The Rubbish Pickers

 (two men, three rubbish pickers, night)


Those men over there are rubbish pickers.


I had no idea such a profession still existed.


Oh yes, there’s plenty of work for men like that.  This area is full of rubbish. Some days four trucks full.


My goodness. 


Yes.  For them, to exist, is to find rubbish and to pick.


I hope they wear protective gear.


Only recently have they started wearing it.  It used to be only a wet handkerchief tied over the mouth.  This was not sufficient for the more toxic detritus.  Many were infected.  They then invested in gloves and a few years later, in respirators.  As you see, it's now become a type of uniform.


Good to hear.


Well I suppose our skin functions like one enormous glove doesn’t it? 


Though it is a porous membrane.  But yes, more or less a type of glove.


Which, one could say, has instilled the sense in us of an inside and an outside and to this day has been the cause of our obsession with holes.


As eyes, mouth, nostrils, ears, anus, urethra, so on so forth.


Yes.  That somehow these openings are magic portals to another world.  To an inner place.  Even to a better place.   A place protected.


Deep within.


That magic utterances come out of.  Prophecy issues from these holes from somewhere deep within.  And these utterances, these pronouncements, share in that vitality ascribed to the hot and functioning vital organs found there and their inner processes; in short, to life.


Yes, yes, I see.  It is what artists like you and I live for.  These pronouncements, these utterances, seeming somehow so rare, so precious like the word of God. 


Yes.  While on the outside, our bodies, our poor bodies, with their glove of skin, continue to function just as those rubbish pickers function, searching and finding, picking and sifting the rubbish of the world.  That the more vital sections of the world's efflorescence may continue to function with ever more efficiency.


Well said.


Which beggars the question, are we then more or less rubbish ourselves, having an external form, exposed to the world, an external film which is seen to protect a better world within?  Should this worldly dross be once and for all expunged and the teeming life within at last become of this world and coalesce into a type of heavenly organ, working for all ?


Well now, that is sheer nonsense.  We are neither what you say or anything other than biology provides for us.  A self-correcting structure.  Which self-cleanses and expels certain extraneous matter which has been processed for the energy it contains and which then may be extracted.


Ah, now we are at the heart of the thing.  We are the rubbish pickers.  What now no longer serves for food or inspiration is soon swept up and cast aside. It seems to have no further rights on the earth.  It has become more or less, dead matter.


If you say.


But to keep energy vital, this is the object of our body’s interiority.  This is why, over time, the body too has opted first for a wet handkerchief in the form of lungs if you will, and finally to safety goggles, the gels of our eyes and so on until finally the ultimate protective and sanitary device was trialed.


Oh yes?


Well you see for yourself.  The armour those rubbish pickers wear.  Which protects, no,  guarantees pure inwardness. What need to plant or harvest such qualities outside ourselves?  Why not, in faith of sorts, trust the glove which keeps us safe?  Why seek to pick and poke at all seeming deadness, advance life beyond ourselves, where we would only disappear into the whole?




You see what a difficult job those rubbish pickers have.  That’s something we never talk about.  How these brave men, with only this modicum of protection, must draw upon an element of even greater import.  They must rely upon their moral fibre to determine what type of item or body is to be pierced by their rubbish pick and once and for all, taken out of circulation, as they say.


Yes, as you say and now I  see it for myself.  There is a type of judgement or moral sifting inherent in the rubbish picker’s trade.  It can’t be easy to decide what shall stay and what must go.  I’d never dreamt of such responsibility.


Well don’t look now but here they come.


Oh yes here they are.  They cut heroic figures, these rubbish men.  Covered head to toe in their protective get up.  They're looking at us very strangely.

 (Enter rubbish pickers.)


Stand up!


What did you say?


Stand up.  And you sir, up, on your feet.


What is the meaning of this?


You see this sword? 




And when shall it go up again?


When the rubbish pickers are avenged!


(The two men are run through with rubbish picks and die.)