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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Poem: 262 words
By Robert Eugene Rubino

Giving Thanks to Your Trash Collectors

Carefully gather your stash of trash your shame & blame 
& dusty disappointments from all the rooms & broom closets 
where you’ve lived all your lives all these years...
all the nooks & crannies in your palaces of fine arts 
(and the not-so-fine less-than-palatial places, too) 
and in the crude oil refineries of your spilled mess of memory. 

Securely place all your carefully gathered trash in a bin 
(but you might need something bigger, 
maybe a roomy dumpster of your own) 
while turning your head 
away from the decaying odor 
of the fraying paralyzing past. 

Stuff in today’s anger & angst 
as if they’re mold-laden leftovers 
from last year’s Thanksgiving 
along with rotten uprooted regrets 
& add the untamed unmuzzled barking fear 
of failures & futures near & far. 

Close lid tightly...but not too tightly. 
Mustn’t ever close these things too tightly 
or else the toxic gaseous pressure 
builds & builds & builds & builds 
until there’s an explosion—or implosion—
until someone loses a tooth or an eye...or two. 

Give an unwavering wave of thanks to the collectors of your trash 
—stoic heroic essential workers, indeed—
when they drive up masked in their 
huffing-puffing-farting brake-squealing trucks 
when their truck’s robotic monster arms 
bear-hug your trash like a ’roid-raged kidnapper. 

Don’t merely meekly wave goodbye 
to your freshly mashed trash driven away 
far away (who really knows or cares where?) 
But boldly bid Good Riddance—what a rush! 
You feel like an adrenaline-amped extreme surfer 
riding high on oceanic giants toward a lost paradise found anew. 

Robert Eugene Rubino
Issue 8, June 2021

was nominated for a creative nonfiction Pushcart Prize for “Spinning Shame Into Nostalgia” (Hippocampus, November 2016). He has published prose and poetry in various online and print literary journals, including The Esthetic Apostle, Raw Art Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Write Launch, Cathexis Northwest, High Shelf Press, Gravitas, Forbidden Peak Press, and Haunted Waters Press. He’s old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and smart enough to solve the New York Times crossword puzzle on Mondays (other days not so much). He lives in Northern California.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hollow Be Thy Name, a poem in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash (Summer 2019)

Owl House, a poem at Haunted Waters Press

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