"Go on Green," "Standing Water," and "Alleluia"

Go on Green

In full spectrum light im colorless & irksome
like the heat shimmer from asphalt but in winter
barely coherent tendrils climbing the rain,
greening on both sides of the skin, which doesnt take sides,
moebiusly, all for one, on the other side of the other side,
self-catapulting, navigating like a bird from saturn

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What if streets were still solid but rain came up through them
grass squirting back, clouds not sure whats being offered
as those black flecks on the lake arent coal but crows
as the cloud that seemed out of focus separates into a couple
thousand  gulls hiding their yellow beaks under a wing,
constantly spiraling without a visual center,
knowing waters not  a mirror

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Traffic jams are clouds we didnt agree to be part of
through these tall rain streets, people sleeping where the rain cant
my car may be out of my control but nowhere else will let me in.
city swaddled in the map of itself, the origamic flexibility
to be anything, from frog to cup to bicycle, unspoken wheels
from axles to axes, what comes after z—potential puckers,
seams, shortcuts, two ways to go at once hence bilateral
like living near a freeway where the exit used to be

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Keep the light low, the eaves sharp,
the windows unsure of their covering
whos the heat this week, whos checking
the buried  wires for cystals or fungus,
smells that can go so many ways,
so many languages, passwords 

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Am i grower, growth or medium
driver, mechanic or ore
if i could vote, if i could have any chair
at the table of elements—
which one is green, which one is oboe,
whats acceleration got to do with it
orbit,   exit,   or multiply

 


 

Standing Water

Standing water, kneeling hills
foot loose sky, limping river
alley learning to crawl, pirouetting
wind, clouds refusing to move

 

The hills are alive with subdivisions
many rivers no longer trust gravity or
what the fish tell them. are the birds
migrating or trying to escape

 

When someone abandons a high-mileage cloud
in front of my house. when the leafless trees
are tipped with moving black blossoms.
rain calmed the wind, then moved in with it

 


 

Alleluia

A word for snow on a planet without water
molten gases, frozen gases
we’re spinning into new states of matter, dont matter
mouths merging like a river coming through both sides of our heads
not waterfalls but water rises
not like geysers, not a temperature you could take

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Fly a mile with my wings, steal my car & dont put gas in it
the new species of my feet slowly coming into focus:
i’m not a mummy but a man wrapped in tissue paper
will the wind or rain naked me first
light going through me with only minor abrasions
almost cursive, indicative, a hand spread wide
and parallel to the earth but not the sky
as i study the clouds topography, look for the clearest path:
with skin this porous who needs a mouth or an orchestra

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The windows dont shatter but sigh, i dont open the door
but peel it in slow strips, like a chanterelle
you cant make one just let it grow where death or fire—
no growth without shedding, conifers dropping seeds and recipes
disguised as calendars rolled into prayer beads—which one will open,
which one will say om or amen as this orange bright as the sun
falls into my hand without burning,

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I have enough electricity in me to run several lights & a television
i have to show ID to cross the street,
convince the cook that breads not impossible without grain, fluid
or a room too hot to walk through, where the earths love leaks,
where the choirs of evaporation can hold their notes for hours
so much harmony no one can hear more than a fraction
and still we’re overwhelmed, almost bowing

 

 

dan raphael

For over three decades, dan raphael’s been active in the Northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, his 19th book, came out in June of 2016.  Current poems appear in Across the Margin, Caliban, In Between Hangovers, Phantom Drift and Great Weather for Media. As well as being the Prose Editor for Unlikely Stories, he hosts the monthly Fo Po Poetry series in Portland, and once a week writes news stories and writes and records a news poem for KBOO community radio.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 2, 2018 - 11:39