The night before trucks come

roaring to get their fill, all one can

see through shaded window panes

on dimly lit streets are silouhettes

of heads focused on TV screens.

Night time marauding buccaneers

swoop down with flashlights instead of

swords prowling for treasure in the trash.

Some scavengers love to tinker,

repairing washing machines,

toasters, lamps, lawn mowers,

snow blowers, bicycles and

tricycles to make an easy buck,

others are cherry-pickers

searching for vintage hats and coats,

candle moulds, coffee grinders,

Danish modern, rusty Tonka Toys,

and ephemera like a 1969 Life magazine

with pictures of astronauts on the moon.

Dumpster divers have been known to score

a 1942 air raid warden’s helmet, old Zither,

xylophone, bent trombone, Waterford

crystal chandelier, box of 8-tracks

and a string-less Stratocaster.

Artists also search for readymade

objet trouvė, raw material for creations

like Duchamp’s Dadaism that won acclaim

for pictures of a urinal, bottle racks

and snow shovels or Picasso’s bike saddle

with bull’s head handlebars.

Junk art is here to stay.

Cops look the other way knowing

pickers ease the load of garbage men,

recycling stuff we have too much of filling

dumps with stuff that lasts a thousand years.

Curious joggers run by, neighborhood

dogs yap and yowl into the night air

hoping to scare away nocturnal invaders.

Milton P. Ehrlich