Painting as I walk

 Can you pass me the airbrush there love
The one I use to slip past them.
I focus on the road ahead, the brush sweeps left
And right

If I were to look
If I were to dare
I would see the girl, eight or nine
Mutilated in the name of modesty
I would remember my own country
Of ECT and lobotomies for such
A reason as this

I would see the teen boy
Sores around his nose and lips
A bag slung by his side
Huffing as he sits, waiting
For someone to care

I would see the guy in shredded clothes
With no concept of cultural decency
Dishevelled in mind and body
Barely coherent, barely alive
Whisky washed each night

I would see the girl's sister
Left to manage on her own
Dressing for the night
Slipping a tab or two just to
Take away the pain

I would see the boy a year or two older
Hanging out by the toilets hoping for a lift
His septum slowly evaporating with each
Line of white. His fall from grace
Completed each night

I would see the girl trying
Trying to get to school
Trying to learn to read and write
And rise above the brush

But I would see the bruises too,
The punchbag for school and home
I would see the family crossing the line

Between my country and yours
Between your country and theirs
I would see the charlatans, the muggers
The broken-down boats, obsolete life jackets
Mud, squalor, pain, crying, beating, using
Pimping, trafficking, FGM on the side of the road,
I would see human misery in every connect
And it is too much.

So I don't look left or right
I airbrush reality and continue on my way
My safe way, to the church where I shall put
A little extra on the plate for
The poor everywhere
My conscience salved
My faith restored
You see there's no need to look
Someone else will care and I will not look but
Send them on their way with my little
Extra on the plate.
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