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

cutting threads

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,

carbon precipitated

on the lips

of exhaust pipe bores.

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