January Poetry of the Streets

Outside our window/ We spot on a rain-stripped/ eucalyptus trunk/ colors we've never seen,/ before: shades of yellow,/ gold, lime green, tan./ A homeless woman/ stripped of an easy life/ also reveals colors/ when we pause long, enough to sense and see.
A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.

A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.


homeless person

by Judy Joy Jones

one day in time

the homeless person

waiting in line

for food

will be you


so don’t close

ya heart to

ya brothers

dying in gutters


they are mirrors

of our soul’s

own greed




For the Homeless in San Jose

by Joan Clair

Isn’t there a city somewhere,

where people can live peacefully in tents

and not pay rent, and not be bent?

The light in the heart of a flower

shines more brilliantly than power.




Last Fragments from a

Panhandler’s Journal

by George Wynn

Forget the

word demoralized

if you want to

survive on Market Street.

Forget about where you

used to sleep

before you were broke.


Pray every day

your body doesn’t

let you down

big time when

light turns to night

and you huddle

in cold desolation.


Never stop to ask

did you get what

you wanted

from this life?


Enjoy the simple


the pen upon

paper brings you

and hopefully others.


god made visible

by Judy Joy Jones

can you really

put a soul in jail

for loving


does handcuffing

a 90 year old man

for feeding the poor

put his heart

behind bars


no i say

for to love

and be loved

is ours soul’s purpose


bars are made

by man’s fears


compassionate souls

such as he

are god’s tender mercy

made visible

through our own hands




Outside Our Window

by Claire J. Baker

We spot on a rain-stripped

eucalyptus trunk

colors we’ve never seen

before: shades of yellow,

gold, lime green, tan.


A homeless woman

stripped of an easy life

also reveals colors

when we pause long

enough to sense and see.






















No Passport Needed

by Claire J. Baker

Come, let us join

the multitudes

on the journey

toward peace.


We, the people,

motley, memorable,

poised, unprepared,

gay, and not so happy,

handicapped and holy,



yet all the same —

getting out of

our own way.


No tether, weather

or war shall deter

our journey,

our passage.


Peaceably we go,

peacefully we stay.




In The Thrift Shop

by Joan Clair

Lady 1 carries a golden purse

and a dollar bill,

asks Lady 2,

“Will you pay for my purse?”


Lady 2 turns around,

flips open her coat,

a price tag shows.

“Can’t pay for my own,” she says.


“The truth is we all live

in an economic system

that is heartless.” — Helen Keller




A Child’s View of Winter

by Mary Rudge


The sun in through my window when I

wake up makes me feel warm and loved.

I like to wake up and see sky.

But the old, old window broke, we could

not afford glass or someone to fix it.

We have found board and cardboard,

and sealed up the window hole,

because it is winter and we will be cold.

When I wake in the morning and see

darkness, still I know

to feel warm in my heart, to feel loved

because my mother and brother

found cardboard and board.

If we find enough cans extra to pay,

we can have a glass window again.



In winter we only heat one room.

We hang blankets over the doors and

put all our bedding on the floor and

sleep there, together in one warm room.

I like to hear our breath

in the dark, one family

helping each other keep warm.



Today by the thrift store

we said a prayer before we went in

that the saleslady would try to find

something she could mark down

with just a few loose threads or tear

or spot, someone had given

for the poor to buy.

Today mother said

let us put in our mind’s eye

the perfect sweater

with only a tiny unraveling

mother can fix

if we have enough money to buy.



My mother takes us to the library.

We love being warm.

All the colors of books,

words and pictures for free

are there for me,

bright light I can read in,

and the light in the mind.

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.