Shuffling The Deck by Dan Raphael

A light year, a dark year, 7 weeks without the sun
a body year, a year of living ambiguously
micro-fiction, a long journey, quick turn around, slow rising
i’ve lived this night a couple thousand times
windows neither open or closed, an average of half a sock per foot

Between the old furnace and the only house fire, between the head on collison
and an envelope with 26 hundred dollar bills & 3 ketchup packs
chutes & ladders, eyes and silences, whether the upper or bottom lip quivers
when theres someone in the mirror who’s not in the house
confusing mammary with memory

The worst time to punch someone is when they ask you to

I wanted to get behind the wheel but i was in australia
before it smoldered, before fire learned to negotiate with the tides.
put a mirror on the ceiling so i could see my bald skulls topography
almost a caldera, a place where two tectonic saucers stared threateningly
across a congealed river—i could pick up the world
but it was too heavy to shake without spinal damage
seeking alignment, defining gravity in order to defy it:

You’re going to fall so choose where and how to land
as on the wet sandstone beach i slipped so quick
was only instinct tightened my neck so it didn’t collide with rock
harder to have these instincts, quick or slow, with personal decisions,
as emotion flashed across my face as a me 20 years younger
jumps out the 2nd story window into 3 feet of snow, in the summer,
on a planet of someone else’s preferences

These days every night seems like friday as i want tomorrow to be different
not the routine rhapsody, when i can tango without smiling i will stop
when i enter a room i turn off the light so people are more concerned about
the darkness than me, an interruption of clarity, a smoky cotton-wrapped muscle

That year without May, 2 months without caffeine, 6 minutes without a breath
clouds without a sky, water unimpeded, swimming upstream in a giant’s tear duct,
when the levee no longer cares. I flip the next card and all the clocks turn to 12.

For a couple decades I’ve been active in the Northwest as poet, performer, editor and reading host. Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, my most recent book, came out June 1st from Last Word Press. Current poems appear in Otoliths, Rasputin, Mad Swirl, Oddball & Unlikely Stories.

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