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.

Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.