February Poetry of the Streets

The war on poverty's just begun:/ yet two steps forward, four steps back./ The losers? City corners stun./ The war on poverty's just begun?/ Yet safety nets are holey or none —/ anyone care to really keep track?/ The poverty war is just begun —/ two steps forward, four steps back.

War on Poverty

by Claire J. Baker

The war on poverty’s just begun:

yet two steps forward, four steps back.

The losers? City corners stun.

The war on poverty’s just begun?

Yet safety nets are holey or none —

anyone care to really keep track?

The poverty war is just begun —

two steps forward, four steps back.



Evicted Couple in Cheap Hotel

by George Wynn

“You forgot to buy milk!”

he removes his beat up shoes

shoves out his pants pockets—empty

sits down in a blue chair


She shivers in her robe

the old one he hates to see her wear

he eyes the hot plate

at least the smell of

freshly made coffee is inviting


She pours and hands him

a cup of black coffee


Let’s not think about tomorrow

he says or the day after


Or the day beyond that, she says




What Is Enough?

by Joan Clair

I rescue two plants from the garbage

and give them a home,

feel more at home.

I rescue a toy rabbit from the garbage

and give it a home,

feel more at home.

I buy a homeless woman a shopping

cart.  It meets a need,

but doesn’t take her off the street.

Still, I feel more peace.

None of this seems like much,

but what is enough?

I do my best

with what comes to me.


“How can it be that it is not a news item when

an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, 

but is it news when the stock market

loses two points?” — Pope Francis


In the middle of a busy sidewalk, a homeless woman exists in stark isolation, unseen and unnoticed in the middle of crowds of people.




(for the Albany Bulb Dwellers)

by Claire J. Baker

“To be or

not to be?”


There is no question!


Getting Out Time

by George Wynn

Robbie wrote: People often say I have no regrets.

But me, Robbie tensed his black pen,

I have many regrets.

The principal one being the night of

supposedly easy money

with the image glued to my vision

of frightened bank tellers and customers

then my hands clasped behind my head

and all those years

of cellblock journal writing

and being scared at eighteen

of all the threats: “We will

turn you out girlie.”


Now I am finally getting out to a halfway house

and I am quietly hopeful

through the gap in my big pearly front teeth

and the reel of the

night of easy money

never escapes me.

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.