We are damnifacados: homeless, junkies,
people deem us less than human.
When you pass us on a hectic street, we’re resting with
backs to the wall asking for mercy, spare change –
you look away from our weathered faces,
we feel disgrace, in our soiled clothes, our tired eyes.
We gather now by the art museum, tents dot the hillside –
there’s nudity, needles in green grass where your children used to play
you stay away – we understand, we’re not a pretty sight
but please, peek into our eyes, tenderly touch our filthy faces,
ask us, “Are we human?”
Note: This poem is inspired by Damnificados by J.J. Wilson, the novel I’m currently reading. Damnificados is a Spanish word that translates to “victims” or “damaged” in English (please correct me if I’m wrong). This excellent novel is a blend of sci-fi, magical realism, and politics, and it tells the story of downtrodden people who take claim of an empty building and attempt to build a utopian community.