A/N: This is a review of one of the scenes in the prose poem The Devious Trash Can by S.M. Bednarz. The first part of this text is his work, and I am in no way creditable for it. If you’re interested in anything else of his writing you can find it for free at:
The Poem The Devious Trash Can:
I wonder what it’s like to be a trash can. A can of trash. It’s standing to my right. As I write this I can only make its crimson colour out of my peripheral vision but that’s enough to keep tabs on it. And I can’t help but wonder. Of course the obvious reaction is to feel disguised, to feel used by mostly everyone, who past. Am I talking about what it’s like to be used for trash?
But yet again one has to wonder at the wisdom a trash can has. It knows all the things you threw away. It knows you and everyone around you on a deeply personal level. It knows about your habits and interests: about what you like to eat and what you don’t like to eat, what you where unhappy with and how often you pay your bills. The trash can knows more about you then any other furniture in your house. There’s a school trash can sitting right there in front of me, red and rectangular about the height of my knee caps or just beneath them, with a transparent bag folding much too far over its edge like someone was in a hurry to ready it.
I dear not speak ill of this trash can, though in all honesty it’s tickling the part of my brain that is stuck in my past with production design. Still as shapeless as it is, it is not the furniture I would pick to trash talk. Ironically enough. Because that simple can knows about every failed school report. Every grade and test. Every paper I turned in that my teacher hated, every love note I ever sent that was ill received. It knows how often you sharpen your pencils. It’s probably listings to me talking in class. In fact it’s probably staring at me right now.
It knows an entire classroom. Perhaps even better than the teachers. Perhaps even better than the students know themselves. You can tell allot about a person by its thrash. This trash can knows that. One would hope it might guard my secrets well. But how naive am I that I might trust a trash can?”
My favourite part of the poem is the following:
“But yet again one has to wonder at the wisdom a trash can has. It knows all the things you threw away. It knows you and everyone around you on a deeply personal level. It knows about your habits and interests: about what you like to eat and what you don’t like to eat, what you where unhappy with and how often you pay your bills.”
My thoughts behind the scene:
I like this part because it’s the one, which I think has the most energy in it. There’s a certain rhythm in the part found in the repetition of the words “it knows”, but the repetition is broken often enough that it doesn’t become static. Instead the repetition creates a rhythm, almost music, in the poem, while maintaining a feeling that we’re not going to be able to guess the next sentence.
I also like the structure of the scene. There’s only a single long sentence in the scene, and it’s the one, which it ends with. This is well-done, because we feel like we can take a short pause to absorb after each scene. I don’t believe that this part of the poem would have worked as well if it started out with a long sentence and then followed it with sentences of medium length.
Finally I like the content of the scene. The bare notion that a trash can knows my deepest, darkest secrets is bizarre, but the poem gives the thought a certain kind of logic. As I read it, I was mentally making a list of everything I’ve ever thrown out and wondered if that alone would be able to tell someone what kind of person I am. A fascinating, albeit slightly uncomfortable, thought indeed.