Urban portraits 1: the trash collector


Today I begin a new series of poetry that I call, ‘‘Urban portraits’’. Even though I have spent all of my life in urban areas, I personally have a slight aversion to living in the city though and would prefer living in the country or a town within the country. I have written the poems that you will read over the next few weeks as a testimony of the life that I have spent in the city, describing all the images that I’ve seen. Enjoy and if possible, tell me what you think.

City portrait I: the trash collector

By his hand,


visions of filthy, cluttered streets and homes


are left unfulfilled.


Yesterdays meal, excavated dust, shredded paper, plastic, –


fruits of our wasteful nature –


confront him.


Without bitterness or reluctance


he hauls it away, like a modern slave


to this material empire, far beyond our hygienic, polished lids.


And in his high-rise domicile


with hourly pay deposited,


does he yearn for a better future?


Or is he cheerful and content at the trade


he considers his magnum opus,


his badge of honor,


which prosperous men mock as a standard of failure


and to which even ambition-less beings dare not aspire?




Cleansing our blemished streets


is his forte.


And in a world in want of perfection,


a humble, proud distinction.


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