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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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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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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.