Who Would Believe

by Claire J. Baker
Who would believe that all
week at a slick Senior Center
in a comfortable suburban town
seniors line up at 7:30 a.m.
for food-and-flower handouts
which begin at 9 a.m.?

City Dawning

by Claire J. Baker
A cold city bird can sit
unmolested atop a tower
waiting for city light & warmth,
but a shabby soul can’t rest
on a common city bench for
more than a common city hour.

From a Street Dreamer

by Claire J. Baker
Though hungry & depressed,
I drift and dream
hoping for a private gleam
of easy days, some scheme
secure & silently expressed,
as if I too were blessed
as much as any lucky man.
Every day I drift & dream
amazed that I still can.

Capitalism Devours Dreams

by Sue Ellen Pector
Your hair river waves,
each hand a redwood grove,
steady trunks, your fingers stretch tall.
Lost in budgeting, you stare numbly.
Capitalism devours dreams
you can’t quite taste.
Steadying trembling hands
at troubled brow, you inhale questions.
Slowly exhaling, you slip gently
into sleep,
the only place without hunger.
Inspired by artwork “Grief” by Tiffany Sankary in Street Spirit.

Will America Hold You?

by Sue Ellen Pector
Gazing up from the cold sidewalk,
knees trembling, you press your
feet together tightly for comfort.
The sign you hold says
you have HIV and are hungry.
With lonesome eyes and chilled hands,
tidy hair and thin jacket, you suffer.
Will America hold you?
Inspired by a photo by Robert L.Terrell from Street Spirit.

Trapped in the Realm of the Bureaucracy

by George Wynn
By end of pier
80-year-old man
sits on bench
staring at minute
hand of wrist watch
“Listen George: time
can’t go fast enough
for me.” He nods off
for ten minutes, wakes.
“I’m waiting and praying
for the big sleep.”
“What happened to
your application for
senior housing?”
“Trapped in the realm
of the bureaucracy.”
“Bastards,” I say
“Bastards!” I agree
he says pounding
fists on bench.


by George Wynn
Before the silver
bearded one with
clipboard falls asleep
he writes:
No one smiles here
everyone lost in thought
frustrated years of
waiting for a place
No one likes spending
the night here
This is the space
you go to when city
shelters make you sick
Who would ever want
to sleep on this asphalt without pity?
Who would not want
to leave for a room of their own?