Recycling is reluctant in my neighborhood

people trawl out dented green buckets fitfully

more often deciding last nights excessive salad box

can rightfully be squashed hidden beneath leftovers

I always wondered why it was harder

to drag a brown can of garbage to the curb

than green? Standing hip-cocked applying lip-balm

smacking mouth, angry stare, tut, tut

why suddenly, snow, rain, sleet

become palpable reasons for ignoring the need

to recycle our excess waste

perhaps we simply do not respond to do-gooder prompts

and the devil in us, the refuse rebel without cause

sits throwing spit-balls at recyclers who

do not come dressed in sage or holding olive branches

but are the same tired men who collect our garbage

the same who go home and eat microwaved meals

made of plastic, which they dutifully dispose

in the correct bucket in their neighborhood

for they do not seem as concerned as we

to flout the rules, maybe they are too worn-down

by collecting other peoples trash, the mounds of

excess and waste, whole meals, dead foxes, love letters

to think of oceans filled with plastic or sea birds

covered in plastic netting, or how sharks that die will

have a domino effect, in other words

it’s not just the bees

they may only think of whether they’re home in time

for Wheel of Fortune or gladiator porn on HBO

they have a simpler tempo and I wonder why

with our good jobs, well fed lawns, our bright children

advanced degrees and frustrating dogs, we resent so much

that little act of putting out the green box

as if it was a punishment and not an ark of sorts

staving off what now seems inevitable

we’re silly and wrong-headed of course, the inverse

of what’s meant to be, fighting the wrong battle

is being asked to separate toilet roll from cabbage head, really dictatorial?

Maybe we deserve the rising oceans, the drowning shorelines

maybe our lust for plastic and convenience

is very apropos

I’m sure cockroaches don’t recycle either

I wonder when it comes time to float

will we? Just like corpses take longer to

bloat? Formaldahyde coarsing through their veins

curtesy of chemicals in perfume and red wine

ah yes, then we can use the plastic bottles we find

bobbing on the ocean when we’re climbing into plastic boats

and floating, floating, floating

on that fine starving mess we’ve wrought

4 Replies to “Who built the ark?”

  1. Those tired men are not among the privileged, and so need not resent the minor inconvenience. Besides, they know the guy who will pick up their garbage, and doing it right is an act of brotherhood. Thinking of them, I remembered a poem too long to put here, “A Worker Reads History” by Bertolt Brecht. It begins: “Who built the seven gates of Thebes?”

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