"Not Usually," "Before the Signs," and "These Increasing Spirals"

Not Usually

Rooms untouched for months
batteries with nowhere to flow
 
When a cup of water on the same flame
takes twice as long to boil
when an unopened is a couple scoops gone
the blueberries ripened before the rasps
 
The bedroom smells like sleep
the living room like passing through,
 
By not going to the gym i lose weight
more quickly; the more i sit, the taller i stand
 
When the news becomes something you have to opt out of
as if the problems always with me would take some time off
 
As if by going deeper into myself, i would get,
after many travails, to a lush wide-open landscape
not knowing what i can eat, what might eat me
deliveries that open themselves, a hunger
that no longer speaks my language
 
If i’d never seen the ocean
never been two miles high
 
Breathing with more than my lungs. exhaling
a wave along the whole stretch of my body’s beach

 


 

Before the Signs

Next gas 80 miles
next fresh food at least ten miles from the highway
hope I brought enough water and sun screen
if no gloves or maps what do i put in there
license plates replaced with bar codes
 
I curl up in the back seat & give the van 5 hours to surprise me
home on wheels, wheels addicted to asphalt
hoping for a lightning storm to jump me
when the wind shifts; when 2% of rain drops have legs
big enough to drive under
 
One T leads to another
the few hills left will collapse soon i’ll
keep gong 'til i’m asked who i am
the atm spat my card back at me
the bird that’s been following since reno isn’t a bird
 
Mistaking a river for a winding road
no windows just video screens
all the exhaust comes from me
edible seat cover, a roof that holds 10 gallons
just an hour north of destiny

 


 

These Increasing Spirals

Is rain glue, lubrication, or information
needing to gather before it can be accessed
what if getting in cars and driving around
helps the earth keep spinning, burdened as it is
with so many people, buildings and things,
wobbling a bit from the asymmetry, the extractions
 
My eyes are globes--hollow, wired--as all the dust
and radiation falling through space helps keep our planet
fed and intact
 
                          If i could jump through my window,
unimpeded by the glass and wood, the frame narrower than me,
whether a 2nd or 14th floor, i’m unharmed and hovering,
not a glass ceiling but glass air—1 degree of separation
is enough, blocking gravity and the wind
will the streets move beneath me, can I hit reverse and
be back home, watching the window reassemble seamlessly
 
Light can work like that but not matter, maybe in a world
where time and gravity aren’t so monolithic, inflexible & self-righteous
how else can i stay in the sky, why are my only options down or out
unlike buildings where every additional floor costs less
the higher i get the more ways i’ll have to pay, from right now
to next morning to 15 years later, even if every recover
loses a thousandth of a per cent, if only a couple cells
will never replicate, cells sloughed away
not their last words, their aromatic exit
 
My gps numbers won’t stay still:  i’m moving,
the earth is contracting, or the satellite railed some cosmic dust
and keeps streaming numbers for the world’s most complex
combination lock, wheels you have to be a juggler
to keep spinning without brakes or lubrication
with neither sun nor moon to tell me where I’m going
sky afog with would-be stars, flocks of winged flashlights
looking for the cracks in darkness’s skin. for the crawlers
and scuttlers baited by fresh air’s sales pitch
 
Never know how what I eat will eat me, slowly steer or dissolve
in isolated sinkholes of skin, in corrosive eddies of flux, accumulation
and bio-commerce—retune the receptors or reformulate the feed—
no matter how long I wait the weather’s always there, winds so strong
streets flooded by blocked sewers, i have little choice where I’m headed
uphill, air still thickening, clouds pointing the other way
 
When i see shimmering halos i know i’m on the wrong bus,
a new driverless one, or a one car train with no tracks
only gouges where it’s been, a plane with just enough fuel to take off

 

 

dan raphael

dan raphael's most recent books are Moving with Every (Flowstone Press, '20) and Manything (Unlikely Books, '19.) Most Wednesdays dan writes and records a current events poem for the KBOO Evening News in Portland.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 09:03