Six Shifts at the VISY Recycling Plant, Heidelberg

1 June 2014

(i)

Let me introduce you to Chute.
Chute is problematic, has four or five personas
a first version of Iron Man perhaps but anti-hero,
more Alex from A Clockwork Orange than
Gough Whitlam; the easy political duality
of the seventies lost, left/right margins
smudged now by an arm’s length of business.
Chute’s business is eating shit.
his great cuckoo throat opens
he employs automata to feed him,
possessing no arms, no legs himself.
just mouth & iron stomach.

(ii)

Chute says to the new automaton,
Feed me you fucker.
Chute is blunt, 21st century to the point
no time wastage, earplugs can’t block out
his brains’ iron bile – sirens’ clamour,
a stop/start mythology of homesickness
affects most automata,
Don’t jab yourself on a syringe, dickhead
There’s too many of you slack cunts
On Work cover as it is got it?

Chute issues – rubber hardened gloves,
eye protection, long sleeved shirts
& a constitution so Conan, but meaner.

(iii)

Chute has a twin brother, Belt.
Belt is a selective mute because he
has only a vast black rubber tongue.
He has no throat, only a slick muscle
for moving rubbish. Belt sustains Chute,
carries condiments to the ill tempered Titan.
You’re like Polyphemus Chute, so fuckin’ anal!
Some day some cunts gonna poke your eye out!

Chute says to Belt that afternoon,
That new guy’s fuckin’ fast eh?
Put him on glass & tell the prick
To watch out for needles.

(iv)

On his first shift
these are some of the things
the new automaton feeds Chute;
soiled nappies, a mutilated fish
carcass, tin cans (air fresheners/baked beans),
two used condoms (not tied), a car battery,
frying pan, homemade bong, dead kitten
& A Dictionary of Catholic Australia 2000.
Chute is impressed but can’t let him know.
Hey, shit for brains. You almost missed
that broken triple goddess. Gimme it!

The new automaton doesn’t hesitate,
plucks the brandy bottle off Belt’s tongue
& throws it down Chute’s hole.
Ah that’s good, keep it coming newbie.
That’s our environmental policy – eat shit & die!

(v)

Chute says to the Newbie,
Don’t touch that red button –
It’ll shut down Belt completely &
Waste my fucking time, got it?

The automaton understands
these push button people –
how did Dickens describe them?
‘The melancholy mad elephants.’
Listens to the depressed languor
of Chute’s infernal machinations.
& if you switch Belt off, then
Hopper & Extractor & Grader &
Forklift & Bin get all pissed off at me, get it?
If you want this job, don’t fuck up!

(vi)

On his second shift, three Buddha’s
come down Belt, one plaster head only,
one smashed nose & one perfect stone.
To Newbie it seems someone’s thrown out
their enlightenment, complete with river stones,
shiny as soft drink. He asks Stacey, thenewlydivorced
40somethingmotherofthreeteenagersescapeeofaviolent
relationshipknownhimsinceIwaseleventhoughtIcouldn’t
copewithouthismoneybuthereiamdoyoulikeelvis?

Can we take this stuff?
Sure, whatever you find is yours, she replies
stuffing shampoo, lipstick & deodorant
into a plastic bag away from Chute’s mouth.
Who’s gonna give a shit? This stuff’s all junk right?
Now if only I could find some money, even twenty bucks!

Newbie snatches a glance at Chute, then chucks
the stone Buddha by his feet – Stacey smiles.
This newbie’s catching on quick,
I wonder if he’s married?

(vii)

On his third shift, used syringes
pour down the line, maybe a grand’s
worth of little pleasure rockets, blasted
into the arms, feet & arses of drug automata.
We’re supposed to stop the line if there’s
heaps of these but fuck it! I ain’t
, says Stacey
pocketing some red nail polish.
Give them to me Newbie, snaps Needle Bin
the mighty midget of the recycling plant.
Ah thanks mate keep ‘em coming, I need
me hit of crispy plastic & fine steel, cheers.

Newbie digs out thirty or forty syringes
& feeds them to Needle Bin.
Hey fuckhead, don’t forget me, roars
Chute at Newbie’s ear.
That’s right slackarse I’m watching you.
Now hurry up & gimme that silver-plated
Coffee set.

