"The New Year Reveals Something (1/4/20)," "Itinerary," and "Hunger and Physics"

The New Year Reveals Something  (1/4/20)

Just enough rain-sheen for the street lights to go out
i only know east from habit, know the sun never goes off-road,
never ferments or separates the expected homogeneity of its light,
never takes its clothes off
 
It’s not the intensity that blinds you staring at the sun
but the amazement and incomprehensibility of its minutiae
spark the reflex to shield myself from all that unknown
surely much of what’s below the light’s surface isn’t safe for me
for my daily routine, not even this entire planet can stop
all the sun’s components from reaching me in the darkest night
the moon’s complexion evidence of what the sun’s doing to us
 
If the earth stopped spinning, gradually, preventing any tsunamis
of mountains and plains, would time stand still, would whatever is
holding me together know it’s now every atom for itself, some calm,
some panicking, some dissolving, furthering the structural collapse
 
No longer the anatomical question of where is the mind
but where is the me, a haze on time’s treadmill, sequins of focus
from my circular vision, unable to aerial, to trust landmarks
or promised connections, networks sketched on either side of my skin,
rumors of the earth’s deep spring, the garlic around the corner indicating what
 
The sky’s been paved and i have no traction, standing or credit
transparent doesn’t mean empty as opaque doesn’t guarantee content,
light that’s never received, so many phone calls passing through me
must be a couple ideas, how to increase signal strength
by having my spine rewired, memory guaranteed by internalized cloud
 
Can i be receptive enough, disinterested while multilingual
don’t translate just transmit, keep it plain so no need to analyze
simple as a sliver of sym- or em- pathy, no lane i can call my own
an alley for a driveway, garage for a home, electricity from next door
does my skin pave my body, can i make my own rain

 


 

Itinerary

A smile hits, a day stalls, 5 rivers’ trails merge
parallel lines on a moving field
from here to where, from hat to what
who in that mirror becomes how, tools at hand
where to lever, to reveal, working the sky
a continuous fabric lifts from the wind and shakes
‘til it’s gone, the car so still things begin to ferment, to let go
 
The more music plays the fewer sing
with eyes in the back of my head which way’s forward
dropping into a tree from a cloud or someone’s car
edge    wedge     sled     silo     valley
a dog more complex than large
3 hungers in friendly competition
 
If guitars had never been electrified
coveting what can be that thin and still cohere
no language without breath
                                    concentric escape
                                    mutual separation
                                    down to the bone
                                    essence of floor
                                    taste of flame
 
When seeing farther is a disadvantage
my feet several steps ahead of me, as if they had mouths
a most particular rain drop
a bridge without tension or suspense
 
My exhales sound like the wind,  a distant jet
across my chest’s vastness, barren but smooth
by the time I get here photo-recognition says i’m not me
a passport to spontaneous combustion, my visa
is ticking, the imaginary guidebook says
back through doorways, don’t look in windows,
 
Out here i know the way to dinner but back in the city
my nose is no help, often paralyzed from every direction
playing spin the bottle where i’m the bottle and kissing's
not an option except for caroming off, density, the path
of least smog, where i have to breathe out more than i take in
the horizon 9 blocks away,  fuming

 


 

Hunger and Physics

Without a sense of direction can i tell dusk from dawn
i lick my finger to find the wind
uphill or down, toward heat or away from
where’s the wind going
& what will it do when it gets there
 
We can’t understand geological patience
any more than stellar distances—
not built for that, not brained for that
clocks that can’t be rewound
(maybe transplanted and restarted?)
even digital clocks spin. as the earth does,
as my vortex heart, the data in my brain
swimming like more fish than ever, interspersing
never colliding, patterns visible from a distance
are products of internal hungers, what I want
to see, have others react to
 
Who’s predicting the storm fronts
the high and low pressures of human migration,
no vaccine against the biggest vectors of infection—
the media and the opinions of others
not checking the origin of their original thoughts
the minds in muscles, the crumbling infrastructure
of basic intelligence--what’s experience got to do with it
“are you going to believe me or your own eyes?”
 
Rain from a cloudless sky, a car that runs on the pollutants
it takes from the air, condos that breathe,
how the concept of person is like the concept of atom
which may just be a star viewed from opposite perception
whims and probabilities, what I can’t put my hand through
what i can’t stop constantly going through me as we’re
so electromagnetically porous we could be quantum
if we did more than collapse and scatter
 
I’m self-sustaining and can hydrate as needed,
can patiently envision what’s growing on my unwashed skin
knowing a hunger always eats

 

 

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 Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 22:28