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:


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


and a smile

on the street

and never

spoke of

war only

to say

war is stupidity

run by men

all of them


of telling

the truth

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.