Man and Machine – Empathy

Walking by boarded inconvenient stores,
the sun rises, warming battered streets.
A man in a rusty wheelchair moves his arms.
Spinning both wheels, frailly, his balding head
and worn out wheels slowly drag across
the road.

I continue to walk, head down,
headphones in, tuned out, I Will:
Ignore this Man.

He reaches the concrete curb.
wheels stick. Like gum. No force to move.
“What will happen if you touch it? Disease?
will its poverty infect you?”

He is not a machine, unlike me, a mechanical monster,
moving my gears.
Where did my empathy go?
Did I trade it for platitudes
from white men in business suits?
I traded in my beating heart,
for a nice white house in a neighbourhood lined with Black BMW’s.
Hand over your youthful soul,
for degrees of efficiency.

The sun that lights my house is the same that awakens these streets.
I return to the man, offer my hand.

We move up the curb together.

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