For the Homeless & Damnificados (a poem)

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?”

(Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash)

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.

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