Flywheel keys – Cary Briel

Posted on Dec 22, 2011 in Poetry, Writing

People love things,
like chocolate,
the ocean,
things that give pleasure
or pain I suppose, like
bondage–
handcuffs,
whips,
ropes and their burns,
constricting at places,
anatomical, places
you’d never tell your mother.

When I was young, and still
even,
though I never play anymore,
I loved small engines.
I knew an old man, selling
Briggs and Stratton,
Tecumseh,
Kohler,
a rotund old man.
He took ten minutes to walk from
his house to the shop,
where thick books took the space
a computer would these days.
But the computer wouldn’t smell
so musty,
so wonderful,
and would be way too up to date.

On the shelves in the back,
wonderment–
carburetors,
needles and floats,
head gaskets,
pistons and rings,
valves and springs,
points and condensers,
magnetos,
and the always flywheel keys.

The smell of gasoline
could be pheromones to me,
twice as much so when burned
through a combustion chamber, that is
if the points are set at .020,
if the condenser is good,
if the magneto and flywheel and spark plug
are gapped.

Perhaps I should drip
gasoline at the constricted places, once
the handcuffs and ropes
are in place.
But unleaded regular or premium?
I don’t think I can smell
the difference.