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Fear and Loathing at the Mental Health Clinic

I’d had an “inappropriate outburst.” I’d been restrained, and then the device was used on me. It was designed to shut down the errant part of my brain by using a magnetic pulse. I was uncertain of whether the memory was real, or if it could have been a nightmare.

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Future Blues: Brain Death for Stress Relief

A holographic video urges me inside, saying, “This procedure will relieve you of unnecessary suffering due to your mind.” As I walk inside, a man runs out with his head opened up, screaming at the top of his lungs. Robots catch up with the man and inject him in the shoulder.

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Surprised by Love on the Streets of Purgatory

He didn’t have a lot of sympathy to go around, but the dog’s pathetic state moved him, and he shared his half-eaten sandwich. When the dog had finished eating, she sat next to him and shyly licked his hand. At the crossroads of despair, a homeless man unexpectedly found love.

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Chemical Mind Control in the Society of the Future

“This is supposed to be a hospital, not Gitmo,” said the nurse. “You’re using extreme methods, and it’s clear you’re trying to destroy him. You’re a thug. Let him go home or I’ll report you.” The psychiatrist said, “I’ll let what’s left of him go home. And, by the way, you’re fired.”

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The Dark Alley

The police were talking to the woman who’d helped me. In the ambulance, an E.M.T began wiping dried blood off my face. I overheard the police say, “I’m arresting you for vagrancy.” I looked out the back of the ambulance and saw that my benefactor was being handcuffed.

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Defying the Men in White

When I was 12, my father, bless him, had said, “The men in white are feared. If you say something you’re not supposed to say, the men in white will come and take you away. You will never be heard from again. God knows what happens to you after they take you away.”

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The Guest and The Judge

The guards believed he was either guilty of something very big, or mentally compromised in some way. They transferred John to the locked psychiatric facility at Highland Hospital and put two undercover men in his hospital room who posed as fellow psych patients in legal jeopardy.

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Short Fiction: The Greek Couple; Turn and Burn

The Greek Couple— Fiction by George Wynn
When Tito came back home to Boston, where his father and mother were dead, he’d always screw up. Nostalgia for his parents drove him to the bottle. He was persona non grata with his two married sisters on the South Shore.

/—/Turn and Burn— Fiction by Joan Clair

“You need to think of it as a business,” one of the property managers said. “It’s not about his humanity or yours, even though, of course, none of us likes to put anyone out on the street.”

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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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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.