When the Camera Starts We All Talk at Once

When the Camera Starts We All Talk at Once

What’s moving inside my pocket, elastic that doesn’t know how to relax,
the fly swats back, is this lily a microphone or a scope, tires with turntables
instead of hubcaps, worry breads, fish that weigh themselves,
a street so narrow it has a pedestrian weight limit, an elevator
the size of a phone booth, two cars parked so close together they try to mate

When i snap my finger this cheese will melt, a landscape trying to break
its addiction to water, a blue traffic light confuses everyone,
neither parallel lines or perfect circles, how oregano smells to you
says a lot about your past and future, different microclimates
in each of my hands, waiting for the horizon to rise like a window shade

I slide in one debit card and get back two, i pick the compass
off my left eyes, a feather the color of my hair, starting with a page,
a screen, the first six notes, a rigid line of bleeding colors,
bird flying sideways, my dead mother’s voice, i wanted a tattoo no one
would recognize, cloud of many faces, dumplings stuffed with melodies

Takin’ What I’m Given

In narrow daylight, all we get here
camouflaged in blacks & greys, unsure if the wind
is just sniffing or taking samples

I have clouds tattooed on me, sliding among body parts
sometimes totally gone or threatening to fill
every inch of skin., including my face
filigreeing the thin clouds i exhale
giving every inhale baffles and filters

The way words on signs
can go away when photographed

In all-encompassing night
when clouds come down to forage
the moon’s never allowed off leash

That 2am glow, whether phosphorescence, frying mercury,
the gaseous dreams of cooling engines. most dogs hear my light,
even indoors, flickering LEDs as hallucinatory as LSD
wherever  the visions are seeing past and through this ephemeral complexity

Is it the washer or the dryer changing the words on my t-shirts.
if my alarm clock needed a certain amount of light to buzz me awake
usually not the sun itself but some pilot light
something to keep this day from being so usual
something else burning

Dan Raphael has two poetry collections published this year: Starting Small came out this September from Alien Buddha Press while Moving with Every was published in June by Flowstone Press. Most Wednesdays, Dan writes and records a political poem for The KBOO Evening News.

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