Landfill: Trash (an Issue, January 2014)

Dana Maya
Trash Talk


Recall 1975 our neighbor his name was Mr. Wily the one who shouted ‘dirty Mexicans’ at my brother & me as we ran by in our toughskins to the corral down by the creek  Wily would dump rotting trash at the far corner of his land right on the border with ours  then dial the Health Department  our Mexican mother opening the door to her house clean clean  her face a closed cupboard a smooth tablecloth that is  its own answer  This happened many times  in our neighborhood someone could be called  could come inspect see if our house perhaps  let’s just have a look did harbor did retain trash  1941 when she was a child, my mother had dirt-floors I betray her by writing dirt She was poor but stop I cannot let you in the poor house where I never lived  Shame rubs off   do you know where your dirt & trash are where you’ve taken it out? don’t look here  1980 I live in the cleanest house my mother is a school principal  I am her daughter I sit in the classes with the smart white  I’m the smartest one I am paying attention Every house I enter I inspect & I enter all the houses I can  1987 then, the far college the ivy & the gardens  I have brought the special silver wing-tip brogues I love silver! See but in this immaculate garden the shine has gone hiding  the dream is of decay, let distress be on show   unshine, baby  my boy from new york will trash his clothes shredding ripping denim with the bowed head & tender fingers of a new lover  but take care, here my trash talk is love talk not wily shouts of ‘dirty americans’ at the fine neighbors I found myself  living next to  their tough skins & hopeful genes  you know already:  I placed my silver shoes in the bathroom trash can  there I am still  See shine & shame  you can’t take the trash out     so easy 


Call me inspector open your door  Forty-four years the count of this body?   & still      tough  skin  trash  call  inspect  neighbor  shame  &  shine?  I come to inspect this house of ours  the trashing of the whole place  the civilization of the discontented  altar & alter  elevated trash  distress upcycle shabby & repurpose?  I’ve come to trash the place silver  Glitter it with snapshots of each & every dreamed thing every clutch & cover you & I took a shine to  The coats & cups computers & tables CD collection (did you trash it yet?) we bought inherited received  See these are the endangered species  Lives hover at the edge of our disdain  shame of  yesterday’s shine  My body too  its toughskin  its wet & yearning  is between love and discard  my shining breasts & torn feet  fissures & hungry muscle  I am not yet trash  Tomorrow’s trash is what you wipe clean  use   Not trash yet,  it offers no rescue reform redeem  Only care wipe hold wash beat softly probe  like your same  leg  my this face fresh not new  See this endangered love? To the altars of your house I haul the trashed images of what you called yours—was it   yesterday? Open  you called  I have come in now do not refuse     me