Two Poems


in five miles hail becomes sunlight
in one week wood becomes bees
80 years tween first and last breaths
parts of lungs never visited
capillaries with all their storefronts shuttered

as if every monday we received our weeks ration of weather
saving some rain for august, saving some sun for friday
the exchange rate between michigan and belize

after it hadnt moved for 3 days i realized it wasnt a cloud
nothing about it in the news, friends said it was a series of clouds
we dont know how many small planes flew in and stayed

silver streaks appeared on some crows, a few others with blue eyes,
the further you get from downtown the smaller the birds, the larger the dogs.
cats not feral cats but emancipated, fish enthralled by overhanging trees

im planting hedgehogs, badgers, hummingbirds and a packet of mixed snakes
knowing what to water at night, what to warn before i turn sprinkler on
as if those underground and those flying above could agree on what rain is.

the window that wouldnt open
is now a hole in the floor of a cloud
sweeping across this valley to break its fast

not wind but everything moving at once
rain without transition—
how some things get wet
no matter where theyre put


O 21st Century Bards! (for Whitman’s 200th, 5/31/19)

Drop the yawp, bag the gab, leaves of astroturf, all these words aflow
in the electromagnetic we seeing more harmony and joy?
find and open, ingest and emulate the beautiful, bright sharp slivers
cant be steered or contained, not solvent but shifting,
filling in the cracks, the hinges, always more passages than doorways,
more choices than corners, more hungers than nourishment,
ever more mouths, dishes, windows of a thousand tongues,
a roar of so many whispers, whittles and whines. running into
and bouncing back, remembering what wasn’t said, no song of my cells
going around bandy legged & bun-nuggelled, off screen, through the screen,
full of fallen filters fowled with files, filets and flies.

Enough has had me.

Bones relieved of stress wonder about mirrors and hand-washing,
is that hinge or me, are the lights blinking in the room or in my head,
my shirt short-circuits my circulatory, a cross between ozone and lava,
if I could be sure that hole was one way, drive-up windows the only access
to the buildings our sustenance pumps out of, a quick flip of the micro-wave tap,
fresh beans teleported from wherever, the universe doesn’t mind being wide open
cause you can’t get there, singing that song over and over until it contains
all languages, throats and hungers.

I thought the tire was licorice, I thought the gasoline was muscatel,
that no one could hear the screaming inside me but it wasn’t me—
several police cars and ambulances spewing a fog of ghosts
and future opportunities. The opposite of a birthday suit.
Some undiscovered element that’s been waiting in my left lung for decades

Everyone’s speaking a language I’ve never heard:
I may not be alive enough to be considered a being here,
embracing what my arms will probably go through,
like a thunderstorm of watercolors, how many newly leaking faucets
dripping into rivers and clouds, noosphere cluttered with all the
howls we’ve surged into the sky against the gravity of outer space
never able to achieve escape velocity only an
ungraspable addictive nanosecond of clarity


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Dan Raphael's poetry collection, Manything, will be published this August by Unlikely Books; Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid came out from Last Word Press in June of '16. Current poems appear in Caliban, Otoliths, The Opiate, Mad Swirl and Stealing Light. Every Wednesday he writes and records a current events poem for the KBOO Evening News.