Thursday, September 21, 2006

the world is a ghetto

“I am the mess you chose. The closet you cannot close, The devil in you I suppose. 'Cause the wounds never heal.”
-Lyrics by Staind

We make them then leave them scattered about like a childhood mess. Stash them away in a dark lonely closet. And then exorcise them like devils from our souls.

Like ghosts long forgotten they roam among us. Invisible to most, unrecognized by many, and worthless to themselves. They are the abandoned, the neglected, the abused, the shadows in the corners of our cities, our towns, and our minds.

These children are rich and poor, from “good” neighborhoods and bad. It doesn’t matter the geography the pain is all the same. They float in the streets like yesterday’s discarded newspapers. They are trampled on like old singed cigarette butts. Wasting away in a well lit wasteland. Whether their nails are dirty or manicured and polished. Their eyes adorned with make-up, glitter, or bruises. Their throats are dry from the crying that no longer comes, their tears their only means to quench a thirst that never dies. A hunger that is soul deep.

We have forgotten them. But the molesters have not. The gang leaders know well where they are. The only ones paying attention to them are the predators. And they circle them like vultures ready to descend.

They duck bullets and sometimes absorb them into their tender flesh. We duck our responsibilities and absorb nothing into our conscience. They carry scars sometimes in their flesh but always in their spirits. Their homes are sometimes shacks we wouldn’t allow our dogs to live in and sometimes they are mansions built by hands of greed. Regardless of the kind of roof over their heads, they live in a world that has become a ghetto.

We call them deviants, lost boys, and future convicts. We call them many things.

Predators call them food.

But most shamefully no one calls them at all. Their shadows are burned into memorialized graffiti covered walls, overpriced shopping malls, and sometimes on the backs of milk cartons. And like those cartons when we are finished with them, thrown into the dumpsters of our alleys and our minds.

It doesn’t matter what the name of the street they live on is called. Doesn’t matter which side of the tracks they live on. Doesn’t matter if the tracks they see run through their barrios or run over their veins. The ghetto is a state of mind not a cobweb of streets.

We forget them and they remember everything. They remember the bruises, the scars that never fade; the beds they are violated in are the beds we made. Made by our priorities of recycling cans instead of lives. Feeding dogs instead of their hearts. As we protest to release monkeys from their laboratory cages we build plenty of cages for our kids and leave them to die. We ponder as to why they rattle those cages with suicide and gunfire.

Our complacency can victimize them as much as the streets. Our world which feeds on power and greed becomes a home for kids who have nothing to live for but warfare and shots exchanged on schoolyards. We wrestle with crocodiles for the entertainment of a reality show and allow snakes to live in their playgrounds.

No matter how many “keep our streets clean” signs we put up, the world of the forgotten child is nothing more than a global garbage dump. And all the world becomes a ghetto.

We prefer paper over plastic. Cable TV for prisoners over decent school books. No child left behind, because the gangs are glad to pick them up. And as our kids line body bags, our governments line their own pockets.

And we wonder why shell casings fall in the classrooms.

While we fill our living rooms with an endless cavalcade of reality shows…Our children fill the morgues. From the streets of Boston to the backwoods surrounding Baton Rouge…

The world is a ghetto.