Tag Archives: Claire J. Baker

What if They Gave a War and Nobody Paid?

The government needs us to pay our taxes to cover the cost of soldiers, bombs, guns, planes and aircraft carriers. At what point do we the people refuse to cooperate with these immoral, illegal and senseless wars? The government cannot fight these wars without our tax dollars and moral support.

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The Flower Girl

Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin believed/ “Beauty will save the world.”/ By taking beauty to the shelter,/your flowers saved one part of it./ You smile in the spirit of Don Quixote:/ Free flowers for the poor/ could subvert the whole economy,/ beauty could ruin the banking system,/ kindness could wreck capitalism.

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The Shelter of Love

What about street dogs,/ the soft undersides of paws/ laid at night/ upon face or arm/ warding off cold & harm./ Dogs with hungry sorrowful/ eyes will gaze into our own./ If we have zero food/ to offer, not even a bone,/ a dog still claims us,/ downtrodden as we are,/ as his home.

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Strong and Unbound Wings

We think of you/ long on the streets/ a titanium brace in your bad leg,/ sighing at pain, yet uncomplaining/ like a statue of marble or bronze./ One day, Mike, may you glide/ from your sidewalk perch/ as if you were always a bird,/ and now at last your wings/ are strong, unbound.

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Blues for the Homeless

I am amazed at some homeless elders’ carts,/ blankets and clothes in neat folds,/ layers of grace in intricate space,/ Crimes of legalized hate,/ may take the carts of the homeless away/ but cannot separate them from God/ whose home is in their heart/ with or without a shopping cart.

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January Poetry of the Streets

70 and Determined by George Wynn It’s strange to be an old man and begging for spare change and the coins don’t give you any new joy. At seventy you’re restless and depressed you fear the road but anything rather than face another day in the city by the bay. You pack your bag start […]

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October Poetry of the Streets

The common people should be free/ to lie on public commons grass/ in a democracy/ whether the sun is up,/ whether the sun is down,/ whether it’s day or night/ they should not be put to flight/ the common people should be free/ to lie on public commons grass/ in a democracy.

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Poets Ask: “Why War?”

Poetry reveals the seen and unseen, hidden casualties of U.S. wars at home and overseas. “America zips down prayers/ and buttons up wars/ with battalions of/ impoverished youngsters/ duped into dying for dreams./ America indoctrinates/ then shames us/ for believing her spin./ ‘Opportunity,’ she sings,/ hiding our dead from view.”

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Prayers and Poems from a Shelter

“today at social security i did see/ a man shaking so badly he couldn’t stand/ telling everyone he just got out of jail/ and needed a hand/ he had no teeth/ and looking in his eyes/ i could see he was in a place/ few on earth see”

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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.