Dan Raphael



if the floured table is sky, dawn is a chicken,
dreams create a protein debt, thirsty sheets wrinkling seldom exposed skin.
the will is yeast, coincidence is yeast, yeast knocking at your door, cat licking yeast
from its night self while the dog thinks the oven door is a gateway to freedom—

whatever restrains me i can gnaw through, scrunching my lips like a squirrel,
winding my invisible tail for extra power. what i buried last year
in the confines of computer memory cannot sprout without me,
crows of obligation, tree roots vs. driveway, using mazola instead of 40 weight,
cloud jails built from rice

if we never slept we’d be so fat and forgetful
i put a raised bed where i useta flop
take the house off the basement and learn to feed yourself,
old pipes repurposed to drip irrigation, water heater halved to imprison bamboo,
i only shower when it rains. finding the proper ratio of windmills to birds,
believing in worms too deep to ever encounter

Citys gray exhalation like a robe with nothing beneath

who in this line is still in bed, a dream of commuting
where all the drivers are cats or dogs, rarely taller than the seat back
as sleeping is my job i’ve been getting steady overtime, 6 day work weeks
you need a good excuse to get up early, to furrow the field
and salt the cows, my cell phones a stick of butter
streaming erotic sculptures morph into cityscapes,
tall buildings with to-do lists running down their sides,
taxis graffitied with recipes, busses like warehouse stores
where i always buy more than i can carry

no place to climb—i can only fall from my own height
the street is a treadmill bringing me todays first decision—
do i tan on a griddle or massage in yogurt and grain
my hair is coffee, no eggs til Tuesday,
the street stares through my window, impatient for my return

can the cop tell how the sunshine i’ve absorbed effects my driving,
i want that extra energy the sun block suppresses, i want the wind
to go through every floor of my body, not just the vents of my eyes & ears
some people never open the windows below their neck, worry that the sun
will fade their ankles and feet. I think rain’s a conspiracy to keep people at home,
working without direct customer contact, products delivered seldom fit
but always legal

as if the rain a curtain outside of which continual sunshine,
a wide river of usual business, how a rain forest becomes neither,
how these foot hills are like the kiddy rides, barely enough altitude or momentum
to excite even the youngest rain, gravitys leash shorter than a yoyo string.

As if I’m a Cow on the Beach

the privilege of ocean, going to
cows at the ocean swatting fly-sized gulls with kelp-long tails
          salty marine dairy air shimmies of tidal release
commuting like milk from tank to carton and back again
hands with tubes instead of bones, white as salt, butter whipped tween wind & rocks

when youre done shaking the canister put a giant thumb on each lung and press firmly
so your print is recognized, so your iris blossoms in reverse
long strap-like lashes, green as that first april day when all the snow melts at once
and we don’t see the sun til noon as it removes its hibernating coat inside a bear
realizing the digestive plug holding enough milk to drown an over-focused cub,
a cub who doesn’t peel away its dead derf coat and spread its inner, northern chocolate:
our only native sugar comes from hemophiliac trees who think winters coming
cause of the ice cream blossoming around their roots, mistranslating mycorrhizal recipes
so a cup is a pound and salt is any white rock left in isolation until it crumbles
like a violin string wondering whose whisker it had been

when cows & rabbits cross breed, carrots grass & bread waiting for sandwiches
to reverse cocoon, a butterfly becomes a cigar unzipping from a long tent
you go in exhaling the thinnest walls that tug like gravity
or something each of us desires unconsciously at the center of intention
our smoke rising torsos emitting reverse spotlights & tremors in many shoes
open like hinged desserts, like a lawn swinging open to reveal a garage pointing down,
cars like gloved fingers or a tampon bandoleer modelled for parking lots
for the cicadas of personal record keeping

any acreage that was never underwater is a transplant, invasion or movie set
any wind that was never in rains pocket, elemental dog squadrons
like freckles to a satellite in orbit but out of touch, whiskering wind
a house without glass but many portals open by dissolving in the shadows
around a prairies shimmering corners, a flat field no one can walk through straight
tunnel keeper willow reopens teaching water to be anti-social,
to question is right to proceed—evaporation without representation is hysteria—
down to the roots of the tone, the infrastructure follicles
the native brains escaping to river and bog

Issue 1.5 Table of Contents