Inspired by Waste-Site Stories: The Recycling of Memory edited by Brian Neville, Johanne Villeneuve
When I see the greasy cardboard
The smell of pizza
Bringing fond memories
I forget, I forget
Do you remember how good it feels?
To have aluminum and plastic filled with sugar
The American ritual
It’s only natural to have with pizza-
Says the bright digital advertisement
Colors carefully chosen to please my eye
It’s movie night
Suddenly I remember my old TV
And my old box of VHS tapes
Did I throw those away?
I forget, I forget
Oh, yes, I’m full
I satisfied more than a basic need
But look at my waste?
I’ll just throw it away in the right place
Is that enough? To only think of this moment?
Are we programmed this way?
An urge to defend our right to box as many pizzas as we want?
AMERICA – My right to create, sort, and forget waste!
Everyone is saturated in it.
Advertisements that play on memories and nostalgia?
The 2nd, capitalist desire?
I could conceptualize this idea of waste
Say what it means and fantasize less of it
But how foolish
When what we we call excess waste is really unfairly distributed resources of inevitable excess
We can only fantasize we are making less waste
Because we can forget, sort, and throw away our own waste
I don’t have to know any more than the information given to me
I don’t have to look past the bins I throw my trash in
Is this kind of entrenched programming reversible, interrogable overtime?
In a place like mine?
Will there ever not be excess in waste?
Beneath this first world “heaven”
Then we can only- no, we must sort and move it around, shove it down.
If we can’t even do something about it…or is it we can’t even talk about it?
Is waste so personal and complex for so long that we need to forget?
Stuck awaiting judgement in our own purgatory? Swimming in our own ideologies?
It isn’t like there aren’t any innovators
It isn’t like something as pure as technology hasn’t brought new efficiencies
It isn’t like our desire to be less wasteful hasn’t brought better infrastructure
But how do we talk…
About the evidence, the remnants of a ghost waiting to be seen?
So easy to not paint in our memories
Like it’s not ours
Like we’re dealing with trash in someone else’s yard
But it is ours
An extension of ourselves no matter how far above it we think we are
I need to pull myself down,
See the depth of my involvement
And the moments I have chosen to forget.
“…waste…is the unstable position in which purity seesaws with impurity, value with non-value, memory with forgetting. The moment it describes however is never entirely accomplished.” (102)
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