dan raphael

Yearning for the Moon

I am yearning for the moon, howling for my yearn
with my mouth sealed shut, my face as obscure as the moon’s,
my body as dispersed as the sky.
all us voiceless dogs inciting the winds blunt impetus—
getting no answers, no takers—
the wind doesn’t know what its saying
as if each fluttering leaf another tribes  tongue

we know better than to look up, meditating on the lines of our laces
a music without notes, just beat and scratches
getting to the next rise, the lunar eclipse of daylight

moon in the man, stars we take what flickers of we can afford
through our mouths    our eyes    our veins.
we could have died thousands of years ago and not know it
still shining with rage & joy sudden through our molecules
opening into untouchable universes that never get here—
universe in a patch of skin someones scratching,
universe in an acorn I ran over going nova northwest of orion

Dog Days

I let the dog out of the bottle
I picked the bottle before it was dry
the bush wasn’t a net yet
spiders over the horizon

dog bed rising, glass bell leaks
bushy-tailed tree-rats random dance of forestry
3 years later I remembered where I parked it
despite monthly mowings

I opened the bottle and went inside
are those epaulets or wading pools
my phone barks, my door-dog howls,
smoked meat smell moves around invisible

the wind is a hissing loop
I have to fondle to know how to cook it
cracking the refrigerator like a safe
like an egg for a gear shift

I scratch to make fire
full bottles are instant karma
as if each car in the mile long train was another story
when the moon makes shadows sing

Michael Dwayne Smith

Changing Landscapes

“There are eyes everywhere.  No blind spot left.  What shall we dream of when everything becomes visible?  We’ll dream of being blind.”  –Paul Virilio

Move away from the picturesque.
Hand the twentieth century back to its resistors
of urbanization.

City sprawl, with its fizzing white bulbs and dense
violet sky, its Mondrian of telephone wire and all night
signs of neon salvation, expands from a view
on small, concrete-laced hills.

Camera eyes frame outskirts, two-story stucco
hives, where gasoline-stained drones sit on folding chairs,
mingle on spray-painted streets.

junkies, taggers, raggedy housedresses
stepping past sleepy Mexican food wagons, mindless.
Fail to investigate shifts in landscape.  They wade into rapid,
do not reinterpret topography.

This, where insects click against shop glass.  Tire rubber, oils
mix in complacent trails of cigarette smoke.

Color and form and tension.

What is natural?
What is developed?

Environment encases focus.
Vernacular disappears, leaving locations behind like
blunted seasons, returning over
several years, a document of individual dwellings,
a survivor of passage.  Facets, fumes, theatrical nighttimes.
Dark, disoriented business.  Fragments experienced in spaces.

What is public?
What is private?

Memory, decaying rolls of film.  Images,
whimsical murder seen through a rain-streaked taxi window.
Life always the unrealized day.
Working class, a footnote.

Millionaire entrepreneurs
and ex-mayors expose the new freedom: it is isolation.
Privilege makes no exceptions.

Sharp, candid photographs of wealthy women in extravagant
homes.  Over-saturated, viscous tones.
Models of opulence.
Rare glimpses.

The world strives to be elite.  Its characters struggle to be
ostentatious.  Poverty is not contrast, only stark.

Poor is hollow-eyed grays and browns
brushed layer over layer, a country of landscapes reduced
to one inevitable impasto,
wads of fossilized idea
stuck on a canvas of long forgetting.

Quinn White

Walrus Tooth

The walrus, after brushing his teeth,
flopped into my bedroom.
He clapped his flippers and announced,
"Time to turn in!" I refused.
The walrus jumped on top of me. I escaped
and stood in the corner. "If you aren't
sleeping, let's take a drive," he said.
I suggested we go to the zoo.
The walrus declined, "I would be only
a creature among creatures."
We wound up at a diner.
He ate a BLT and I filled a napkin
with verse. He instructed,
"Pay particular attention to verbs."