May Poetry of the Streets

Veterans may return home with medals for valor, but if they become homeless, they’re shunned by the same society that sent them to war. “Too many street sleepers, doubly wounded, earned the nation's Purple Heart, even the Bronze Star. Now they don't have a home, a job or a car.”

Wounds and Wounds

by Claire J. Baker

Too many street sleepers,

doubly wounded, earned

the nation’s Purple Heart,

even the Bronze Star.

Now they don’t have a home,

a job or a car.

 

Pavement for a pillow

is as hard as it gets

for these so-called

“residuals of war,”

our vets — cast offs

from Walter Reed

doubled over in need.

 

 

Urban Spring

by George Wynn

After the church meal

in the Fillmore

he tells me he often feels

like he’s in a silent movie.

 

When people see him

coming down the street

carrying duffel bags

and so weary-eyed

almost on the brink

of falling asleep on his feet

they never make a

sound, they only frown

as if they’re sore at him

for being around.

 

“My self esteem

comes when I dream:

Mama’s face beams with

a delicious smile

then a big hug

It’s my respite from

the real world.”

 

He rises to leave.

“Happy Spring,” I say.

 

“Spring,” he laughs

“Spring is only more

urban madness.”

 

“I’m on my way.”

He flips out his

cardboard sign

highlighted in black:

MT. SHASTA

and walks out the door.

 

Instead of being honored by their nation, too many veterans become homeless and are ignored when they end up destitute on the streets.

A Good Man

by George Wynn

Homelessness only makes

sense when you live it

he tells me down

around the Cal Train Station

 

It’s his 80th

and we share a

sunny afternoon beer

and before he departs

he folds his hands

in prayer, “Thank

you God. I’m

still alive,” and waves,

“Thank you pal.

 

 

 

Remembering a Vet on the Street

by George Wynn

A tall man

who handed

out coffee

sandwiches

and a smile

on the street

and never

spoke of

war only

to say

war is stupidity

run by men

all of them

incapable

of telling

the truth

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