A homeless man and his dog hope for food in San Francisco. Robert L. Terrell photo


Street Takes Toll Fast

by George Wynn

Young woman
realizes her dream
becomes a beauty queen
thinks she has it made
after a decade
of depression and rage
she dies of old age
on the street

The First-Time Homeless:

by Claire J. Baker

They need to decide on:
what corners
which benches
overnite shelters
sidewalk vents
possible doorways
unhoused buildings
darkest alleyways
safety nets (if any)
volunteer services
soup kitchens
when to speak
when to shut up
when & where to sleep
rainy day overheads
Beyond key decisions
there’s not much to do
but wait a century
for social change
or get a fab job
though none are

the children are gone

by Randy Fingla

guarantee ceasefires
but the burning continues
the rainforests
the icecaps
scorched smiles branded
on dead infant faces
unreported on conglomerate TV
everywhere the hunger
of the impoverished
who die young
for the same reason

A homeless woman endures a rainstorm on a wet, cold sidewalk in San Francisco. Robert L. Terrell photo


After Barbara’s Sermon

by Claire J. Baker

“Shine, dear one, shine” —
a phrase one might whisper
to a hurt lover,
to a homeless mother,
to a baby at christening,
to a friend who has
just passed on.
Or this is a phrase to keep
within, near the surface
to kindle kindness, like
hear me, believe me
when my eyes urge,
“Shine, dear one, shine.”


Man Alive

by George Wynn

Wind roars
he clutches blankets
between two closed doors
God make it pause
Out of the blue
college notebooks flash
What it’s like being homeless?
Try it you won’t like it
Anyway jive ass grad
students  mean well
You gotta be crazy
or piss poor or both
Why don’t they scream it
between this damn howling wind?
Man alive I wish this was a dream
anyway thank you God
for making the wind stop