Of the Poet’s Youth

When the man behind the counter said, “You pay
by the orifice,” what could we do but purchase them all?

Ah, Sandy, you were clearly the deluxe doll, modish and pert
in your plastic nurse whites, official hostess to our halcyon days,

where you bobbed in the doorway of our dishabille apartment,
a block downwind from the stockyards. Holding court on

the corroded balcony, K. and I passed hash brownies, collecting
change for the building’ s monthly pool to predict which balcony

A Fable

Purveyor of  rot and whatnot,
entrepreneur of  I forgot,
with wrists hard as hammers —
that birthmark a slot —

grip it, strip it, flip it hard —
ramp my shard.
If  fear be sexy, a synch
& a match —

Gone the way of  wax & worms —
gone like November 2011 —
sweet by nature, mean by culture —

“Goodbye, luck, you idiot,”
said the Fox to the Grapes.
“I love you,” replied the Grapes.

Ode to the Belt Sander & This Cocobolo Sapwood

The belt kicks on with a whir & the whir
licks the end grain of the offcut with a hint

of  hesitation. A small wind of ochre dust
sweeps off the belt before the belt comes back

to where it was. The whole room swells
with the scent of cinnamon & desire.

How imprecise the smell of desire.

The wood takes on a sheen, a gloss
the grain can live behind without worry

of  being forgotten. A single knot blinks
out of the small block and becomes

Half-Ourselves & Half-Not

If you sleep the night inside someone, her cells,
saltwater-stained, fuse with yours like the blood of twins.

Apes in Mauritania grow stronger, Galileo tells us,
influenced by the sphere of angels.

Here, then — thumbnail sketches
for zoning changes along the riparian bank

of the species boundary, for a chimera.
Like fiber optics, human nerves

lay along glassy bone & spinal veins of a fetal mouse
that will be drowned before ever waking.