Misguided mixes and trash-picked poetry

Sarah James

I spent last Sunday driving around in circles, windows rolled down and eyes fixed intently on the curbsides of Kent. Among discarded couches, microwaves and old toilet bowls, there is treasure.

Garbage-picking fuels my intrinsic voyeuristic nature. I do not trash-pick because I need a new television. I trash-pick because I have a morbid curiosity about the discarded. When I trash-pick, I look for the personal: poetry journals, mix tapes and old photographs.

I got hooked on the “sport” last summer when I stumbled upon the trash of my friend’s recently evicted neighbor. Among the broken lampshades and strips of stained carpet, I struck gold: a mix CD titled: “I Miss You, Suzanne. Love Always, Jordan.”

That night, I listened to the mix and tried to decode Jordan’s intentions for making the CD. I became obsessed with figuring out his feelings. Did Jordan discard the disc because he lost all hope in Suzanne? Or did Suzanne trash the mix because Jordan had terrible taste in music? And what if Jordan was a girl?

I will never understand someone who intentionally follows a Neutral Milk Hotel song with a remix of the Pussycat Dolls, or someone who likes Mountain Goats and Seal simultaneously. I’d like to think that if I was to make a mix tape, the recipient would know exactly how I felt.

This Sunday, I uncovered an entire notebook of lovesick poetry. Every poem was addressed to a man named Che, written by a woman named Sherry in 1991. Each one is carefully written in cursive, signed and dated. From February to March, they get more and more depressing as her love for Che becomes more and more psychotic. I can’t read more than one at a time: “My heart started beating, and then I lost my mind.”

In addition to the trash-picked poetry, I found a box of slides chronicling the summer of 1977 at Towner’s Woods. Conversely, I also discovered a box of medical slides documenting various instances of child abuse and neglect.

I cannot help but get angry when I see boxes of clothes sitting out on the curbside. Don’t people know that you can donate these things to the people that need them? Charities often pick up bags of used clothing on designated days, and there are plenty of clothing drop-boxes around this city. It amazes me how some can be so wasteful while others will drive aimlessly around neighborhoods for the sake of recycling.

If you have information regarding Che and Sherry, Jordan or Suzanne, feel free to let me know.

Sarah James is a sophomore public relations major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]