Best of the Net 2008  

The Bacchanalia of Trash

after A.R. Ammons
(Garbage) spiritual

Let’s worship the evolving cycles, the sweet and sour sediment scraped
from microwaveable take-out containers and tied into synch-sacs
with the morbid humors of our secret habits as well as inorganic
returnables, tuna-tins sharp enough to slit a vein, with an after-life
of their own via the ravaged curbside bin— Let’s praise organic husks,
the hides of grapefruit to whom we entrust the waking enzymes of our bodies
every morning. Grapefruit breaks down something, works out wherever
it goes and beats the beejesus out of fat. I break down the Sunday classifieds
into dispensable paragraphs for the recyclable brown bag, the Arts Section
I won’t give up to the trucks for a week or two after each new movie opens
and oh the scam of paper, the deadly sin of our worst addiction. At night
we hear junk mail grieving in the trees of our dreams.
This detritus all afternoon, this American frenzy for cleaning
as the sun shifts direction through burnished motes dancing
and the air wafts new odors, more expendable for being burnt
on manufactured woodchips, combustible faux-realite
as if our fantasies weren’t hot enough now that the season of barbecue
closes-- We live in the city. We have no compost pile to turn and toss
with a fork like a nice salad of vermiculite and dirt. At least we no longer
heave our ashtrays out the fire-escapes at the moon. We’ve quit smoking;
We’re utterly clean and yet we dream that garbage shoves back up
through the kitchen sink, the pipes collapse and the Age of Aquarius
is without drinking water. Lord, must we fall to our knees and pray
to the Alchemists of Garbage for a new infra-structure to renew ourselves
this late in the century? Kleenex, Tampax, hairspray, the whitened stems
of asparagus, used dental floss, pulp and pitted masses, we need some
homeopathic jacketto clothe the mercurial state of the soul, some crushed
dandelion oil, funereal bouquet made to remedy the fresh droppings in the park;
the world of the dump where the Lapis Lazuli is stuffed between mayo
and crumpled foil at the bottom of the Oatios box, or stale salami
slid into a baggy like a commercial for safe sex . . . Freud himself felt
civilization reduced (or perhaps elevated) to Sex and Death and the ancients
grew the Goddess of Love from an abusive Father’s genitalia, polluting
a whole ocean—it all comes out in the wash—so why not Garbage
as the ultimate cure of itself, a huge festival every Spring,
The Bacchanalia of Trash, with mites and maggots and mating toadstools,
thread-bare shoes, violins and broomsticks, one big black Mass
for the crack-smoked gasses loose in the universe, a sacrifice for landfill
and the world made pure, made poetry, made pre-lapsarian enfin!

-Deborah DeNicola (Apple Valley Review)