November Poetry of the Streets

Anthropologists study/ street people, find them/ humane, kindly, humble —/ a dog in lap, parrot on a/ shoulder, a young man/ sleeping, curled like a baby./ A raggedy baseball cap/ silvered with small coins./ Passing poets wonder:/ Is it unlawful to be human?/ But lawful to be inhumane?

In Berkeley

by Claire J. Baker

Anthropologists study

street people, find them

humane, kindly, humble —

a dog in lap, parrot on a

shoulder, a young man

sleeping, curled like a baby.

A raggedy baseball cap

silvered with small coins.

 

Passing poets wonder:

Is it unlawful to be human?

But lawful to be inhumane?


 Kafka by the Bay

by George Wynn

There are many gifted

men and women —

but homeless

One day they

wake up without

job and habitat

trouble takes on

a life of its own

just like that

 

Everything becomes negative

they become labeled

(ABCD) alcoholic,

badass, crazy or dirty

If society can make

everything their fault

they do

 

Wet with sweat

in the middle

of the night

they scream

“I need air I

can’t breathe”

thinking this

must all be

a dream

 

Hard to imagine

this could happen

to you or me

but in the City

by the Bay

many say

it can and did

 

Their lives

gone to waste

if only they

could see hope

reach out

touch it

get a taste!

 Something in Common

by George Wynn

His father’s been

on the street a long time

and battered by it

The son thinks

his father will never

find a place to live

 

Home used to be

the two of them together

Now they’re both

out on the street


Exposure

by Joan Clair

The exposure of homelessness is not pretty

unless it evokes the compassionate heart.

The compassionate heart when it is evoked

is as pretty as She intended it.

Therefore, let us give thanks

to anyone who evokes in us

one drop of pure love,

a rare “commodity” in the universe.


Street Album

by Claire J. Baker

Wish all possessed

a photograph of

the moment

someone’s eyes

meet our own —

that silvery silence

when both accept,

let be.


Heart Universal

by Joan Clair

In no other heart

do I belong.

Heart universal

is my home.


 

 

“Could you please help?” Robert Terrell photo

“Could you please help?” Robert Terrell photo

Gimme Some Truth

“I’ve had enough of reading things by neurotic psychotic pigheaded politicians.

All I want is the truth, just give me some truth.” — John Lennon

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”   — Thomas Jefferson

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” — Mark Twain


 

Drop Your Heads and Weep

by Judy Joy Jones

drop your heads and weep

for the homeless

found frozen on the streets

 

while we laid

in our cozy little beds

all warm and fed

with dollar signs

dancin’ thru our heads

 

who will hear our own

blood curdling screams

as we die freezing

on the streets

 

will one person leave

their warm homes

to claim our no-name bodies

at the city morgue’s doors

 

oh people

please drop your heads

and weep

and weep

and weep

 

for the homeless

found frozen

all over our streets

 

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.