A poem from Dan Raphael


cloquet bouquet

by dan raphael

“& yet downtown duluth minnesota had less snow this year than downtown houston texas.” -patrick mckinnon



cut off at the equator,

1% of 1% mathematically mistranslated and apportioned,

focusing the light to burn-blossom complexity from so much accumulated in a large confined space,

i roll out of bed and fall into a swimming pool with live fish

and a multi-salt stench without filters or discipline,

too many friends dropping by and zizzing through, iridescent puddles as calling cards,

how quick the wigs unfurl when spring rains chopped so fine you want to paint with them,

making a plaster glove hungry for more fingers, stick to the veins, avoid the tendon trap,

like we now make traffic signs from wood chips so meth heads wont sell them,

what years of flame retardant smoke will do to you,

textured disks shooting out from under my finger nails,

gravity disks pushing away everything but music.

9 in the afternoon, ½ way tween work & retribution,

my pants beginning to molt means the weekend

neath an unchanging sky we have 24 different words for gray,

we have punctuation to indicate the words are cynical or sung.

walking exposes you to the spectrum of hunger—from insect to budtip

to mammalian leg warmers whimpering with 98 degrees of satisfaction.

micro glaciers inside our brains measuring our life spans—

water clock, water boarding, vintage water w/ recommended serving temperature,

like dancing naked in summer rain then remembering im in beijing,

more towels than i can afford, $5 per flush,

if only we could synthesize an intoxicant from plastic, not just hallucinatory but skin tightening,

jumping into my mouth before i can say no

if it doesn’t storm in the next two days my pension fund goes bust.

tho im on the job more years than ive been alive

the forecasts warm and sunny, light traffic and free food

Categories: POETRY | 2 Comments

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

2 thoughts on “A poem from Dan Raphael

  1. philosophically stirring senses awakened
    ah!!!!! the imagery is stellar, I love how
    you roll out of bed into the pool with live fish, your scientific references and word lasering upon the mind the little iceberg is a nice touch

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