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The Rag Picker

by Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2006 by RDFollendoreIII


NOTE: This work has recently criticized that it is not truly poetry;

I believe that it is because it can not be properly spoken without its poetic form.

And as far as the subject is concerned, I am an American rag picker;

In that light, these thoughts were too good to throw away. 

Enjoy the combination of content beat, sound,

and visual form.


May 13, 2006


Beneath the vista of our 'green' artificial mountains

exists this prestigious evidence of humanity

rising from that 'river'

we once knew well,

flowing to from oceans

of once useful material things.

It is here that the sanctity of sanity both exits

and is utterly lost to our valueless fortunes and misfortunes. 

Abandoned rusted nails, copper pennies and precious knowledge

coming to be together, no longer with independent forms or functions,

existing now as  complex arrays of dimensional factions,

competing for space within old stainless steel boxes;

These are the containers of our anonymity,

carrying every aspect of our former personal identities;

These coffins are the collected symbols of our collective choices.


It is not easy to stand upon this immortal battleground,

the earth crushed as if it were black corn,

its refuge piled high among wind blown

messages to everyone, everything lost;

all for a white army of gull's delight,

constantly pushed ever deeper into fortifications of earth,

to be dragged and to be even then once more pressed

relentlessly by iron toothed monsters in constant motion,

back and forth, back and forth,

 enveloped in fatal smoke,

as if this subtle fog were delivering wealth's final fatal blow

to buzzing waves of flies with glowing eyes of green.


Scouring our space, empting our vehicles,

it is easy enough to throw those thin black bags

next to similar dark lumps, distant heaps.

Shiny cans of course too belong with their own kind,

so that they may rightfully reunite their clan.

They are identical, unassociated,

unrelated to any specific moment;

the mechanical receptacles of instant delights,

therefore of course there is little hesitation. 

But ahhh, those sexual supple, long necked,

dark glass, old wine bottles, empty and uncorked 

visually exhibiting their touch

 feel like a most unusual breed;

perhaps deserving special recompense.

And so in hesitation or prayer we pause,

perhaps as a single neuron arcs some quantum gap,

 and in delivering the thought

the glass to cans same fate,

we choose to walk away,

reassuring ourselves of our previous doubt,

remembering that beautiful bottles are but colored sand,

so that we may forgive its evidence of glorious faded romance,

and those moments that we shall never ever find regain.


This place is the cemetery of our past humanity.


And yet

 a single brown metal building

coexisting within this somber place,

with its dirty brown metal sign simply says,

"Too Good To Throw Away."


And so it is that within this oasis of our culture,

this scourged corner where mingles rich and the poor,

offering those final choices to be made,

though we too often ignore the validity of its message

if we allow our lives to exist as recompense to all;

This religious sanctuary,

this cathedral of human reality,

this final resting place of the flower of tangible things,

which once defined our most incredible notions

about what we once thought we were,

now that at last we have come to be what we are;

This place where we now may choose to redefine choices

exists for both our most personal demise and our redemption.


This is where we rag pickers meet, 

where we come to basic terms with who we individually are;

we benefactors of things, of change;

we the irrational biological beasts;

we predators who consume all before us,

and consign our memories to crumbling matter.


It is befitting that in a single beat of our heart

or in that last gasp of our last breath;

within the final travesty to our own biology,

lonely creatures that we too often are,

weighted down with responsibility, life or death,

we consider our final attachments with the irrational 'things'

to which we have been so intent, and so dominated;

That we must come to terms with these our most complacent immortal 'pets,'

realizing that somehow we inadvertently chose material 'things' over life,

things that were supposed to make our life better.


I can speak these thoughts as if I am a poet,

and yet knowing in the last analysis...

We poets too are rag pickers.

Picking our words.

 And once having written all of this

and in this moment self retrospection,

as I type this last part of this last line;

as I type the last period, that I know must follow, 

I understand that I too must somehow choose

one sentence that is too good to be thrown away.

  I choose the phrase about the fly with glowing eyes of green.






Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved