the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY DAN RAPHAEL

CORNER WHEN

a moment goes around the corner
waiting for a fresh moon
a still warm roll
thin crusted as the first hello
when a yellow light's sideways razor
folds from the floor
a spinal rivulet
veeing the water between horizon & opportunity
pick any seven digits
without the area
within a satellites nap-time
a constellation of faux orchids
where water-time creates a field of hesitation
one slowness favoring the next
clearing the street in a stride
the promise of moisture attracting both edges
shadow cracking space
drawers pulled from the curb
the river beyond my window
vertical as a fence
beneath the drums unshaven head
a dozen caffeinated moles
aggressively prosletizing seagulls
knowing one foot in the street
imagine a hat resistant from the outside
what climbs a filament of lucky air
sparking like clockwork
my teeth become a wheel
til my eyes are level with falling over
when the next minute misses its cue
the center is free to rotate
a barrel of first grade art finally tapped
enough skin for a small restaurant
depending on hinges
where a searchlight bumped its head
my arms keeping pace with the oak
somewhere in space a rock-eating spider
a night with legs
thicker light with fewer breathing
to move toward the next sound
im not sure which side of the door
comparing lens with egg
where i think unvisible
a space never caulked
rain sparkling my clavicle
foot could crack through
wear insect deposits as an inscription where a street had
pocked hungry ready for more
as long as the wind
ruby or candy
quickly vanishing ripple that explains
two large books accelerating toward each other
scalloped light
cream from the oven
same time next week
guess which river i am
something to wear and eat

================

STREET VEINS

grey clouds above the street my veins could be
hardened along the walls that couldn't vote, couldn't flow to the unavailable access
i watch my anger
am angered by what i dont know
the fire stoking the trees to flame winter away
skies smooth and gray as mirrors
cold awakening the metal in my bones
as the sun turns its back to us, as the earth goes through another sleepless cycle
nothing can stop renovation, traffic is needed to keep the earth spinning
i drive around several blocks several times before realizing what im looking for
is gone, under reconstruction, so much taller and unaffordable
a building that wouldn't reflect me without a credit check and a promise to provide for transplants
over the counter or not at all
over the river and through the infill
so many cars parked in the street cause another family lives in the garage
no trees or bushes for criminals to hide behind just walls they can punch thru,
walls ready to blaze at the thought of a match
winter in america
the coldest hour is just before impact
 i cant forget enough to be warm
the wardrobes ive gone through no moth would want to raise its young on
i m the opposite of a refinery
breaking down the common denominators
math without decimal places-whole numbers only
the more zeros the better,
  in any direction a matrix of nothing
as the city stretches above the earth, as we realize people will pay good money
for natural light, a satellite above the clouds feeding my sunshine channel,
pay per view, like cities where the toll-bridges charge you to leave
but not to enter---theres no such thing as a free breath

to support a freeway on my head
my spine is rooted in an earth anesthetized with isolation and clutter
i sleep in briefest intervals, like the microfine conductors laced throughout my flesh--
where they came from, how like an infection or fungus
words with roots, images with internal batteries
the 4th dimension verges on fragility,
with only a 40 year old car roof to stand on
tires creeping away at slug speed, hoping for a napalm rain
to announce their ascension to petrochemical heaven

stitch in the side, seam along my skin runing alphabet ticks
swarm like weather emulating digestion
if you get time to slow slightly around a face always processing several inputs
networking along the shadows where bricks have been gentrified, where the wooden frames
so long in the dark time has never returned
 protected by plaster & paint
i embalm the now, emblazon nothing through flames and smoke, in such a busy world
almost separating my shoulder from the tree joint i'd fallen into
as the city grew so many arms i coudlnt see the absent hands, the saggy flowering
of pasta-like vines beginning to hum with energy we'er not crazed enough to use

