears, more than a wide variety of inputs,

tentacles from my ventricles, from the vortex my heart appears to contain

as if clouds contain the sky, as if something could dissolve so completely

the water knows nothing about it, involving me to spew from

the earths magnetic poles though i’m so minutely ferrous, more feral,

febrile, easy to effervesce and fabricate whether an audience or not

We don’t notice our constant evolution cause everything is evolving, reacting,

squeezing between two buildings to find a boulevard, jogging across acres of rocks

as eyes and ear-gyros keep the data flow—

                                                                                           how can the wind not follow me,

what windows endow, how stillness broadens the eyes, a wall so thin and stinging

keeping what in, what out, offending how many

                                                                                                   i’m together in this

i’m both sides of my coin unable to make its own change, fluid denomination and value,

this barcode defines me, would allow selling shares and margins i’ve always been outside.

whoever touches my passport smiles and wishes me a great visit, has no idea what i look like,

raw material with wings, i’ll keep eating til i find something that wont let me go anywhere else.

how powerful must vultures be causing others to die to feed themselves

Dan Raphael has been active over two decades in the Pacific Northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. His 19th book, Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, came out in June 2016 from Last Word Press. Current poems appear in Caliban, Across the Margin, Phantom Drift, Otoliths and Unlikely Stories.