August Poetry of the Streets

She closes the door/ of her studio/ by Dolores Park/ hands the landlady/ (who jacked up her rent/ damn near double)/ the key/ “If anyone should ask/ tell them I won't be back/ to Cable Car land"/ and begins her long/ wandering inside/ America's abandoned/ homes

Will They Let You Be Poor Anymore

by Carol Denney

will they let you be poor anymore

can you just get a room or a bed

without three thousand dollars

in first month’s and last month’s

for just a roof over your head

 

will they let you be poor anymore

with a job somewhere pushing a broom

washing up dishes

and flipping a stack

won’t even get you a room

 

do we all have to be CEOs

or work for VC-funded techs

do we all have to work

sixty hours a week

at jobs where we’re all nervous wrecks

 

will they let you be poor anymore

and work for an honest day’s pay

did it all go to China

or India and if it did

then let’s all go today

 

I don’t need much to be happy

I may be poor but not sad

it’s always just scrambling around

for a roof and a job

that can make me feel bad

 

will they let you be poor anymore

and go home at the end of the day

a place of your own

just a room to call home

earned with an honest day’s pay

 

 

 

“It Is What It Is”

by Claire J. Baker

I dislike that glib

summing up of

hurtful experience:

“It is what it is.”

What happened to

sincere concern?

A long warm hug?

Tears shared?

Tissues provided?

A ride home

to a warm bed?

 

Have we forgotten

how to be kind

as in kind-red?

 

 

 

Worse Comes to Worse

by George Wynn

Every day

an old man

hungry and sick

with sleeping bag

living minute to minute

stumbles

coming from

Ocean Beach

 

Every day

some young girl

or some young boy

hungry and sick

like a frightened cat

living minute to minute

rest on the ground

and give a

shivering prayer

on a downtown

lonely

street

 

Our City

by the Bay

is more full

of homelessness

than you

can even

imagine

"A Woman Alone on the Street."

“A Woman Alone on the Street.”

 

Gentrification Blues

by George Wynn

She closes the door

of her studio

by Dolores Park

hands the landlady

(who jacked up her rent

damn near double)

the key

“If anyone should ask

tell them I won’t be back

to Cable Car land”

and begins her long

wandering inside

America’s abandoned

homes

 

At the VA Clinic

by Claire J. Baker

A veteran of Korea

shuttles patients

and visitors

 

all around the grounds.

In spare time, he makes

maple and oak canes

 

for younger vets,

paints the fresh canes

red-white-and-blue.

 

The Revolutionaries Met Today

by Carol Denney

the revolutionaries met today

to show the world a better way

and the men all had a lot to say

and the women cleaned up after

the women cleaned up after

the women cleaned up after

the men all had a lot to say

and the women cleaned up after

 

the revolutionaries marched along

they chanted and they sang a song

they all went on about what’s wrong

and the women brought the food

the women brought the food

the women brought the food

and on and on about what’s wrong

and the women brought the food

 

the revolutionaries made a pact

to blow things up and not look back

and always have each others’ back

and the women paid the rent

the women paid the rent

the women paid the rent

and always have each others’ back

and the women paid the rent

 

After an NPR Newscast

by Claire J. Baker

“Birds are on the decline,”

especially sparrows and larks,

while “twittering people”

are on the rise —

don’t ask this poet why or now.

 

Dear remaining birds,

if you have a song to sing,

please sing it now.

A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.