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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Oakland’s Cruel Attack on Homeless Recyclers

Homelessness is a nationwide epidemic, yet Oakland officials are shutting down Alliance Recycling and cruelly depriving poor and homeless recyclers of their livelihood. They are criminalizing an entire class of people by outlawing their profession.

On the Streets, Under the Trees

David Bacon’s photographs of homeless people in cities and rural areas were born out of his commitment to social justice. They capture the uphill struggle for survival faced by millions living in the virtually invisible landscape of poverty.

No Country for Old People

Market ideology undermines human rights for elders. Old people, children and the disabled are vulnerable in a profit-based economy that ignores the rights to housing, education and health care. Popular struggle is necessary to demand these needs be met. When movements weaken, the safety net is slashed.

No Alternative But To Keep Working

Workers are aging in the fields. Women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as they get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. They have to work, because there’s no alternative.

Oppression After Death: The High Cost of Dying

I guess we all think about death. The popular vision of a line of black cars following a sleek Mercedes stretch hearse. If you are homeless, a garbage truck will probably be your hearse. That’s how I envision it. Be nice if they at least had a long one — painted black.

Who Will Watch Over the Watchers?

Berkeley’s downtown streets and open spaces are watched over by the DBA and its employees who tear down public posters, physically attack people who don’t comply with their orders, or abuse people who don’t meet their standard of beauty. All too often, DBA ambassadors are abusive and unaccountable.