This poem appears in 'Paper Trails'
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Deep in the bowels of the printing ink factory
the ancient Ball Mill slept,
throbbing softly in entrails
of pipelines and coiling hoses.
Dreaming of sweet tasting carbon
from smoke valleys of the Ruhr,
steel-plated lungs made slow sucking noises
in the stone pit of its belly.
A bat-winged fan bleated into life
announcing the arrival of an attendant;
masked in ceremonial muslin, he climbed the gantry
as red-eyed digits blinked in oil gauge windows.
An offering of sacrificial sacks
lay at the entrance to a cruel tower mouth,
the ripping of paper throats
sending black clouds drifting across an electric moon.
Tar oil, served hot from a welded windpipe,
made rivers of amber broth
in the powder puffing cauldron
steaming ship-shaped in the fog.
With cast-iron cap studded into place,
the colossus rolled with a punch from its powerful motor;
a salvo of stones thundering in the grind chamber
like stampeding buffalo in an African nightmare.