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

survival!

 

Beyond key decisions

there’s not much to do

but wait a century

for social change

or get a fab job

though none are

available.

 

the children are gone

by Randy Fingla

negotiations

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: , , , , , ,

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.