"When Time Could Dance and Stutter," "Dancing in Windy Streets," and "Bone Weather"

When Time Could Dance and Stutter

hollow as the breeze
                                    take the skin off my arm
and see a busy neighborhood
                                                 storefronts to live above
how many years of path
window reflecting what’s several blocks away
who gets to scent this late morning
two dogs walking each other
because chocolate melts, cause oats
won’t leave the bowl voluntarily
last day of May, and June was stopped at customs
sent back to wherever the future is
like an underground spring not caring
which way’s downstream, the cat
who’s a different species each night
drilling at dawn’s door
clothes demand to be worn
clocks don’t need to think about moving
news breath,    traffic breath
my lenses fog despite the temperature
I pour a little coffee into my milk
all the chairs are full,  no one’s home
waiting for the rain to set the agenda for a dry week
striking my finger against the sidewalk
as if a match
becoming a mini-sun
a transformative flashlight
on the tightrope of noon
no one is ready to roar
with more days unseasonable than seasonable
what do we call this time
as if ‘June’ means anything out of context
out of habit, out of frustration



Dancing in Windy Streets

an empty 10 gallon trash bag windblown by as if animated
don’t know what I’d be walking through, if my coat
was made from sail cloth. asphalt aglitter with dreams of salt
seven layers of clouds to traverse, climb down from,
my wet tuxedo, barometer tie, surface pushing up
stronger than my weight, a slack string, an untuned chassis
how when I reach an intersection and the wind has the red light
don’t know which of the six directions I was heading
using a die instead of gps, my peelable jumpsuit
too many zippers to get through security,
since my job’s to keep moving for most of 8 hours
with two stillness breaks, as my shoe soles sample and save
as I take off a layer I hadn’t put on, pockets between
ribs 6 and 7, even loud thoughts get transmitted
powered not by the sun but drivers’ anger and exhaust
by the defiance of trash and dogshit bagged but not taken far



Bone Weather

you never have to look far for bones
no matter how much we try to hide them
bones inside the walls, bones between our teeth
whether the memories or the flesh evaporate first
memories disturb the soil more than they feed it
returning the calcium miserly
as if something could still be recovered
the abandoned factories of bones
sperm and eggs like defective raindrops
raindrops rebelling against their fate
a house with good bones can be restored
but  a body with rickets, with osteoporosis
the muscles are willing but the framework’s confused
whether wind or gravity, responsibility or whim
what i feel in my bones, as if an eighth or ninth sense
if things get hot enough, if the pressure implodes time
used to be as if never was, swimming just inches below the surface
as if sea level didn’t have constant waves
the tides of time, pendulum of light and shadow
take the dust out of a moon crater and you soon get to bones
pulled from earth’s sea, collisioned from whatever culture
chose to send their dead into the heavens above
whale bone corsets, bone flutes, bones big enough to sleep in
as if marrow didn’t have squatter’s rights, starved into surrender
bones spiraling like dna,
walking on bones without breaking any
we start with nearly 300 bones that fuse to between 206 and 213
sometimes fuzzy borders between vertebra, an extra rib
on one side, a finger missing a joint, tailbone able to wag
when the bones begin to sing, when the skin’s too thin to silence
not a fracture but a disconnect, as my fat goes away
do I need all these bones, can’t tendons learn to trust one another
anchor bones, antenna bones, bones that know where to turn
occasionally fed up with muscles getting all the credit
as if bones need eyes or ears to get out of the way
when something’s coming, bones would rather dig in than jump
rest your bones by the fire, hang your flesh by the door
wind hasn’t the strength to come in, muscles would unfurl
and spread from wall to wall but bones want to be legible
through the cloud ceilings, when angelic satellites
come to identify us and hollow our bones so we can fly
like the unseen threads of data and yesterday’s  burnt dinner
one bone to grind the others, bend and recover, stretch
into a new octave, complicated junctures of articulate particles,
almost whole-icles, flesh so flawless i’m tempted to believe
its independence, as if every pore its own ecosystem
imbalanced stillness, dynamic endurance, from hill to valley,
from atmospheric rivers to lakes miles below the surface
caves of flame, clouds of dead skin, the 2 to 5% of rain
that’s not water, the 1 in 10,000 nothing can stop
tectonic plates spinning on whose bones



dan raphael

dan raphael's most recent books are In the Wordshed, from Last Word Press, and Maps Menus Emanations, from cyberwit. More recent poems appear in Impspired, Mad Swirl, Lothlorien, Otoliths and A Too Powerful Word. Most Wednesdays dan writes & records a currents event poem for The KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 22:25