dan raphael's 26th book of poetry, Out in the Wordshed, is scheduled to come out this fall from Last Word Press, Other recent poems appear in Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin, Rasputin and Otoliths.
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
cause resilience is fertile, imbued to bursting
without braking, so much a skin can hold on its surface
waiting for the next waft or rivulet, where air and water
co-fervesce, no need to separate the crystals from the solution,
curdling is just one way: engage marry ferment and proliferate
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
Grabill samples widely across the here and now, the American landscape, the landscape of human consciousness, a scaping that moves through time, species and possibilities.
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
The sky’s more an ocean than a street
as we slowly harden the first while swelling the second,
abrasive sky with billions of tiny full pockets
while the ocean’s clothes are unravelling, sinking
Down by the railroad tracks
a mysterious street
hammers before breakfast
where water heats itself
skin aching to be clean
trying to create a world from the inside out, without killing—
evolution a flip book of an unrepeatable story
unable to flip the pages of sequoia, brontosaurs
Unlikely Stories turned 20 years old on July 1, 2018. The 20th Anniversary Issue was released on July 4, 2018 and included more than a hundred authors and artists.
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
While the territory this book takes us through is dark, a lot can be learned, including about contemporary groups like the KKK and the NRA, as well as the militarization of the culture (from pioneers to commandos) and the repression of people of color and the poor. Dunbar-Ortiz gives this difficult, at times abhorrent history a crisp and light touch, including personal anecdotes and well-chosen cultural references.
To recreate being a certain age in a certain era takes great skill: getting your facts straight, your feelings appropriate to the time, maybe going back to your own memory but still keeping the perspectives of the characters, which are not necessarily your own.
we’re cycling & recycling as fast as we can but can’t get there in time
for the job, the damaged free stuff, the barbed assignation,
and usually need to replace something by the time we get home—
a tire, a lens, an ankle.