A Simple Exchange

I wrote this poem as an attempt to try to explain the camaraderie and support within an identified community for people who are experiencing the same issues in their life.

In this particular case the issue is discrimination due to race. I was aware when writing it that the discrimination could apply to a language or a nationality or a hobby or a pastime or an ability that was shared so that it did not only apply to a disability-it could apply to an ability (for that matter) that strangers understood each other to have the same experience of.

For example the difference could be ‘celebrity status’

The distinguishing factor was that it was a shared variable that the strangers recognised in each other and that this made them significantly different from the crowd and that they understood how each other felt even though they had not really met but were strangers passing momentarily

Here is : Poem Number Ten

Whenever I would chance to meet
Another black face
More often than not
Our eyes would smile at one another
And.we would exchange
A simple acknowledgement
at the other persons existence

A nod
A shared understanding
A greeting
Sometimes , a knowing wink
sometimes a raised eyebrow, sufficed

Because in that
simple acceptance
the message was communicated
“I know you….stranger
I understand what has been happening in your life”

We  share the same type of encounters
We  both know of the treatment that has come to us
we are both aware of
what the other has endured ,during their day

We have both been met
with similar practices and behaviors
by colleagues  as well as  strangers
Both received sceptical glances
when introduced to people who don’t know us

We are used to ‘that look’
from a person who obviously does not trust us
because they harbour an ignorant prejudice
before they get to know us,as individuals

We both have been surprised
when small children of our acquaintances
ask out loud “why is your skin darker”
than most people that they know in their own circle

We both hope that
their parents will learn to teach their children
about
diversity and culture

We both despair that
we are looked at
and treated differently
when in a crowd
We are used to being singled out
discriminated
when we are doing our best at just
trying to fit in

We may not be able
to know each other’s skills
Nor say each other’s names
We may not know
each other’s specific age
But,we share
the same hope’s for our futures

So,when I exchange a greeting
with a stranger in the street
and,my friends and my young children
often say “You know a lot of people”
I reply:
“I do not know them personally but
I do know
how they live”.

Published by ericadonaldsonellison

https://linktr.ee/Edonaldsonellison https://ko-fi.com/ericadonaldsonellison I am a Poet; blogger; mental health awareness warrior; student of ayurvedic lifestyle; passionate about equality and justice for all Humanity makes us equal

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