15: Slumdogs & Billionaires

Just as noisy machines from fields first suck’d
The ungirded workers of a Third World,
Screwing them into lice-sewn, smallpox slums,
Where prostitution acts the Welfare State,
Eviction’s threat fretting each waking day,
So Globalisation plays the same sports,
Stuffs Kapitalism’s casualties
In damp & crampening cages; Lagos,
Mumbai, Dhaka, Kinshasa – three in ten
Of all who breathe Earth’s air scuttle thro’ slums
Bereft of services, devoid of homes,
Unfit for habitiation, unhealthy,
Unseen, unclean, unhygenic classrooms
Whittle down children dreaming of mansions,
Tarring early hope, so lurch back home
To invarying, low calorie lives,
Under an aluminium tin roof,
By cardboard walls propp’d up, but waterless,
Acqua transported from rivers & lakes
Or forc’d to buy a tub or two from trucks,
Because they pay no taxes trash stays put,
Burnt, buried, beside babies, breeding rats,
How can it be in an age of great wealth
Insanities of no sanitation
Afflicts about two billion or so
The rest completely oblivious kept,
When only drive-by shootings break the news.

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