Life From the Bottom || Ryan Curcio

I’ve grown to like living at the bottom of a dumpster in an alley outside of Sizzlers. It’s not as unpleasant as one might think—there’s never a shortage of food, and people can’t call you trash if they are inside the dumpster with you, because, clearly, they’d be insulting themselves too. I mean, Christ on a Christmas tree farm, if you are going to hop inside a bin for disposal, at least have the etiquette down. I can’t tell you how many times a poor sucker thought they were too good for this place.

“It’s too hot in here,” they’d say. “I’ve got a headache from the awful smell,” they’d insist.

I’d respond, “Dive down into the crap and hunt for a near empty ibuprofen bottle. I came across one not two days ago.”

Goddamn, no one can take care of their self anymore. Here I am in a world of surplus, and all I hear is whining from those who avoid self-sufficiency.

Before I climbed into this oversized metal bin designed to house “waste,” people would call me trash all the time. I once lived in a tenement building that had garbage piled to the ceiling, suffocating the gasping walls, so I’m used to this sort of environment. Folks most likely thought of me as a form of refuse because I smelled funny due to the water company shutting off the hot water after I stopped paying the bill, which caused me to shower less since it was January in Maine. My former living space was just a larger dumpster, once you get down to the brass tacks of it all.

I really love it down here. I no longer have to worry about bathing; there aren’t visitors who will be offended by my mildewy stench. I don’t even have to walk to the bathroom—just gotta let loose in the corner of this rubbish heap, away from the side I like to sleep on. Total freedom. I often get unintentionally wet when someone throws some liquid filled container—lukewarm gravy is the worst—down into the shallow pit of discarded items. Eh, it’s all right, I guess. I just take a slice of stale bread and swipe it through my greasy hair to spread the gravy across. A person’s gotta eat. Everything I didn’t expect to fall into my space is a luxury.

What I think I like most about my filth-filled home is that no one can call me ignorant or uneducated anymore. I’m not around to hear them say it, anyway. I sit down here and read old newspapers and half-torn books, interpreting the world in my own way, without collegiate minds pestering me about how “un-woke” I am. Many people assume that all the have-nots are too stupid to form opinions. Those people can go suck a hot fart, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve managed to dig through the dishevelment of random, unwanted articles, and turned out with a pen low on ink and some faded receipts. This is how I wrote this note in the first place. I hope someone finds it and understands why I don’t consider myself homeless. I have everything I need, clothes (old, but in okay condition), food (rotten, but unfinished), and a layer of sunned, bed-like trash to keep me warm. You might think to ask yourself if you do. I hear a truck riding up to clasp onto this dumpster with its hydraulic lift, preparing to haul me off to my next home: a place out in the fields and hills, speckled with other undesired things.


Ryan Curcio is a senior at CCSU. He studies English with a minor in Writing. He was a contributing writer for Trill! Magazine, and is currently an intern reporter for the New Britain Herald. His work has appeared in undergraduate literary magazines, on, The Wagon Magazine, and Crack the Spine. He was a finalist for the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize.

Originally published in the FALL 2018 edition of the Helix.


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