Carbon Rings is a book-length collection of 6 poem-cycles with carbon as an extended metaphor for the industrial-organic duality of contemporary life. Pending publication.
I once worked in a machine shop
subcontracting for the military—
I breathed burnt metal
as it rose off steel lathes
and painted oil on diamond bits
in F-16 engine rings.
Sawdust spilled across the floor,
clotted with oil and zinc spurs.
I soaked sandpaper in kerosene
to polish grooves
in slabs of armor plating,
day by day
the skin peeled from my hands.
After the shift bell
I drove home on six-lane freeways,
streams of head- and tail-lights
slipping through the dusk,
undulating over desert hills,
backdropped by the sea.
Hubcaps spun like centrifuges
on the wheels of trucks,
on the lips
of exhaust pipe bores.