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Short Fiction and Poetry – October 2010

“Sacred Heart” Art by Jos Sances, ceramic tile

  REFLECTION by Joan Clair A friend tells me she no longer has much or as much sympathy and compassion for the poor as she once had. For herself? In her 70s, her income hovers under $1,000 monthly with more than half of that going for rent. In another year or so her income may […]

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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”


by Claire J. Baker/

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

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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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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

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.