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MIT student blogger Natasha B. '16

Reuse Poetry by Natasha B. '16

Giving things away

“I got it on Reuse,” people say, with the emphasis in the word falling on the re-. When I see the word elsewhere and say reuse in my head, I’m reminded of the times I said ‘UROP’ and my grandparents thought I was mispronouncing the name of a continent, or the way I refused to call class and majors by their course numbers my first few weeks here, because it felt elitist to speak in a code no one outside MIT could understand. I gave in. I now speak in numbers and nicknames and mailing lists.

Reuse is a mailing list for giving things away. People email out, describing what they’ve left where, and people scurry to claim it and carry it away. There’s a whole region of the pika basement called Reuse, where people leave what they don’t need or want, and take what they do (a good portion of my clothing comes from or goes to pika reuse. I have also obtained from it a nice floor lamp, a little bookcase, and fancy sunscreen. I have also seen some much stranger things in there.) There are a few legends of extraordinary Reuse scores, and tales of Reuse gone wrong, but most of it is pretty mundane.

The author of MIT Reuse Poetry takes Reuse emails, adds line breaks, and makes poems that are sometimes pretty, sometimes mundane, and sometimes leave you with the feeling you have looked into someone’s life through their belongings, or seen the chaos of the world through a jumble of discarded items. Some are funny, some are weird, and some make me sad but I can’t tell why. Some I scroll past without reading, like I do with most of my emails. Below, for your entertainment: five Reuse poems, straight from the tumblr.




Appearing shortly
on the bench
outside of the first floor nautical museum
is a box containing,
but not limited to:

Keyboards Dell/Apple/wireless Microsoft
Cables (various usb ones)
Juicy fruit tin (no actual gum inside)
Devil guy from Fantasia (tiny desk thing)
James dean pin
Pocket bike racer (Xbox game)
Reusable Target bag
Pocket translator mini computer thing
Star Wars republic commando (this reuse pile is cashing in on the latest Star Wars mania)
Clipboard that is also a box that clips shut with pencil compartment
2x 512mb pc3200 ddr
A thing your aunt gave you that you don’t know what it is

and get it. Post
if you take something
and save someone else the trip.
We aren’t savages



Felt on bench by 1-132
dark brown,
and the color of some humans’ flesh


A bag of ice melt

It’s a 50-pound bag
that’s about half full.


A red chair—kind of a like a Papasan, with a metal frame.
A bag of moss.
A stand fan, operational status unknown.