April Poetry of the Streets

I found a haven where I can rest/ I found a haven, when in it, I feel blest./ It’s in a strange place though, surrounded by sounds/ of violence, sirens, people who are in need/ of a human touch of kindness./ Yes on this journey of homelessness/ I’ve found a place of Rest.

In Nightly Corners

by Claire J. Baker

I won’t stay long, dear world,

am merely passing through.

In nightly corners where I’m curled

won’t stay long, harsh world:

it rains & streets are pearled,

colors dark though eyes are blue.

Can’t stay here, wild world —

only passing through.

 

GANDHI’S BONES

by Claire J. Baker

must be glowing

like pearls

under candlelight

The awesome dear idea

of nonviolence

the natural cease & desist

of kindness coming from

every bone in one’s body

an irritation, then

the gorgeous glossing.

 

Remembering The Holocaust

by Claire J. Baker

Nazi guards engraved

a number on each

Jew’s wrist

like branding hides

of rounded-up cattle.

 

Then

long crowded boxcars,

little air,

no sanitation —

the numbers

imprisonment, lice, rats,

starvation,

sexual abuse,

inhumane experiments.

 

Finally

gas steamed from

showerheads —

bodies incinerated

in round-the-clock ovens

or naked bodies shoveled

into mass graves —

horrors photographed

into eternal infamy

while the “outside” world

mostly wore a mask!

In Jonathan Burstein’s painting, “Church,” a homeless man seeks a safe haven in the sanctuary of a church.

Haven

by Delaine Jones

I found a haven

where I can rest

I found a haven —

when in it,

I feel blest

 

It’s in a strange place though,

surrounded by sounds

of violence, sirens,

people who are in need

of a human touch

of kindness

 

Yes on this journey

of homelessness

I’ve found

a place of Rest.

 

Homeless

by Delaine Jones

Oh how I wish I had a home,

a place where I belong

where in it

all things I own

 

O how I wish I had a home,

where I would feel safe,

free to let me be me,

a place to invite

my family, my friends

a place to protect me

from the wind.

 

Oh how I wish I had a home

Home is where the heart is

they say,

and you wonder why

sometimes I’m happy,

sometimes I’m sad,

sometimes even mad.

 

Well it is because

my heart does not have a home

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A Journalist in Defense of Human Rights

“At night when you’d be sleeping, you’d hear the spectral sound of the shopping carts outside in the streets. I’d think to myself, ‘Who is out there at 3 in the morning by themselves with a shopping cart?’ Just the loneliness of it was hard to ignore.”

How to Save a Life

On the street, I see someone who looks like my brother, dresses like him, moves like him. For a moment, I suspend the truth and say, “There’s my brother.” The moment passes too soon. But there are many who suffer still, and I try to treat them like brothers, for my brother.

The Street Spirit Interview with Amir Soltani

People wanted the recycling center gone because they just didn’t want the poor around them. It’s a game of Monopoly in which everybody’s interests are linked to the price of real estate, without the slightest concern about what speculation in land prices does to communities.

The Debate Over Tiny Homes: Ask Those Who Have No Home

Living on the streets is dangerous and debilitating. People’s meager belongings can be stolen; they can be assaulted. If we listen to people who are currently housed but have experienced periods of homelessness, it is clear that the effects, physical and psychological, have never left them.

Remembering Dave Linn: An Attorney for the People

It is hard to defend high-profile People’s Park defendants in a contemporary legal world. It is hard to be the one man in Birkenstocks surrounded by Italian suits. But Dave Linn took the cases most people would assess as unwinnable, and gave them his full attention.

Out on the Street, Hope Is Out of Reach

I recently spent the night at the homeless encampment near West Grand Avenue in Oakland. We sat on milk crates on a cold night, and we ate sandwiches while I listened as they talked about their fears, despairs and why help takes so long to reach them.