We present this work in honor of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
You can see him every weekend
In the plazas in the cities,
His music box beside him
With its fast beat blazing out.
You would swear his body’s boneless
From the many shapes he twists it
And his elegance and grace
Are just superb.
The shy smile of concentration
As he goes through his manoeuvres
Speaks loudly of the painful hours
He has put in to rehearse.
So he pulses to the rhythm
Of a heartbeat very primal
And his Reeboks glide spectacularly
Across the ground.
He is on his back and spinning
With his feet towards the clouds
He is up and down and all-way-round
Then upright – to the roar of the applause.
In repose, his face hints tragedy
That drives his frenzied motion
He has given up his habit
And his feet now keep him sane.
Can he be there dancing for dollars
For the rent, in this city of plenty
Where others throw the coins
To show their joy?
Slow the tape and hear the lyrics
Of the music that propels him
Talking of a world of problems
Far too much for any boy.
Yet he carries this burden proudly
Though his generation’s scorned,
His dark eyes shine satisfaction
With his lot.
His little hat I overflowing
Though his fragile back is blistered
They’ll be noshing very well this night
At his makeshift home in the ghetto.
His Mother’s smile will warm him,
And young siblings, they’ll adore him,
When he walks in, pockets laden
– Backbone raw.
So his furtive fingers twist the button
To raise the volume of his music
While he keeps an eye out for the gungies
Who deplore the clutter of his crowds.
As people toss the lad a dollar
His eyes steadfastly ignore them
And they saunter off with joyful music
In their ears and minds.