The Ice of No Light

in the ice of no light
bright balaclavas on transparent faces
if the eyes aren’t all white
at 17,000 feet above,
17 thousand feet on 85 hundred people
spider legs, crab legs, chair legs
where the legends rise to full height
a few per cent out of focus
some people never all here

theater beaks
birds camouflaged as asphalt
crows afraid of the dark
legs without knees
elbow macaroni,  pads,  joints
the 4 humors, 5 flavors, 6 scents, 7 evangelicals
to keep chewing without getting fat

houses without windows still have holes
to keep light from coming in
without trees, without concrete, without an address
i give you my temperature, my fool’s attention, my heart’s delirium
my isolated eye, insulting the insulation

on the street of ice, the light of warning, the eyeless foot,
an F250 lands gently from above, turns its headlights on
as if it had been in daylight 10 seconds ago, at least 4 times zones
from here, with more wind and collisions
where the only insurance is in your hand
so cold, white, adamantine, what if it doesn’t
listen to me, what if the street of ice is its passion





“All those beauties/ in perfect motion”
                                                                          Talking Heads

Thinking about time on I-5
all us vehicles in motion
the difference of 3 seconds
unexpected benefits
time’s different speeds & densities
crumbling shopping center home to how many

Mt. Rainier floating on the haze
haze penetrating the earth
when what we’ve exhausted has nowhere to go
cleaning out grandma’s or mom’s home
grinding the bones of houses to put more on top
as if uncovered earth is wasted potential/profit

What can be passed down, visions we never could cure before
her body imprinted backwards
anticipating a twin who went elsewhere
finding more things to stop from growing
exercise equipment and pills different sides of the marketing coin
bottled water and oxygen bars
i only eat fermented fruit

A hectare of rain constricted to 4 square blocks
for a couple blinks at rush hour alert drivers saw the sky rip open
to an unexplainable clash disabling thousands of vehicles and people
who remember a 91 minute movie, a yearbook animated by nintendo

How a mask of my face bulges the elevator door
of a hotel in a city I’ve never been
when the watch is in me
from analog to digitall to what
a conspiracy of GPSs
buying directions in the sky
satellites orbiting other satellites
when paper maps are illegal
since everyone’s new here there’s no one to ask for directions

I represent coincidence and immediacy
i am release, recess, the muscle push
.002 seconds before the green light, the starting bomb
like jumping in the air right before impact
though my head’s already against the ceiling:
sometimes earth should get out of the way
someplaces time should shift to another dimension
escaping what we cannot change
when nothing matters every nuance could rule





Cabin Fever

I’m internally displaced
more than my job was sent overseas
no roads or rails cross my border
learning to keep people out,
the random out, still fire comes,
rain’s so undependable


The timer i hadn’t set buzzes,
my door knocks
the bread wont rise
my windows cant agree if its day or night
i never learned to shout
why is the stairwell glowing


Jump from a
put a gun in my
20 oxys washed down with half a pint of
day after day, minute by minute
avoiding windows
using only stolen phones


You put your right foot in
i’m changing channels though the tv’s off
no matter how quickly i turn around
all the doorways on the inside
plaster sandwich
painting our faces with exterior enamel
my vest of roofing tile explains my anacondic shoulders





Beast Tears

When i’m sneezing out mud & breathing in the resistance of meat
backing over a horizon, mirror & telescope combined—how many concentric hands,
how many ways out, interest paid, commissions waived, demands never met
nor intended as more than navigation, pounds all around to magnify the imagination
& possibilities, make the odds more familiar, curious,
lithe as a dachshund, supple as snow, as honest as a head on collision

In is coming to me, soaking in, turning blood into a medium,
a scent so true no one believes it,  taking me apart at the joists,
amazed we stayed together as the world spun 180 degrees beneath me,
a different 180 within me.
                                                       like our bodies the world is not round, symmetrical
or how we envision it, those moments when more than our usual satellites
get through, a fearful but cleansing symmetry, surfaces too smooth to remember
whats put on them need to be roughed by time, chemistry, usefulness:
didn’t fit like it did in the store;  the factory smell never went away

One with the show,  out the wave,   in the have not,
by narrowing the pipe you increase the pressure:
more than ticking, more than gears, more than a wide variety of inputs,
tentacles from my ventricles, from the vortex my heart appears to contain
as if clouds contain the sky, as if something could dissolve so completely
the water knows nothing about it, involving me to spew from
the earths magnetic poles though i’m so minutely ferrous, more feral,
febrile, easy to effervesce and fabricate whether an audience or not

We don’t notice our constant evolution cause everything is evolving, reacting,
squeezing between two buildings to find a boulevard, jogging across acres of rocks
as eyes and ear-gyros keep the data flow—
                                                                                           how can the wind not follow me,
what windows endow, how stillness broadens the eyes, a wall so thin and stinging
keeping what in, what out, offending how many
                                                                                                   i’m together in this
i’m both sides of my coin unable to make its own change, fluid denomination and value,
this barcode defines me, would allow selling shares and margins i’ve always been outside.
whoever touches my passport smiles and wishes me a great visit, has no idea what i look like,
raw material with wings, i’ll keep eating til i find something that wont let me go anywhere else.

how powerful must vultures be causing others to die to feed themselves





[Dan Raphael has been active over two decades in the Pacific Northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. His 19th book, Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, came out in June 2016 from Last Word Press. Current poems appear in Caliban, Across the Margin, Phantom Drift, Otoliths and Unlikely Stories.]

Copyright © 2017 by Dan Raphael, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.