a box, a

once-full aspirin bottle, a

candy bar wrapper, that

tube from the paper towels, that

discarded past-due notice, a

torn up note you never delivered


these are our lives

and while we see what we do

who we talk to

tasks we complete

the people we call friends

or the emotions we have

as the definitions

of what our lives are

we can also check the garbage


look in there and

you’ll see pieces of your day

evidence of a meal

bad news being ignored

the junk mail that

didn’t used to be junk

that once-cherished busted

plate you dropped on the tile


lying in pieces

buried in worthless

debris are small

and maybe meaningless

pieces of you life

tossed in the garbage


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About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on December 8, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. This piece is awesome and so indicative of human existence and our behaviors. Some subconscious while others are conscious acts though we soon forget, while moving onto the next moment of our lives…to what we believe we can’t live without. Until it ends up in our garbage.

    Thanks for this deep and well-timed poetic expression ☆. Cheers 🙂

  2. Excellent. Provocative. Pithy. Need I say more.

  3. Some days I think I find my whole life in the trash can. Never mind just the snippets.

  4. Ironic, wouldn’t you say? Garbage pick-up comes here every Tuesday morning. But I should have a few more bits and pieces ready for the next time. Good, John, very good.

    • Thank you! 🙂 Ironic, no doubt. What we throw away says almost as much about us as what we keep or value. One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure but the opposite has to also be true since one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

  5. that’s the thing about perspectives, we all have different ones. This is refreshing. A little morose, but refreshing, as we don’t stop to look at the things in our lives that we take for granted or the pieces that we deliberately discard.

    • Thank you! 🙂 Needing more or needing less is a question that can be hard to answer with a first-world perspective and we all deal with that. And, I completely agree that we take so much for granted.

  6. It’s funny, my husband is an Archeology student and he often talks about that the majority of what Archeologists dig up is ancient trash. And it’s from what these cultures threw away we can learn about how they lived and who they were.

    • Thank you, Claire! 🙂 Archaeology would be fascinating especially since much of what is found buried is garbage. Our landfills will one day tell archaeologists a lot about our society.

  7. Interesting thought to review the end of the day or even the end of the week by what you have discarded.

  8. Wonderfully crafted poem! Simple & powerful.

  9. It’s like we try hard to find ourselves everywhere why not look at your own trash first lol. This is a very nice poem 🙂

  10. Nice. A survey of one’s life right in front of them. Simple things we take for granted often have a lot of meaning.

  11. This piece took my breath away – so powerful, I’ll surely be thinking about it throughout the day.

  12. This piece remind me of how much we used to take life for granted. Great piece John. Keep it up! 🙂

  13. Loved it. It brought a smile to my face because it hit home.

  14. Everything is taken for granted and thrown away, discarded, till it’s too late. Poignant

  15. Loved it! In a very light way it makes me re-consider how to view life; each day matters. Reminds me of a lot of quotes and it’s nice to see it in poetry form.

  16. dinnerpotsandlemondrops

    Like this…lots!

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