Regular Poem: Trash

6 Apr

When I say
I mean it

(I say things I don’t mean
for disparate reasons:
my tongue panics
or shifts gears before my brain does
or–sometimes–I thought
I meant it
but then realized I didn’t–
a millisecond late and $17,000 short)

but not in
any derogatory way.

I possess a healthy dose of self-loathing
what I mean is–

You can give me your sympathy or encouragement or whatever–

And if you say the right encouragement–
something laced probably
with your own self-loathing–
I will accept it
and regard it with affection,
although I may have to
retreat from eye contact with you
so I don’t cry at the look
you’re giving me
that means you love me enough to see past
the trash
or maybe you never saw the trash
or maybe you think your trash is worse than mine.

But that’s the thing I was trying to say–
I say trash because
it feels accurate:

something thrown away, crumpled, useless, smelling up the place,
foul, vile, dirty.

And that’s what you’ve got going for you
when you’re the chief sinner,
and no good thing dwelleth within you, etc.

But the thing about trash–
the thing about this trash, anyway–
is that I’m no longer trash proper
although I have a trash nature.

I’ve been recycled
or I’m in the sanctifying process of being recycled–
a piece of trash with a lot of predestined works to do–
but instead of just becoming a really thin plastic bottle
for a Diet Coke somewhere down the line,
I’m being renewed and remade to glorify a God who loved the
entire dump enough
to have sacrificed the only One of us who wasn’t garbage
so I didn’t have to just
languish in the dumpster forever,
blind and stinking and rotting.

I maintain
I’m still essentially trash.
But trash that’s not trash.
Trash with a purpose.

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