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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UC Berkeley Graduate Discovers the University of the Streets

Even though I was fortunate to have received a great education at UC Berkeley, the education I received on the streets as a homeless man shortly after graduating was even more enlightening.

Blues for the 99 Percent

In churches and juke joints, singing held the community together as Jim Crow oppression threatened to keep people confined in a slavery-like caste system. Songs conveyed things too dangerous to speak about — long work hours, low pay, and unfair racist bosses.

The Freedom Sleepers Demand Repeal of Camping Ban

“As a 1961 Freedom Rider, I served 39 days in the Mississippi penitentiary fighting discrimination. I and others will continue to resist discriminatory local ordinances which forbid individuals a place and opportunity to sleep. We call upon our City Council to find a way to alleviate homeless suffering.” — Rabbi Phil Posner

Business Improvement Districts and ‘Broken Windows’

The broken windows theory of policing conceptualizes poor people as things to be removed and not people who are struggling to survive. In San Francisco, Business Improvement Districts utilize private security forces and city police to harass and banish homeless people from Union Square.

Resistance to Police Violence and Racism

Although several deaths of young African American men at the hands of the police have received a great deal of publicity, hundreds more police-inflicted deaths have not been reported. Across the nation, police officers who have killed innocent African-American men are rarely punished by racially biased court systems.

Selling Street Spirit Changed His Outlook on Life

Ralph is facing some major challenges now. Social Security and government assistance won’t go far in providing food and shelter for him and his wife while she is disabled. Getting out to Berkeley Bowl with the Street Spirit every day will keep up his spirits and a roof over their heads.