A Song for My Village

by J P Cupp

From the cement walls,
living graves of the human mind
I shout "Dignity!"
"Poor people DEMAND Dignity!"
My sweaty hands shake of
boredom and well learnt contempt.
If I was free,
I would be a part of my village.
If I was free,
but not to be at my village,
Then I'm better off
right here in my cell
cursing the concrete jungle
madness that forgot humanity,
laws that do not honor community.
I'll have none of that.
I must confess, at heart that
I'm a Guerrilla and not a Diplomat.

I sing for my Village,
Dignity Village.
Dignity, a word so commonly
patronized, but a word
which one will gladly
lay their life down for
when it touches their heart
and moves them
as much as my village moves me.

I believe in self-determination,
the human right of individuals,
communities, tribes, and nations
to control their own livelihood.
I know the path of self-determination for my village,
the home of Portland's tented poor
will be a rough path.
I know that it is a struggle, a struggle worth fighting for.

My Village, I scream for you.
At first, I was singing,
gently humming reminders
of where I came from.
But it's past that stage.
Now I scream,
                    wild eyed,
                              and rebel roused!

The Man's around the corner
watching me, checking me out,
like he always does,
checking to make sure I'm
not thinking anything radical
trying to catch me in a word trap.
Dishes it out but I can't dish it back.
Suppose to let him spit on my face
and let it splat,
but I won't do that.

It's not my nature.
It's not my way,
to let anything stand in my way.

My Village, I wish I was at
my Village building a co-op.
I wish I was at my Village
being left alone to work hard
to build up together
with other poor people,
one big tented homeless union,
running our own lives.
Thank you very much!
We'll take this
but we won't take that,
Thank you very much!
My Village, homeless with attitude!
Alive with pride and color galore!
My Village and it's OUR world!!