Poems by Dan Raphael 



increment weather


the light changes so gradually the clock only needs 3 or 4 numbers—

increment weather—mist,    drizzle,    showers,    rain

no matter how thin, how quick, how protected by internal heat

you get the rains message, a spamming no firewall or anti-virus can stop,

no silver bullet can protect your thirst, maintain the crispness of starch or pastry


count the number of drops hitting your head in 60 seconds

and divide by the prisms swimming in your eyes

speed doesnt affect saturation; waterproof only means the rain will come from in you

everyone votes,    everyone drinks,    everyone feels what could be tears    drool

     leakage that has no name but you still feel responsible for.

we’re born wet & die wet, releasing what we’ve hoarded


if we could see the stars they’d be milky smears on the inside of our galactic umbrella

as 25 years of occupation gives this house its own storm front, high pressure zones

as if an arbitrary calendar ensures predictability

we trust the time keeper, the way a cesium atom continues sending scouts to find rain

how a bowl in the middle of nowhere can create an urban culture

why have a roof?    why taunt thirst with windows?

is plumbing a false god?     do toilets mean we’re ashamed of our inefficiency?

to pay for water means you’re not free, to drink imported water from a plastic bottle

means youre no longer completely human, compromised by living so long

with so many thirsty strangers



we go up


inside the chromeless van is a tribe with three fires

the river arcs over us like a freeway ramp

i have no motor to take me away

unable to keep my colors within the surveyors lines 

as the land disassociates so does distance,

like when my arms stretch opposite and each hand wants to tell the other

everything it sees the palms get so excited rain is likely


i learned how to turn a puddles skin into a mirror

since i wont remember how i looked i stop changing

a tree knocks on the door as i notice a mushroom at my feet

the two birds that were my neck fly away, growing into walls

i can only see through at night when the storms of combustion

make my body as splintered as the floor--

everything that grows here makes a different note


when the first rain falls i run out to connect the propagandic dots

i spit   pee   and cry as streaks of color make me hungry

no faucets--just face up and open my mouth

may be cold,    may be salty,    may leave messages on my teeth





someone was afraid they’d forget

someone thought a debt might not be honored

you cant trust memory

i don’t want anyone thinking i made this all up

i want everyone to know i made this all up

stacks of blank paper mesmerized me—

couldn’t eat it,    couldn’t sleep in it,    couldn’t wear it for long

burns too fast

blood is limited

stain is forever—oak stain, swamp stain, walked on by cows stain

if everyone ive told about this dies or moves away

i tell the goddess and maybe she’ll put it in my grandchildrens dreams

i show the earth my foot,    i show the sun the terrain of my skull

i fold the paper so small it goes through my hand, appears behind my ear

my spine is a tree seeking to burst my inner sky

my stomach is green,    my shit is dark as night,    eyes as empty as the sky

remember how i phrased this

remember the word i created to describe what we’ve all seen

the one thing only paper can do

pressed against the window til the glass is permanently crazed

its always winter in the papers core

since summer always comes back

if i don’t sleep does the day change

if the calendar never moves    if the calendar splits out of focus

youd need a city of  clay to transcribe the bible

when i see a single letter on a sheet of paper I don’t know

whether to take revenge or fill it




Questions, rumors and speculation


can I take my rosary on the plane?

could buddha absorb all the water in this swimming pool, even if it wasn’t chlorinated?

how many balls could abe lincoln keep in the air at the same time?


mohammed spent almost three years without touching ground, most of that on horseback.

william shakespeare was identical twins

arundhati roy has the energy of an average star


if jesus wasn’t killed he’d run for president, but would only be a spoiler.

some lao tzu’s live in shacks miles from any village or town, some are high school janitors,

some are on skidrows, absorbing the wine from empty bottles.

william blake walks into a bar; everyone feels like theyre on acid.

six months after ken lay arrived on his private island a local coalition had him under control, transferred all his money to them, and lives alone & boatless on an uncharted atoll


betsy ross figured out the pattern of map folding that’s still used today.


the first alien who gets past the military will want to talk to dan raphael.



Copyright © Dan Raphael




While waiting for the new year, Dan Raphael is still doing readings featuring the new book, Breath Test. new poems appear in Otoliths, Skidrow Penthouse, Knock Journal and Arabesques.

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