March Poetry of the Streets

Sleepy bored despairing,/ gray beard, gray jacket,/ blue jeans,/ blue cap./ Beloved Labrador’s gentle gaze/ lends solace./ Handcrafted sign requests help;/ holding few coins,/ your box yawns open/ walking stick sighs./ Resting beside canine friend/ you breathe.

A homeless man and his dog hope for food in San Francisco. Robert L. Terrell photo


Street Takes Toll Fast

by George Wynn

Young woman

realizes her dream

becomes a beauty queen

thinks she has it made

after a decade

of depression and rage

she dies of old age

on the street


The First-Time Homeless:

by Claire J. Baker

They need to decide on:

what corners

which benches

overnite shelters

sidewalk vents

possible doorways

unhoused buildings

darkest alleyways

safety nets (if any)

volunteer services

soup kitchens

when to speak

when to shut up

when & where to sleep

rainy day overheads



Beyond key decisions

there’s not much to do

but wait a century

for social change

or get a fab job

though none are



the children are gone

by Randy Fingla


guarantee ceasefires

but the burning continues

the rainforests

the icecaps

scorched smiles branded

on dead infant faces

unreported on conglomerate TV

everywhere the hunger

of the impoverished

who die young

for the same reason

A homeless woman endures a rainstorm on a wet, cold sidewalk in San Francisco. Robert L. Terrell photo


After Barbara’s Sermon

by Claire J. Baker

“Shine, dear one, shine” —

a phrase one might whisper

to a hurt lover,

to a homeless mother,

to a baby at christening,

to a friend who has

just passed on.


Or this is a phrase to keep

within, near the surface

to kindle kindness, like


hear me, believe me

when my eyes urge,

“Shine, dear one, shine.”


Man Alive

by George Wynn

Wind roars

he clutches blankets

between two closed doors

God make it pause


Out of the blue

college notebooks flash

What it’s like being homeless?

Try it you won’t like it

Anyway jive ass grad

students  mean well


You gotta be crazy

or piss poor or both

Why don’t they scream it

between this damn howling wind?


Man alive I wish this was a dream

anyway thank you God

for making the wind stop


Tags: , , , , , ,

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.