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


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




Our City

by the Bay

is more full

of homelessness

than you

can even


"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



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



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.

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.