Wrong Shade

In the biting cold I walk,

Barefoot and in tattered attire,

My dirty pants, ripped at the knees,

Folded at the waist and tied to my body

By an old and dirty rope coming apart,

This is me, this is morning,

This is who I am.

 

I smile at you and you look away.

Are my teeth the wrong shade of white?

Or do you think I want to borrow some money?

 

I pass you in the streets and you twist your nose.

Is my stench the wrong shade of sweet?

Or don't you want to share oxygen with the local bum?

 

I want to buy some food from you,

But you chase me away.

Call me names.

Call my mama names.

Say, "Look at you!

When they coined the word 'tragedy' they had you in mind!"

Is my money the wrong shade of brown?

 

I love you.

Everyone in the world, I love you.

Why do you want me to be afraid of you?

Is my love a little too dirty for you?

 

Why can't you look at me when i speak to you?

Don't i bleed same as you when you hurl a rock at me?

Doesn't my stomach growl same as yours when I'm hungry?

Aren't you going to die some day same as me?

 

Is it that you hate me?

Is it that you are afraid of me?

Is it that you are guilty that you don't want anything to do with me?

Or is it that you simply don't care?

 

I see you.

Through my bloodshot eyes, I see you.

As I shiver in my tatters on an early morn I see you,

Hurrying to work,

Ignoring me,

And feeling OK about it because you went to a children's home on the weekend,

During a higly publicized charity event.

 

You smiled at the children,

Took pictures with them as you passed them stuff,

Preached to them,

Told them that God loves them.

Doesn't God love me?

Or do i not deserve to hear it?

 

Three months ago you hurled a coin my way.

I was almost ran over by a truck as i ran to pick it up.

You haven't looked my way since.

I wanted the coin yes,

But i needed a kind word more.

 

Dear strange friends,

You are oblivious of my presence,

Or maybe you know I am here and you just don't want to see me.

You don't have to reach into your wallet for me.

Just smile and say hello,

And the morning cold won't bite as much.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world

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