December Poetry of the Spirit

This poet connects/ the one word "gather"/ with the Quaker faith/ as in geese gather/ at lake's edge before/ the V-flight south,/ as in snowflakes gather,/ mounded on roof tops/ before the downward slide,/ as in two homeless men/ gather around a steam vent/ on a city sidewalk.

A Nuanced World

by Carol Denney

I’m angry

but I’m always the one

who cleans up the broken glass

and sweeps up the wreckage

unleashed on a helpless neighborhood

after another injustice


I’m angry

but I’m the one who sits

in court with the people

who were arrested

for just watching

someone torch the yarn store


I’m angry

but I’m always the one

after Ferguson or Fruitvale

called for a sound bite

to explain the predictable vandalism

pasted blindly across

a nuanced world



by George Wynn

He feels the breath

of January’s wind

and recalls a

street companion

who no longer

has to worry

about being damn

cold a long time

found dead on

San Francisco

downtown pavement

a book of poetry

in hand.


They both used to

wonder what might

be gained or lost

by going inside?


The ache in his

neck bones all

the way to

his toes tonight

tells him at 70

the shelter’s waiting

like it or not.



The One Word

by Claire J. Baker

This poet connects

the one word “gather”

with the Quaker faith


as in geese gather

at lake’s edge before

the V-flight south,


as in snowflakes gather,

mounded on roof tops

before the downward slide,


as in two homeless men

gather around a steam vent

on a city sidewalk.



For A Blind Street Person

by Claire J. Baker

Bent shadow, once did you race

the wind to reach your lover,

singing to him of spring?


It’s Christmas Eve in rain.

Crowds rush by, ignore your sign



No one drops a coin.

Always you smile, as if

you can see the street neoned


red, yellow, blue, gold —

colors reflected into

your empty bowl.


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.