Line Up

You’d struggle to pick him out of a line up.
He looks familiar, like the others,
blending into a blur.
Doesn’t stop you judging:

Disgusted by low hanging jeans exposing tracksuit bottoms – an extra layer of flesh for long nights he knows the grind won’t stop;

Frustrated at constant hats that crown his head and wishing his feet would walk in something other than trainers – comfort and concealment in his domain;

Unnerved by glint of gold in his mouth, shining against darkness he’s clothed in head to toe – a glimmer of light in hell he’s living in;

Terrified by a hood covering his face and plaited hair – allowing him to hide from a world that hates him;

not as if he has put on a costume to spark terror
set people alight in their own homes.

He may have dangerous traits
but don’t we all have the devil in us at times?
He’s rarely a danger to the world at large
unlikely a danger to you,
unless you treat him like nothing
lower than gum stuck to your shoe
waiting to be flicked into rubbish,
because no one wants to be considered meaningless
simply cos they mean less
to you.

Shaniqua Benjamin

Restoring Humanness to the Homeless

Talking to people like they’re people has morphed into a foreign concept for some.

Believing words need to be contorted from lips when bestowed
on those in a contrary situation to yours.
May as well inscribe the headline,
“No roof overhead strips you of humanity”
A story filled with anecdotes of invisibility, disconnect and interactive inability.

Don’t hide behind being insensitive,
Anyone with awareness and care will know not to put a foot in a muddy puddle and splash it in another’s face.
Fear of insensitivity, an excuse used to escape interaction
outside of moments that interaction’s door is not closed altogether,
shutting them out, when what is desired is to be let in to a sense of normality –
What is needed to be fed into every headline, so it ceases to be news reported.

No longer alien territory,
speaking to people in adverse conditions, like they are people, becomes home in your mouth,
Reacting to them as you would anyone else.
Reviving their feeling of humanity that had been lost in statistics
they had no hand in constructing.