Painting as I walk

Can you pass me the air brush 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 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

Send them on their way with my little

Extra on the plate.