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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Blues for Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the despairing days after Dr. King’s death, the nation was overcome by the blues, so it was fitting that the pre-eminent blues band in the land would play for the activists in Resurrection City.

We’ll March on Resurrection Day

The final stanza is like a dream. Big Joe Williams looks down at Martin Luther King’s face, and vows to the slain civil rights leader that we’ll keep marching on — even unto Resurrection Day.

Treasure Island or Toxic Island?

Treasure Island is not a recreation destination — it’s a radiation destination. Fifty years of Naval activity have contaminated it with a horrifying array of radioactive and chemical pollutants. Eight of the “dirty dozen” banned chemicals on the Stockholm Convention’s list of the most dangerous chemicals are found at Treasure Island.

Abuse of Tenants at Notorious Slum Hotel in Oakland

“There is no heat. They do not allow tenants to use the elevator. The building has bed bugs, rats, and is loaded with flies from the garbage piled up at the property. Our toilet does not work, the shower barely drips, and the building lacks smoke detectors in most apartments.”

Mission Residents Battle Gentrification from New Condo Development

At the first action against the condo development, Guillermina Castellanos, a mother who lives in the Mission, said: “This building they want to build, it won’t be for our families. It will be for another class of families that have money. We don’t have sufficient money to pay for these condominiums.”

Sorrow in the Spring: Memories of Dr. King’s Memorial

As I write of the memorial services for Martin Luther King, Jr., we’re in a similar crisis today, as Ferguson, Missouri, joins the ranks of Memphis, Watts, Selma and far too many other locations where our nation’s racism has given us a shameful record of violations of human rights.