Lady Ga-Dumpsta-Diver


Part One
I prostrate myself at the bottom of the wet dumpster
It's a form of worship
Exalt praises of glory in the silence of heretics
an act of amends for the crimes of my culture
you can hear the cosmic applause
back in time
ahead in time
It's the scene of a crime —
discarded apples, strawberries, a bruised peach —
cos anything taken for free in late stage industrial capitalism
is a criminal activity
Stealing, or trespass, breaking & entering
‘cos we're supposed to trade our lives to just BE here
and i just wanna BE Here
And the fact that I’m driving a car is a hypocritical complication
for another poem
driving with my knees
cos I got my hands shoved up against heating vents
defrosting frozen fingers that ache as they thaw
from picking the icy dumpster's pockets full of wet produce
and I give thanks for the car, cos i hate cars, but love my car
Paradox — more holy to a hippie than hypocrisy

A produce dumpster's cleaner than you think
No half eaten pizza crusts, no napkins nobody blew their nose on
Just organic produce
flattened boxes, me, maybe some raccoon family
down there in the darkness
I drove down the mountain for this bounty from the world
Climb up, do a modest gymnast's flip and land atop it all
in this frigid winter Boulder dumpster behind Wild Oats
soon to be Whole Foods, on it's way to morph to Amazon
land boots-first on shaky layers
squat to balance on stiff cardboard steps
Grab organic broccoli from Mexico
tomatoes from Argentina, apples from New Zealand
Stand here with me and peer down —
just follow the light of my headlamp
There’s cantaloupes, ripe and only slightly dented
three boxes of very expensive mushrooms, untouched
seven boxes of asparagus — in December! —
No wonder the earth is melting!
Uneven steps make stages to stand
separate vegetables and fruits into levels
according to archaeological values of time
deposited and waiting
for me.
for you.

Last week
I climbed down into the almost-empty, echoing dumpster
lured by a deep vision of three dozen/ dozen eggs.
Squatting at the bottom,
cadaverous, dumbed with dirt like coal in the earth
wondering at this sacrificial offering from unseen hands, and
how I’m gonna lift all these fragile full egg cartons
up over my 5 foot 3 inch head
and then lower them
to the level of parking lot
on the other side of this tall metal food coffin wall
without smashing the fuck out of 'em?
Dude in a black hoodie exits the bright warm store
and enters my world, eclipse of the night
Tosses 2 big black plastic garbage bags
into the blind dumpsters' inky corner without looking
They sail up towards the stars, reverse direction, and land
heavy with squish, on top of my crouching form
My glasses pop off my face,
land somewhere in darkness among the eggs
"OW! Fuck, man!"
scaring the living shit out of the produce worker
"Oh my god! I’m so sorry! Are you o.k.?"
he turns back, let's the heavy door slam behind us
"No, i'm not o.k.!"
"Oh, wow — well, what can i do?"
“Just grab these eggs, man.
help me get 'em outta here."
And he does
I raise boxes up in my hands
salutation to the earth goddess of food rescue
and he takes them from me, a stacked pile at a time
gently sets them on the ground beside my car
over and over
returns to give me a hand out
I leave the lot with one black eye
four bunches of asparagus, two cantaloupes, fifteen apples
and one hundred forty-four unbroken eggs
for my community
Saved like a Kansas baptist in a river
while he stands there at midnight holding 2 cartons of eggs
for his family
his tip from my endless heathen slush fund
cos you gotta circulate the prosperity
in the land of the free
the home of the brave

Part Two
In Garbageland we stand
finding dignity in this wasteland
We refuse the command to control
take refuge in the refuse
Free the contraband
it's all free in no-man’s-land
Private property means
everything’s owned
or it’s for sale
maybe it’s on sale
get it retail, wholesale
get it free
God’s portion
diving past razor blades
making our own mistakes
with the monetary monotony of spending and wasting
All the hungry stores wanting more
my people buy new shit to drive to the dump
they take regular dumps
wanting more
All of it pumped, yanked, torn
from the Mother
Civilization takes us all down
wanting more
We’re urban foragers
waste not, want not
surplus and distressed food
A second harvest, anyone?
Forget about hedge funds, just hop a hedge
let the small thrills take you
It’s a hunter-gatherer renaissance
pre-civilized and post-civilized
Imagine diving into abundance like that
trusting freedom
climbin' in not buyin' in
Just help yourself in The Land of Away
tearing open that first bag of trash is our first step to freedom.

Part Three
Ninety billion pounds of food is wasted every day here
— we just want a little taste —
But these people are so scared to share
they stare through the poor
and put locks on their dumpster doors
Who finds satisfaction
when every transaction
goosesteps to the rules set by money—
You think this rat race is alright, honey?
I say we need a rat strike!
Here, against the masters of production
Now, before disasters of consumption
take us down
So I’m divin in under the command to control
and it’s all stolen, but I’m rollin with what’s out there
When they clear those market shelves, I’m a garbage elf
poppin the tops off the forbidden boxes
I dance with Pandora
to even the score up
In a culture that defines itself by what it buys
what if I’m not buyin'?

In my dream, we strip Capitalism bare,
leave him tied to a cold radiator, there
in his empty house
remembering Nature
Seize the blade of empire and peel it to the root
live on dumpstered fruit
What if you’re not buying?

Imagine diving into the garbage
it’s sweeter than you think
Just go round the back of the store
instead of the front door
and you’re Free
One stop shopping at the curbs in the burbs
or the alleys of the cities
where everything that sucks about Capitalism
is reversed when you score
Metabolize the sins of
More! More! More!
And dumpster diving is evolution
cos this system can deal with every solution —
protests, elections, terrorism
except for people who ask for less
let’s ask for less
Structurally adjust that
merchants of commerce who never negotiate
World traders who trade the whole holy world
for the beat up rubble, for a blow up bubble
that expands forever in a clever trick
of Viagra economics
But that’s astronomic bull
'cos this planet is already full
and I am your equity
and you are my social security
and the only savings there is
is what we can do for this world
And the truth is
I have an account here, at the dump
I’m accounting here, for the Earth
and we want an answer
past the stuff —
How much abundance is enough for you people?
What does it mean to be full-filled?
So hungry for justice
we spend mercy like money
I’m a reverse vending machine —
I give it all away
Subvert the curse of scarcity
so the whole world’s transformed
to Robin Hood’s hood
and our Age of Discovery
What’s under that lid?
Cos I’m in recovery
Engage the cages
Free free trade
Bust open those closed dumpsters
and then give it all away.

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