Your Most Valuable Weapon

You are so much more
than the numbers and letters
they use to classify you:
you have a voice.

And the dates and the times
and the names and the lines
don’t make a sound…
unless you shout them aloud.

Even when they join the dots
set up by their tabloid masters,
you can erase the lines
with a single breath.

I know we get it wrong time after time,
but can you blame me for believing
that, deep down, this is all we want —
to hear and to be heard?

Social animals,
hungry for the truth.

Too many times
have they overlooked your ability,
have they abused your adaptability,
have they trampled on your dignity,
as you exercised your right to remain silent.

Your strength is in your words:
the vehicle of your thoughts,
the ally of your actions,
the commander of your future.

Be brave with your words.

When ignorance and fear battle against empathy,
they are your most valuable weapon.

The Unclean

The harmonica wheezes
through layers of dirt,
but nobody hears.

The putrid air nips at our heels.
On we trot.

The chill battles with our scarves,
But we chalk up their privilege:
blankets, books, coffee, cigarettes.

Probably a pile of pennies,
a horde of the hardest hallucinogenics.

And when it is us who are dead on doorsteps,
imploring divine mercy, beseeching sacred protection,
it will be too late to realise:
Our leprosy cannot be healed,
Our devils will not be cast out:

We are the unclean.