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

 

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.