"Faux Street Revisited." The viewpoint of a homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk as passers-by hurry past and ignore her. Painting by Christine Hanlon, oil on canvas

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the homeless man’s blood soaked feet

by Judy Jones

i saw the homeless man
sitting in the street
and i went to him gently touching
his swollen blood soaked feet
washing them with my teardrops
and drying them with my hair
without a word his eyes said to me
all the sorrows his well worn soul
hath endured thru eternity
and i promised once again
to never sleep completely
while one person on earth
is homeless hungry
and dying alone
i saw the homeless man
sitting in the street

“Multitudinous Seas”

(for the deceased homeless)

by Claire J. Baker

What a midnight, what a dawn!
We hadn’t said Hello correctly
before more homeless sank, were gone
into midnight beyond the dawn —
another generation coming on
like ravaged boats upon the sea.
What a midnight, what a dawn —
how to say Goodbye correctly.

Crimes of Habit

by Dee Allen

(for Sarah Menefee)
It is unlawful to SIT
On statues
On hydrants
On curbs
On stone fences
Near fountains
City government declares
public property.
It is illegal to LIE
Down on stairs
On sidewalks
On park lawns
On bus stop benches
In doorways after business hours
City government considers such
public acts blight.
But where else can a world-weary
Body searching for a warm spot
Free from harassment go to
Liberate their feet? Momentarily
Liberate their shoulders & back
From the bearing weight of
Only possessions? What else can
They do when even
Prison-like shelters won’t let them
New police chief
Wants natural reflexes, habits
To be punitive crimes.

Genocide of the poorest of the poor

by Judy Jones

genocide of the poorest of the poor
in the USA
is happening before our eyes
armed guards hired
to keep starving people
from having food to eat
and keepin em
from being able
to sit or sleep
police keep them
walking all night
until they die on their feet
genocide of the poorest of the poor
is happening before our eyes
the homeless are
being tortured to death
without sleep food and homes
their spirits die
long before their bodies
meet their demise
history will remember
the genocide of the
poorest of the poor
in the USA
as the most vicious and brutal
this country will have ever known
genocide of the poorest of the poor
in the USA


by Claire J. Baker

What was it—booze, drugs, love gone
wrong, song gone sour, poisonous
servings of war, rotten sanity,
misbegotten Wall Street bankers,
holes in the human safety net
that you, lovely lady, handsome man,
retreated to the ghetto?
Sidewalks don’t converse
with each other or with you,
don’t restore footing when you fall,
quickly consider one dust, debris,
disgraceful, grime, a mess.
Man & woman once primed
for survival, now without a face.

Doesn’t Anybody Hear

by Judy Jones

doesn’t anybody hear
the cries screams and moans
of the homeless dying in our streets
i called the police
and they sent a squad
forcing the poor to move
or go to jail
i called the hospitals
and they said
no beds could be had
for those with no green cash
i called the churches
and heard their voice machines say
“please leave your name
number and we will get back
to you as soon as we can”
i called the organizations
who service those in need
and they told me
to call the mayor who
would take care of
them all
i called the president
but his office said
he was too busy
to take my call
doesn’t anybody care
doesn’t anybody see
human beings
eating out of garbage cans
left to die before our eyes
can’t you understand
it’s your child mother
father sister and brother
with the worm eaten bodies
you are trampling
on the streets
and it’s you and me
you and me

Mona Lisa of the Streets

by Claire J. Baker

I gave the woman a simple smile,
some dollars, knowing not enough.
Her aura glowed: she once had style.
I gave the woman an open smile
then plowed my way, single file
holding tears, keeping the bluff.
I gave Mona Lisa a knowing smile,
some dollars that were not enough.


by George Wynn

She stumbles
lays with wet leaves
feels the weight
of her heavy backpack
Yes, she’s afraid in the darkness
of Golden Gate Park
Yes, she has her freedom
Her family does not know her
even before they disown her
Mother and father accuse her
of being a bad daughter
She’s been on the move all day
police cracking down on sit/lie laws
she’s tired, oh so tired
big strong trunk of a tree her shelter
she removes her stack of Rumi
books for her pillow for the night
she reflects on the thought: I
like anyone who isn’t judgmental
she dreams of meeting
a man with a sweet soul.

Still Here

by George Wynn

Rain abates upon
cardboard box house
She reflects upon
sad fates
of close friends
Hands folded
in prayer:
Lord give me
strength to persevere
I’m the only
one still here.

to be alive

by Michael Leslie

bright far stars,
cool fall air,
pavement under trees
planted 100 years ago
by those long gone
bodies dissolved
into rocks
indians consider relatives.
u may be active
in your profession,
even well-known
but eventually we age.
mentioned in local
obituary —
doctors, housewives,
greatly missed.
they had to be
someone as
homeless ordinarily
aren’t mentioned!

The Mendicant Wonders

(almost outloud)

by Claire J. Baker

having survived the night,
how to reflect on his life
& not find a scrap of mirror
too dull or far too bright.

Last Visit

by Cassandra Dallett

It was a jailhouse visit
he says, one of many.
He’d been from county to the pen
Rita to Quentin, with no plans for change.
On this day the mother of his three kids
brought his daughter,
she was little still,
cherubic in pink, a cocoa cutie,
eyes giant brown, a wide melting smile.
Though he’d been running the streets
and paying the price all her life and before it,
she was Daddy’s girl.
The visit was through glass
a greasy telephone on either side.
The girl’s mom held her
put the receiver into her hand
she told Daddy she loved him
in small smiling words,
when she was done
her mom took the phone back.
His daughter stood on her own
examined the wall  separating her
from her father’s lap.
She couldn’t get around it,
her fingers pried into hard corners.
She could not touch, get close enough
for him to swing her little body up
and into his muscular embrace
to feel his kisses cover her face.
Frowning she started to pull at the steel counter
to bang on the shatterproof glass
when it did not give she began to scream
with her whole voice box she screamed
and screamed “I want my Daddy,
give me my Daddy, let my Daddy out!”
and no one could calm her
or get him out
of the box.