Caroline Whitbeck
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The Knife Channel


It won't cause drowsiness—you can drive.

“Past the children living in
Poverty,” in
           a refrigerator-
           sized box

bruised with juices and
postal codes. They have

lost their shoes to the telephone
poles and overhead wires.
                               Their appetites

patter on the tar-pocked rooves alighting
pigeons. No, that isn't rain, that's
           Miss Prison.

Around here, she wears a red-laser spot on her neck.

In the dark, someone
emptied out the drawers, tacked everything
to a white sheet and ran the tape.
                                      You can

cut through anything with this here.

                                      handcrafted, you
get a full set.

Fortified with
sandal rubber,
           circulars when the board ceded to
           mold and teeth.      We are ready

to take your order, but
is it right for your kind of pain?

An offscreen
hand halves a can, lets the
           contents ooze.

This is all I've had today.


What All the Boys are Wearing on St. Mark's Place


Blond in my teeth, the coat's weave, weeks now. Waking one end of the
Brooklyn walk-up. The susurrating curtains stained dawn. Odd bread and

dilute juice breakfast. Open my door and his light blanked on. Stereo
backdrop. Japanese cigarettes stacked in the kitchen with the dishes and the

robot stuff of boys. Afternoons the intercom's radar eye was mine, the
street a goggled soundstage of green wind reenacting the world.

The occasional comma of a person, that lit tip, his rules: One must leave
one's boots at the door. Stepping out of my days, I slept in unwashed smoke,

ours. Chew the guitar-strings of his, hair and bracelets. The insect-view
of an armpit's forest. Mascara clotted under each. Alike.

At home only in the mirror together, ropey wet and not much beyond that
shine. Even so I rubbed on rank clothes, smug in my publicly smelling his

young barnyard on me. Wanton indelible, that doleful wag. Not-a-thumb
in my back mornings: Master Me, Take Me Out.