The July 2006 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

Corruption at Oakland Housing Authority

Shot Through the Heart in S.F.

Legal Challenge to Cruel Attacks on SF Homeless

GRIP's Shelter in Richmond

HUD Plans to Demolish Public Housing in New Orleans

Fresno Homeless Attacked

Stonewalling by Bush's ICH on Homeless Issues

Are We Not Our Brother's Keeper

Congress Refuses to Raise the Minimum Wage

Beyond Prisons: Challenge to the Prison System

Penal Servitude

The U.S. Racial Wealth Gap

Poor Working Conditions for Immigrants

AFSC Sues Defense Dept. for Surveillance

Surveillance and Orwell's 1984

Enron's Good Fight

Poor Leonard's Almanack: On Self-Realization

July Poetry of the Streets

Child Slavery on African Cocoa Farms

The Worth of Education in the Phillipines


June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005




Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

July Poetry of the Streets

Dying on the Streets of New Orleans
by Juanita J. Martin

Stretched out on a concrete bed;
a silent being without a name.
She was covered like garbage
from foot to head.
Ravaged and alone; waiting to be defiled.
She was someone's wife.
A death without honor;
no, not just another life.
She was someone's mother; someone's child.
The rage of the water is now done.
Here lies Katrina victim 1001.
The pain and suffering cannot be ignored.
Like the soldiers in battle,
how many have to die,
before someone hears their cry?
Just turn on the tv set and find it
completely abhorrent.
A sad state of affairs for this city,
once alive with music and history.
America, have you no shame?
FEMA was like a bandaid on a gaping wound.
Tell me, now, who will take the blame?
No home, food, water and no means.
I guess that's how it is, when you lie
dying on the streets of New Orleans.

by John B. Moats

Lovely are the ways of wisdom,
my teacher, guardian and guide.
Sharper than swords,
the universe is lovely, I cry.

Flowers children youth and old age
flourish. Spring forth oh lovely.
Beyond comparison, beauty is felt
in depths beyond measure.

Blessed are thy ways,
teacher, guardian and guide.

For you I am here! Today I shall bow
my head in wonder and amazement.
I cry. I sing. I rejoice.
Lovely are thy ways.

John B. Moats was a freedom lover and poet who died as a homeless person, freezing to death in an abandoned school bus.

good for the economy
by Randy Fingland

no sun sets
on the corporate empires
carved into cultures
as globally anesthetized locales

homogenized by deathly military
to enforce enslaved deflowerments
of peoples, their resources
to fill distant deep pockets

this international bloodletting
gathers into pools awash with
countryless refugees, mass infections
planned ignorance,
uncontrollable violence

no need to look any further than here
to verify homeless daytime sleepers who
brave the cruelly packed streets filled
with hurrying shoppers
anxious to purchase

another little piece of the orchestration
to disappear this our only paradise

UCB Destroys People's Park Free Box
by Claire J. Baker

Ha! This Big Berkeley U
is a kind of box, too --
boxed in,
prolongated, elongated,
expensive, defenseless
in stupidity, but
hardly "free!"

Next, will the overpaid
Regents vote to put locks
on another restored-by-the-people
freebie box?
Leave no chance for
donations of extra clothing?

What can a Big U do
with knee-jerk loathing?

The Government Is Listening
by Perry Terrell

The government is listening to my phone calls
Well, darn
I sincerely hope so
They will hear that I am not making enough money
And I am one paycheck away from homelessness
The cost of living is just plain too high
And that I am barely living

The government is reading my e-mails
Well, darn
I sincerely hope so
They will read a message to my friend
That I couldn't afford to buy food this pay period
Because the rent, electric, water and phone bills were due

I managed to pay all of the rent
But only half on the electric, water and phone

I am being careful
Trying to stay safe
And be a good employee
So I can earn another paycheck
That doesn't cover all my needs
Where I can't buy a piece of chicken
To go along with my one can of peas and one can of corn
Which has to last me for two meals

The government is listening to my phone calls
and reading my e-mail
Well, darn
I sincerely hope so

But what will the government do when my phone line is cut off
Which will happen when I need to buy medicine
for a cold or a headache
Or someone at the phone company realizes
that half a payment is not good enough
And the water and electric company?

What will the government know about me then?

That I have become another number on their statistical data chart

If I can't eat healthy, take a bath and see to read a book at night
In other words,
Cease to live a normal life
Why keep a roof over my head
And have the government knocking on my door

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Published by American Friends Service Committee

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