It is not my intention to post a load of poems on this blog, but I am currently working on translations of the Argentinian poet Joaquín O. Giannuzzi (1924-2004). None of his work, as far as I know, has yet been published in English. This poem reminded me of the cartoneros of Buenos Aires, an impoverished, nocturnal tribe who make a meagre living by collecting and selling discarded cardboard and other rubbish left out on the street.
Incidentally, ashas pointed out, the poem was written 30 years before the cartoneros became an everyday sight, but the ideas in the poem linked to my own memories of them, so I added the images.
GARBAGE AT DAYBREAK
At dawn today, out in the street
possessed by a kind
of sociological curiosity
I rummaged with a stick in the surreal world
of garbage bins.
I realized that things don’t die but are murdered.
I saw outraged papers, fruit peel, glass
of an unknown colour, strange and tortured metals,
rags, bones, dust, inexplicable substances
that rejected life. My attention was caught by
a doll’s torso, with a dark stain,
a sort of rosy meadow death.
It seems that culture consists in
the thorough tormenting of matter
and pushing it through an implacable intestine.
Almost a comfort to reflect that not even this excrement
is obliged to abandon the planet.