a poem by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark

Here on the busy streets
where jeepneys and cars meet
blowing their horns as masters
that seem cannot wait for
the road signs to alternate.

Here on the small alleys
where students in uniform, workers
and other passers-by clutch on -
to their bags from unwanted snatchers
as they head their way
to mega malls and local stores
with their long shopping lists.

I see these dirty men and women
with their small naked small kids
lying down on the further end
of the street, sleeping under
the noonday heat and the noise
of all this running transport
without the purchasing power
for their own daily needs.

Here on this street they sleep
without a roof of their head
Here on the street they rest
and feel the empty pangs of
their tummy and the violence
of a heavy rainfall upon their bodies
Here they are on these open streets
And I see them as daily megaphones
of society’s injustice.

(Along the streets in Cebu City, Philippines, holiday visit, July 2011 )

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