================

IN / OUT BOX

morning seeps in seeps out
the rain of light droplets
wind of small gravity pulling everything sideways

i am in bed outta bed 85% asleep
skip-stepping down block long halls of windows without doors,
rooms trying to invent a liquid light, a simultaneous presence
like cloned salespeople showing up at everyones office-
(you do have an office?)-when the bargain cubicle dividers
are like cats with very slow clocks-every day or two they'll switch positions
the other walls adjust--- suddenly i have large space with no way out,
a small room with 8 openings, a place where several walls are heaped together
& the boss cant fine me
                        my weekend office
                        my overnight office

the network ive joined my brain to increase my salary
while digitizing my dreams as capacity i seldom use
helps thousand others do complex simulations
aligning to better slice the evaporating pie, millions of pies
traded for a van gogh or a phone booth stuffed with gold bullion

then mornings first streamlets of solar bills im itching to open my skin to,
my visual focus makes its twice yearly adjustment
so the tip of my outstretched hands is fuzzily aglow,
remote sensors orbiting miles outside my atmosphere
reconfigure with clothes & a pre-programmed mirror-
my pressure points must be changed today, my muscle subscription
expires this weekend-- i'll pretend the week continues
like edible elastic and a holographic face collaged from milk cartons
when only organic & non-dairy come in cartons, each silvery smile
held like a sky squeezed between clouds and a damp earth'

hitting the snooze button repeatedly, dry lips flopping apart then settling
like the banks of a forgotten river, as no one believes the water wont return
& catfish dream themselves deeper into mud exhaling a steady steam of
memories etching soft shale for impressionistic fossils
folded into the cloud cover that wont give us a drop of water or light.
green vines far from choice, from tropisms ,
flowers that give way to leaves that wither to bare soil
with an encyclopedia of thoughts just below the uneven surface of rolling farmland
in a place maps call flat the tractors are always on angles, stream cant pretend
to know level wobbling back & forth like a semi-trailer turned into a bathtub
creating new freeways for the birds & rodents attracted by the mirror in motion,
the scent of hidden food apt to reveal its body at the next gust
of glandular evaluation ramps by hemi-himalayan world
onto the next generation of expressway stripping back hooks and dstinations
into a hovering smear swallowed by a cargo plane melting over a just cleared forest
where every stump is seeded with dozens of edible tools

================

SPOOR

spanks floor in a windstorm abutting the deep-freeze, a shallow sharp chill
where veins used to be, the main drags are sleek chasms about to burst
with preprogrammed neon dancing like everybody was watching without clothes
as arms from another dimension begin to glide around the proceedings
choosing so many alternative endings a molecule would blush with indecision

a moment winds in on silent altered jalopies-we keep them for the mountains imbedded in their flames,
awakening the way a circular beach does, an island that's paid off the tides of a moon
overloaded just inside the equator. that's how the mirror becomes
sometimes like a wall sometimes 8 stories in a building beheaded by clouds
come to graze not glaze,.i get lost looking into their ingredients
as my breakfast face dings, as a septet of enhanced kitties shape the wobble hunger
i thought i'd woken from like a banana with concentric peels
or two cups of flaked oats in my mouth all at once

