Concrete, chipped and pitted, worn in grooved paths where feet fall, flows between brick, periodically broken by the stems of metal flowers, lamp posts now sleeping on the edge of dawn. Without the pools they provide, the world is in black and white, waiting for the sun to come color. They call this the jungle.
It is Wednesday, you can tell by the smell. Beneath the brake dust and exhaust lies exotic spices that come from the burst embryos of trash bags. Second story dwellers, conserving energy, drop them like hydrogen bombs out window, silently so as not to let you know it is coming before the whistling grabs your attention, turning your head just in time for the splash eruption.
Men will come collect what makes it into the dumpster, sometimes even scooping the spills in flat headed shovels, tossing it in to crush, cart off to some place we don't see, monuments to our waste. Our past. Where we have been as we rush head on, grasping hands first into the future, leaving them to figure what to do with it when we get there.
This early the streets are silent except the scrape, bang of the trash man, grinding gears, grind to a halt, grinding. Cars weave around his slow progress, stirring wind in their wake. Hiss, hiss, the buses brake and clang as they clip sewer caps. And my foot steps rap.
By a corner alley cut through between buildings one sack, split, spilt out, a baby doll lays half hanging head and arm staring back with one button eye. Rice crawls across her from some days left overs, but she smiles in stitching. A toy too young, too old, too yesterday to some kid discarded.
Checking my watch, I jay walk the street and find a seat on the bus stop bench, snatching a passing piece of newspaper blowing down the sidewalk to catch up on the news from three days ago. Grind, hiss, bang. Grind, hiss, bang, bang. The dumpster comes to a stop across the street, disembarking her waste management warriors in blue coveralls to scoop and schlep the mess.
One man, bald, mops his head with a red kerchief and blows his nose, then bends to one knees drawing my eyes. Curious, I watch him fish the refuse then tenderly lift the body in his hands. He dusts her off, gentle, the whites of his teeth cracking wide catch the first glint of sun. Unzipping, he tucks the baby doll inside where it will be warm and safe until he gets home.
The bus abruptly blocks my view, its doors peeling open inviting me in and I take a new seat and watch through the window as they load the bags, empty the cans and we pull away. Who will get his treasure? Will they smile, like he, in gratitude at something new, to them, not caring where its been?
Crinkling, I fold the paper back in a neat rectangle and scan the stock market listings as if they mattered, more than passing the time until my stop.
for Theme Thursday and 10DOM