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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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.