Remember when we

when we
were refugees,
martyrs in transition
incessantly stranger.
Road hypnosis.
Step forward
through unhinged, barbaric world.
Civil norms in quick revision.
Home, family, streets of trade,
perks of urbanity
cultured humanity
strong lanes of history,
tightly wrapped in our world viewed
as small daily rituals.
Me within we, clear as air.
How recognize an I,
broken from web of familiar
connection.  Now obliterated, markers
of place, of purpose; constrained movement
of uncertain destination.
I walk enclosed in walkers’ formation,
consciousness optional,
entrained within we devoid of sentient time.
Brief touch, short awareness of a face,
faces, eyes almost blind, shrouded by terror,
Why be human, cling to burdens of the flesh,
of aspiring?
Herd cattle, we pretend have no pain,
no mindful fear, no sense of personal
We walk because we have no landing.
Long past exhaustion, grabbing at pity of
strangers to attend our exhibition, to watch
over, protect, accept, that we fall on their streets
desperate for sleep.
Who are we, bleeding identity, to plead
When we must stop, drop to the ground,
do they walk over us, or around, or humanely
offer shelter, bedding?
Choice not ours to demand.
Demand if you’ve nothing else to give voice.
How will such rudeness affect the treatment,
respect encountered?
Ever onward, diminished, with no where
to root, become.
Battered, disgraced, wasted;
stripped of livelihood, consequence,
continuity of plan or regimen.
Tattered skin, fragile bones;
reviled by foreign merchants
expecting quid pro quo
wherever we’re pressed to go.
Redefine home as space to sleep, keep
what we own (until stolen). 
Without resource of comfort, nothing
worth waking, yet another dire day descends.
Small girlchild, rags and dust – follow
her morning of traverse, this tiny world allowed.
Each tent flap reveals fester of wounds deep
and shallow, ravage disease.
Senses, thought, subsumed to beat of breath
outside rational context.
Stuck in the dirt, her worth a hole where
she bottoms out, tributary blood expelled.
We’ve known security of work and love
once called normality.
Forward reality denies those lives.
Who am I (are you) without my neighborhood of
affirmation, without mundane commiserations
and routines?
Turned from tribal identity to nonentity,
just another broken body in the fray.
I respond to each absurdity,
each broken line as I become less
and more.
Bonding anew, as we humans do,
each here/now imbues with further
circumstance.  Eternal dance with fates
suspected and unknown.  If we could
only stay unbound, masked for day’s
occasion, but behind gathering truths
as moments of clarity. 
Whom are we assuming ourselves to
to public ambient acclaim:
Lives matter, private pain
sad desperation that never
lessens though it ebb, sway, regain
Real lives yearn, feel need
for some promised warmth of care.
Shared extremities that nurture hope
of shared deliverance, hands and minds
together strong.
Surge of survival over uncertain destiny,
return to industry, if we might find that energy.
Realign expectant gaze toward peace, plenty
— planetary necessity.
Eventually to remember as poignant history,
ritual song, reverie
as respite to somber tidal drum,
when we were refugees.

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