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  • Dan Raphael

Getting in tune

Dan Raphael

going to the station--be it police, radio or transit,

between situations, illegible contexts, my waving hand

brushed something other than air, i feel the pollen

before i answer by sneezing, thirsty globules,

goblets too heavy to lift and leaking

what would you do--a doorway no higher than shoulders and no joints to bend

would be an arrow, a trackless trolley, wheels instead of hands to ride cables

or feetside up among furrows and the last evidence of three buildings ago

so few empty lots, kept fallow by competition

suddenly there’s one less or one more, a mirrored pair, a trio in two bodies

a house that looks like a train, a train that looks like a drive-through,

one-way carwash of hungry scrubbers, soap with ulterior motives,

a clean few would agree on, some might call censorship, edited for our safety

a piece of the sky is missing, black lightning streaks on pale blue air,

hungry desiccant thunder from beneath the urban horizon

some of the river would like to decohere and rain up,

not enough fish for a quorum, the earthworms too deep

to sense what’s at their door, an urge to trade, to get inside

by being eaten and scatter into a micro-army of chemicals

meant for other times and species

whether visual or audio recordings, words whose referents

left the planet sideways centuries ago, as if one more tomorrow

will keep its promise with the radio alarm indecisive as a slot machine

i don’t want to receive the rewards of craftily recombining like haggis

in a genetically modified stomach, digestion in another direction

not needing a reinfusion of bioflora for another 100 meals

where the flesh of my world is tattooed by all manner of lights—

incomplete, overfull, premature, unshielded, trans-spectral,

bones ready to unscroll, calcium dreaming of underwater,

seas before there was rain, thirst before throats

where did the vacuum at my center find so much to erupt with,

as nature abhors introduced contexts/constructs, an intention deficit,

extension surplus, so many more ephemeral notes than voices

but if the symphony is in tatters, if the puzzle

doesn’t have enough spaces for the answers

a tunnel where the heart should be, lungs in the sky instead of clouds,

drops of distilled information falling from skyborn interstices

absorbed by buildings and machines while bouncing off soil and skin


dan raphael's poetry collection In the Wordshed was published by Last Word Press in 12/22, More recent work appears in Egophobia, e-ratio, Fresh Words, A Too Powerful Word and Otoliths. Most Wednesdays dan writes and records a current events poem for The KBOO Evening News.

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