i want to bake a bus but im too jittery to get power so settle for cubed food.
food with some of its nutrients not yet dressed. the city is too dark to wake now,
rumbling in room sized newspaper-tortillas imprinting the unseen struggles of evaporating cash,
sleep-deprived cash, avocados with encrypted bar codes in their seeds-
the reason so many lottery millionaires lead quiet lives is they were just couriers,
stoking the pipelines like colliers in the titanic digging through the sea floor
to devolve back into radio waves purring along the inseam of national trousers
where i know to go
lifted skirts buttery hem an optical surrender, indeterminate sides,
 i give it up like glass getting as thin as skin stretched to emulate oxygen's itinerary-
how air tasted under the bo tree or the view from a crucifix focussing til a compressed acre of hovering granite
stacking its inherent fluidity, black to green, brown to yellow ochre, a meal fit for eyes in orbit
of totally organic continent, breathing through my feets,
my regular volume covering 1/10 the mass
intricately passed through, filtered and unfiltered elements, impatient elements
jumping line to fuse this polymer taffy reacting to what ive eaten this week,
my lungs like libraries of extinct scandal sheets, foot pressed til the accelerator puddles,
eyebrow trapeze, air thickening enough to shimmer, a painles vacuum erasing all my dead cells
while doubling the remaining flesh with good attitude and alternative concepts of body architecture,
the world inside me, the inability for one body to be its own world, i split into twelve
of varying polarities that collide shatter & clend, 12 unequal,
as 13 creates math, 11 pays regular, as once the suitcase is locked i have to go somewhere,
out a door big as 19th century glacier, back when ice was honest, flowing continuous into the sky
like dancing ropes of inexhaustible plasticity

some nights i wake up with so many clothes on i try to sniff their languages, rub cloth ive never touched
into rain sheltered topsoil, wind-riven follicles held up by their own exhaust
blue blur blood,
cotton lotion adding 10 miles to each step, geodesic nostrils,
carbon filaments rain a relief after two weeks of corn silk sky, lifting grape balloons
take to the streets now edgeless and wiggly, overcooked by decades of traffic,
some thinking they deserve to be pummeled apart by seething tire-rats
commandeering decades of unburnt rubber evolving a smoky armor destabilizing chemical intentions

glass cats actively sorting worm the bottom astir in peaks roughly apartment shaped
signaling in lumpy sine burps leave to my own devices partially soldered with extra batteries, steel wool beards,
moss that knits its own instructions
     clam neck seizure, t shirt seizure
two hands lightly bringing their surfaces together and partially through, like kansas flipped over on nebraska,
like start at four corners and move out in all six, never repeating what the others do, following a thousand safe steps
with a floor not ready to walk on

city seethes blue,
like an ocean you can slice and breeathe, shave a thin layer from like ivory soap,
how jello resists sharpest knives, i lke the red flavor mixing charry respberry strawberry
to taste like bright orange wood lavaically folding over the heat of each summer preserved
as in a buttery library of coincidence

================

HOOK SPACE

when the hook of space crawling inside me
opens like a premature freeway, sideways in strata of rain
we can trace the explosions of hyperactive seedlings,
patient geometric grasses etched with waves of birds
as regular as comets, relatives we visit one or twice a year
taking hour long drives across undeveloped suburbs
driving through the pores of this aging glass onion

making a flip book of my face by taking one frame each month for 30 years--
a voyeuristic legacy, my fingertips slightly concave from habitual beads,
as if some grace inside the words i repeat
energy penetrating from a molecular focus
to the outer reach of darkness, my good intentions
shaving fate, accumulating shields that filter out what i cant even categorize,
names as costumes, expectation, narrowing with notches

aiming for what and why
as this jungled ridge is such a slow snake
guarding its eggs by swallowing them
if each hair on my head is the tail of brains menagerie
part of everything that comes inside never leaves
whether put to use or slipped through the fingers, circulatory press gangs
drafting clumsily since they cant leave the streets
no matter how fine the alleys get
the walls prevent puddling
except when rain without a sky
is the light from inside me or drawn there by the darkness attempting to balance
a shirt ive worn for 30 years but never washed, worn to feasts and follies
occasionally left behind but never lost
another way to get from A to D

sky melts to a hat, as if the skull was clear-cut and flooded
as yeast tries another direction, leaving the gluten to its own devices, letting sugar stay sweet
til stirred brown by an insistent sun, even glass needs to hold onto the memory
of what pressured into it like a bed sheet of the softest, safest lead
so we can evolve for other gravities
when the planet splits for personal reasons
as if it took the kite-string spider-webs from my neighborhoods halloween porches
and laid them on top of each other to indicate urban structure, overlapping without relating
how a tug on one web barely ripples its neighbors neighbors