Dan Raphael

No Soup

theres no soup like dead soup, aged soup,
soup buried in the yard and working its way back to the kitchen.
soup you can’t resist. alphabet soup with over 30 letters. courage soup,
soup flavored only with things you’ve never tasted.
soup in a shot glass, an aquarium, in the middle of a double pane window,
ant colony drowned in soup

soup frozen in ripples like corduroy, silky, wooly,
soup without anything natural. used soup, vintage soup,
a different soup for every room in the house.
soup mosquitoes hate. a soup only my grandma could make.
revolving door soup, loud as a helicopter soup,
when I slurp it sounds like snapping a shotgun

eating soup with chopsticks, using only bread, a glass straw,
pressing my face in the cool enough soup.
this soup is slow motion, cubistic animation,
everything machined into pinhead sized pieces
and the glass bowl is a snow-globe telling my future,
answering my questions as every spoonful is another day

Outta Here

gonna move to another orbit where the sunlights younger,
upwind from my past, less oxygen,
a broader spectrum for the skin to mistranslate.
until new fingers grow this is the math I’m stuck with:
a dollar per hour, a penny a breath, monthly blood tithing and maintenance.

if i could be the man who gets first pick from the filters, who walks into a bar
and doesn’t leave alone—its friday night, go sleep somewhere else.
new doors, new walls, new colors—is this still my house?
suddenly I’m the one with the accent. stuttering a pidgin that’s three movies ago.
if you bow to the wrong person you could be in debt.
the fluid gesture that brings great insult and possible payback
this is a test, but therell never be a graduation

a guardian angel made of light blinding a corner of my eye
like im a mango tree invaded by parrots keep scooping at the side of my face
with a warm spoon and anesthetic tongue aiming to carve a tea cup handle into my forehead,
caffeinated shampoo, rice with tiny legs. looks like a gem but glues itself to flesh,
knocking on every visible door til someone lets us in,,
i didn’t know my house was on stilts til the beavers came.
i learned to open cans with my mind, cleaving the air like a teflon hatchet,
the starlings think im one of them spreading our wings to burn with the new suns light
whittling me back to a meat sapling, better rooted than boughed

Future Bone

amidst the chicken, bourbon, avocados
irradiating aromas as textures on the sky on the ceiling
testing doneness without insertion or mouth

the low flying plane sees the borders expanse
so many backyard barbecues vegetarians cant come out
a city in a thigh, river flowing through intestinal gorge
opens me up like a satellite
threading me into thousand of sandwiches
salad head, condiment make-up, mistaking dried skin for salt

the guy on the tv predicts this weeks hungers
how up to 10,000 migrating corns could be stopping here
when the rain boils, when we’re all wearing crispy green
not the time to strike a match or confront black birds—
urban ravens, oystercatchers allergic to sand,
magpies conflicted on which side to take

the restaurant with a five foot door and ceiling discriminates against my kind
shouldn’t I pay a little less coz I need a little more
when the sky shines like butter something uncontrollable’s coming
if chairs were biscuits we’d be sitting on the floor
which could be an 8 lane freeway when all the gasoline is gone
what started as giant smokestacks are now straws for the saucers to suck

auditioning for shiva’s new music video

the letting go, looking ahead, stresses we claim
as if we have dozens of pockets to stash them in---
hunger, unemployment, breath that burns,
water as overpopulated as this city

with fire and light escaping from the night of my chest
I can have a different color shirt every day of the year,
pivoting on a floor that might not support me,
like dancing on crackers or wrestling in a room full of bubble wrap,
hungry lubricated bubble wrap thinking its underwater
with poison tongues I might mistake for cheetos

every time I put on that one glove,
when the mirror shows me in a hat ive never owned,
all space travel begins with a door hinge, we have to burn the past
to make room for the future. the unmarked trucks and trains
dont stop unloading, wont take anything away.

this body will never go two directions at once.
if I had 360 degree vision I’d need another leg, 2 more arms.
pulling down the vines and knowing what to evade.
where the forest meets the sun is most dangerous.
fish who evolved for river mouths, cities where the airs so thick
the moths need only their legs, so few lights to go toward.

music keeps the head busy so the legs can get to the next chair.
a powerful song takes more energy than running a mile
with ten times the scenery and interaction, a song from my toes to my hair,
when passion slows time, when gravity cuts us some slack
prisms for bones, superballs propelling my ankles & elbows—
how can I not land in this muscular field

“where did you learn to dance,” she asked, “coz I know it wasn’t here”

Copyright  © 2013 Dan Raphael

Dan Raphael has been active in poetry in Portland as a writer, performer, editor & reading host for 3 decades. The State I’m In, his 18th book, came out in March; Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems, was published in 2010. Recent poems appear in Otoliths, Caliban, Unlikely Stories, Madhatter, The Oregonian and Rattapallax (where you can hear Dan as well.)