Selected Poems


Dan Raphael

No wind without birds

the sun is in our mind, has a mind to
falling onto and through our nascent wings
as every bird  sooner or later represents a physics, a range of flavors,
the map that seems a game board we instinctively know is our turn

birds who eat eggs, birds who lay their eggs in other nests
winged parasites from our own garden
partake of the host, the coyotic phantom
a howl is a bird, and the rare bird who sings only for herself

we all could land better, pre-cushioned
i get up from, go out to, drive among
seeming another corpuscle, the CIA of the immune system
first get the flesh out of the way, coping by copying
as the smell of decay and waiting for a ride can look like where we're from
how walking though a gust of someone elses past makes me dust myself off
as if something had landed on my shoulder too quickly to retract its claws
as an eagle who grabs too large a fish can't let go and drowns
bald salmon, sharp-shinned vole

the shadow at the foot of my door
what seems a step away hides a sheer drop as wide as a feather
the cliff removes its shirt, each rib is a thousand years
on the geologic piano the black keys have brown keys have colorless keys
intoning that night designed  to forget-we all have them
usually it's a Friday that disappears, depending on culture and hemisphere
i keep stepping south 'til my lips form a jagged syllable, burred gravel, 
spastic weave as parallel as april rivers 

waking the birds who hibernated underwater instead of going away
the birds who flew into snow for the winter are no longer recognizable
the difference between a sod hut and an igloo is purely architectural
if you live without walls why do you need clothing
if we don't mate before the lake dries our children will never have a home

when i crossed the street they took my passport, when i opened my wallet
i saw my destination but no idea how to get there-on the map but not in the index
the dark site of my inspirations and inability to stand still, 
the gps coordinates are irrational numbers, angle of the dangle, the torque of work

keep the change--i don't want things any worse
the myth of evaporation--dig deep enough around here and you'll find asphalt,
maybe still liquid, maybe a color you've never seen it wear, 
more people left than originally came in that giant space canoe 
or shrunk into the bellies of dust mites in the raven unaffected by vacuum and time.

i laid an egg. i divided by zero and got more than i could count or digest
when i round this last corner i'm jettin til horizon