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Poetry September 2010

Hope’s nothing but right,/

like the justice of star shine/

on river breezing midnights….

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Poetry, August 2010

“Wet Night on Sutter Street” “Wet Night on Sutter Street” by Christine Hanlon, oil on canvas, 20” by 32 1/3”

Resurrection/

by Claire J. Baker/

May you/
arrive at/
resurrection/
not by dying/
but by LIVING./
May the end/
begin a/
beginning.

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Poetry, November 2010

Who Would Believe by Claire J. Baker Who would believe that all week at a slick Senior Center in a comfortable suburban town   seniors line up at 7:30 a.m. for food-and-flower handouts which begin at 9 a.m.?   City Dawning by Claire J. Baker A cold city bird can sit unmolested atop a tower […]

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Poetry from the Streets

The blood-soaked pillow/ of a homeless man who used/ concrete streets for his bed/ died in the night./ I didn’t know you my Precious Friend,/ but I’ll carry on the flame/ in honor of your life./ You did not live in vain./ May I carve the name/ of this unknown Poet/ in the Book of Life.

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Reflections on the New Year—Elegies, Praise, Poems

I have been thinking again about the French notion of liberty, fraternity (though now we’d say solidarity) and equality. I think I understand in a new way that these can be taken not just as political values, but also as a partial guide to how to conduct our lives.

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January Poetry of the Streets

BEATITUDE/ Believing that love/ silently expressed/ will be heard/ and silently answered,/ we need not celebrate/ by trumpet blast,/ tambourines, a dance/ around the block,/ need not kneel to pray/ in the garden of moonlight./ Love/ in its own quiet way/ feels like enough.

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November Poetry of the Streets

“Could you please help?” Robert Terrell photo

Anthropologists study/ street people, find them/ humane, kindly, humble —/ a dog in lap, parrot on a/ shoulder, a young man/ sleeping, curled like a baby./ A raggedy baseball cap/ silvered with small coins./ Passing poets wonder:/ Is it unlawful to be human?/ But lawful to be inhumane?

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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

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The Poet, the Police, and the Spirit of the Sixties

“There was going to be a big demonstration the next day — people throwing things and stuff. Everybody was angry and I was just as angry as anybody else, but I was a pacifist and besides, if I threw anything, I’d probably hit my foot.” — Julia Vinograd

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”