the filthy-bearded man greets me
at six a.m., looking for a friend
he speaks gibberish, not knowing
where he is, how he arrived
at my steps, as i step back
he’s unmasked, skinny like an
old, crusted scarecrow with
scared eyes and smeared jeans
Damnificados is based on the real-life story of the occupation of the “Tower of David” in Caracas, Venezuela, during the country’s housing shortage. The tower is an unfinished skyscraper abandoned in Venezuela’s capital city in 1994 because of another national crisis (this one having to do with banking).
The woman asks me for ten dollars – she demands it
I’m reluctant, standing in a pock-marked city,
but feeling pity for her, as she frantically talks
her eyes yellow like harvest moons
her voice shrieks like an urban banshee –
the realities of poverty and addiction,
the rich getting fatter off broken backs.
I reach into my wallet, hand her a ten-dollar bill
she hugs me + hurries away, vanishing into the night,
and as I walk home, I wonder if I’ll ever need to
ask for my ten dollars back
(Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash)
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.