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Monday, June 7, 2021

MANYTHING BY Dan Raphael, reviewed by Hex'm Jai

Dan Raphael, a la Dr. Moreau or Dr. Frankenstein, has brought life to a creature of many facets (It’s Alive! ALIVE!!!!)! Through dense verse that is riddled with detail we are given wolves with a taste for quarter pounders and cashiers (A Wolf Walks into a McDonald’s), caustic visual symphonies derived from living (Living Downtown) and translucent sonic Kaiju summoned from the trans dimensional musical arts/sciences as perfected by Jimi Hendrix (If Jimi Hadn’t Died So Young).

Dan has expertly employed various poetic tools to bring this beast to life: Stream of consciousness, sensual synesthesia, prose poem – free verse hybrid forms and even fractal geometry (So Many Swift Fingers)! All of these and more culminating to create this beatific monster who certainly possesses traces of Beat and Dada DNA.  Disjointed!?!  One would think, but Dan has been artful in his fusion of elements.  It is through these techniques, slices of life, observations, critiques and musings that Manything has become an omnibus for existence.

So, now that many of us free to travel and explore, don’t go alone.  Whether you’re going pool side, park side, beach side, mountainside, East side, West side, on the road, on the bus, on the train, on a plane or just on the couch bring a friend.  Manything could be your trusty travel companion full of pocket dimensions!

Available at Amazon via Unlikely Books:

So Many Swift Fingers 

obscurity is not a virtue where alternative islands & lakes 

harness the monster curves of watershed trees, 

fudge-flake dragons sweep up the fractal hills 

curdling whey streams like the blazing sky effect of an agglutinated universe 

cuts diamonds into stars whose cloudy wake defines intermittent turbulence. 

jets flying through mammalian brain folds percolating clusters 

tame gargantuan knots while sponges & foam split snowflake halls 

into the very substance of our flesh, the lungs bronchial trees 

spread apollonian nets & osculating soap where pragmatic chance, 

from recursive to random, ferments sponge coastlines airport strips & tribology 

in brownian emotion conceives a cup on the devil’s terrace, 

a birth process of unforced clustering & cirraform fi laments in predisturbed lakes. 

the invariant translation of river’s failure to run straight, avoid polygons 

& discontinue prices as lexicographic trees take the temperature of discourse 

into a curdled effective dimension


we go past the immeasurable to what language can barely 

de-obscure enough to distort through the door in my belly 

as i build the stamina to run my intestinal track, 

a personal best between meals without galoshes 

keeps me from sneaking up on angel-headed hipsters worshipping the visible woman, 

knowing which neurons to fondle & which to numb with cold drink. 

64 doorbells with legible names i recognize none of: my ancestors were thrown off ellis island & could only swim down, where the garbage was so dilute, the fi sh so plentiful you could read by their 

fluorescent eggs 

clouding my antigravity hair like radioactive mosquitoes too generous to die without 


as i open the bottle a bone pops, a radius becomes a hemline 

exposing the green palouse of my multiple thighs. 

                                                                                          dinner was half an hour from here, 

we’d drained the biodiesel to make a hundred pounds of french fried curios— 

whatever we could catch, whatever wasn’t thick with feathers or excuses. 

the darkest hour is just before my pancreas’s naps, sending hundreds of photon-sized 


to every antenna too lazy to change frequencies. 

                                                                                         i put half a lake in this balloon 


when i begin to taste the mass of stars, the many times more i can’t see, 

                                                            their potential solar & eco systems, 

my skin wants to separate into blazing molecules deaf to gravity, 

my bones with nothing to hold together but nowhere else to go. 

the beginnings of rivers escape from me, & the beginnings of radio stations, 

with every transmission we apart, as these cliff ’s pasts effects the echo— 

                                                                                               loudest 1st, susurrant infections. 

the holographic landscapes inside each flea from all she’s consumed & copied. 

i get an unmarked jar from the basement & eat whatever’s in it, 

sky full of woven, cloud shadows falling like sanskrit birds i’ll never see again 

folding their wings into their bellies before their thousand messengers disperse 

                                       (Many of the words and phrases in the 1st section come from Mandelbrot’s 

                                       The Fractal Geometry of Nature)


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, schooled at Cornell University, Bowling Green State University, and Western Washington University, Dan Raphael’s been active in the Northwest for 4 decades as poet, performer, publisher and reading host. He is the author of 20 other published poetry collections, including Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid (Last Word Press, Olympia, Washington), The State I’m In (nine muses books, Winston, Oregon), and Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems (Wordcraft of Oregon, La Grande, Oregon). Dan lives in Portland with his wife Melba and over 400 plant varieties. Retired after 33 years working for the Oregon DMV, he spends non-poetry time practicing electric bass and tai chi, brewing and drinking beer, and every Wednesday he writes and records a current events poem for the KBOO Evening News.

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