(viii)

The fourth shift is all voodoo.
Stacey plucks a plastic bag choked
with white feathers & chicken legs
off Belt’s greasy altar.
Ah fuck look at this shit, she bellows
above the machinery’s dull curse
as Newbie snatches up a green bag,
a black furry tail hanging over its lip.
Jesus, here’s the mother of that kitten.
Dumps the ex-feline down Chute’s
pitted & scarred maw. A flayed copy
of the Good News Bible descends too.
The iron whale stifles a yawn,
Two months ago we had a fucking dead
Sheep come down Belt, had to stop the line & all.
What sick cunt would do that eh Newbie?
Put a fuckin’ dead ewe in the recycle bin?
Here’s the Polaroid, stunk the place
to high heaven. Belt can still taste
that rotten fucker on his breath!

The automaton can only listen
to Chute’s story, his hands moving
faster & faster; time’s frame slowed down—
more Neo than Newbie.

(ix)

This is like the fucking Matrix isn’t Stacey?
yells Newbie across Belt’s thick distance.
Yeah, my son’s into that shit, I don’t understand
It meself. Too many fucking computers.
Well this factory looks like Zion, machines
Control us & I don’t even think it’s real
,
replies Newbie, skipping bottle-tops
into Chute’s sentinel gullet.
Yeah mate & who do ya think
You are? Keanu fucking Reeves?

The brown eyes bounce back,
her electronic signal crystal as she
snakes a mobile phone recharger
down Agent Chute’s throat.
Maybe I am the One, Newbie shoots
back at her, come to free humanity
From our slavery to the machines
.
Stacey points two used corncobs:
organic 8MM Beretta’s spit at Newbie’s
chest, Listen darling, the only thing that frees
Me from this nightmare is a bourbon
& coke after work & a good hard root!

Chute chuckles loudly at this, Belt’s tongue
narrows ever so slightly & Needle Bin smiles;
shows a row of used syringes as false teeth.
Newbie pauses, stretches, sacrum popping
like a spray can run over by Forklift.
Maybe it’s more like Terminator,
maybe we’re already defeated?
Newbie, don’t talk shit to me. I’ve got
an eight hundred dollar phone bill
that my fifteen year old daughter’s racked up
calling all her friend’s on their mobiles.
No fucking machine made her do that, did they?

Newbie looks across at Stacey, her piston
arms flying, her eyes chemical spillage red,
her combustive nature dwarfs science fiction.

(x)

The fifth shift is all abject.
If any dead animals come down Belt
You’ve gotta stop the line & take a photo

yells Chute to Newbie, as a flayed rabbit’s
head burrows down his gob, its fur/flesh
divide evident. Subject minus its culture.
Why take a photo?
Because it fucking lasts longer
retorts Chute
getting a chuckle out of Stacey, her
G-string predominant as she bends over
& scoops up a headless china doll.
We had a fucking hand come down once, eh Chute
she shouts back over Belt’s mute litany.
Pigs had to come & everything. White gloves.
You know replies Newbie scrabbling
at a used condom, its liquid defilement
contained by its miniature Gordian Knot,
That if a hand is too badly decomposed to recover
Fingerprints, forensics will often skin it & make a glove.
I saw one at the museum. Preserved.
You know what I really hate Newbie, used meds.
Those dirty bitches that throw them into the recycle bin.
How’s that for fucking stupidity?

Newbie doesn’t answer, drags a rotten food bag
into Chute’s maw, frisbees a syringe into Needle Bin.
I don’t think I’ll write a poem about this Stace,
I don’t think this is very romantic.
Fuck romance,
she replies, can you cover for me, Darl
I have to piss.

(xi)

The sixth shift is guilt.
Hey look at this Stace?
Handcuffs + red rubber dildo =?
Here Newbie gimme the handcuffs, my son’ll love them!
What about the dildo?
Fuck that, who knows where it’s been?
If you two want to open up a Club X,
Then do it on your own time, ya lazy cunts!

Chute barks, swallowing the dildo,
his deep throat satisfied.

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