Emergency Call

I am astounded.

My cage has been rattled.

I am shocked, disturbed, dazed, fearful, isolated, saddened, used, violated,

agonised, tormented, defeated, sensitive, anxious…..

I am numb to the point of icy pain, hands wrapped around an ice cube too long

or drowsy and burning in the sun.


Slowed movements, hypersensitivity.

Tossed around like an angry wind, howling against locked doors and battered, stuck


Adrift, skinned like game, on a still ocean sailing for nowhere.

Hunted and forsaken in a desolate crowd of onlookers, puzzled and ignorant of their



This is for all the people we have failed.


Abused and tormented in sickening places and deserted dreams.

Alone and neglected, hugging the dirt in cold overpasses.

Starving and frightened of the guns that come creeping around the corner.

Intimidated and overpowered in darkened corners and pitiful shelters.

Traumatised and pillaged for their self-worth; their integrity stripped and naked.

Discouraged and silenced from voicing desires and fears and nerves;

humiliated and mortified in feeling a certain way, describing processes and beliefs and

doubts and insecurities battered away like persistent flies,

to masses of individuals too small and petty to understand.

The deprived and vulnerable, resigned to poaching and begging at your feet for some sort

of salvation, some help that you deny.

Those re-abused, broken and prone to retaliation.

The abusers and addicts, with no other faith to follow.

The destitute we turn from;

fear tactics of government and the impossibilities they promote for people.

We can’t help you.

The falsehoods we idolise.


The loss of empathy is so whole and catastrophic, lives are rendered pathetic,

belittled, scrutinised and judged unnecessarily for shell-shocked, domesticated,

embittered humans to mock and disgrace.


Ignorance and dishonesty prowling homes, and lives and friendships and lovers;

claw marks separating precious flesh from bone.

Those alone, locked in bedrooms, looking down at who they wish they weren’t.

Pawed and petted, fragile girls taken over by ruthless men before they cry.

Even in reverse, the vulnerable boys stripped and used.

Men in chains, abused and threatened and stripped of dignity, in yards and prisons,

in families, in offices and secret hideaways.

Runaways chased, pursued and shooed; harassed until beaten.


Turn your head and notice the scars they hide from you, sleeves rolled down;

the red marks and seeping blood from opened veins that you deny exist for people.

How real those demons are, how terrifying and ghastly they are because even you can’t

visualise such horror.

Blackouts ended in crashes and destruction and blood and tears;

drowning bathrooms, locked rooms, dirty floors and painful years.

Nightmares and paranoia threaten safety.

Agonies of the mind can never be realised, internally cutting.


You want to know what society is like?

You want to know how inhumane the humans have become?

Don’t bury your head in the sand.

You only ever paint what you wish to see, alone on your raft.


If I’ve forgotten someone, some place, some awful truth, you are starting to see then.

You are believing me when I tell you it’s all real.

What are you going to do now?


*Artwork by Duy Huynh*


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