the children are gone

by Randy Fingland

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


by Joan Clair

“Their transgressions, even all their sins…he shall put upon the head of the goat and shall send him away into the wilderness.” — Leviticus
I feel the weight of collective sin in the soup
kitchen, not to be escaped on the crushed
shoulders of those eating silently there,
eating the lie they have nothing to share,
a bread so heavy it hasn’t the leaven
to lift their souls to a new haven.
I smell wafts of scapegoats in the air.
And there are those who would do more
than allow a few to feed
the bodies and souls of those in need.
To solve the plight of those they want unseen
they’d drive them entirely out of sight
from their solitary ghettos
into the wilderness
bearing all our sins.

San Francisco History

by George Wynn

San Franciscans dance to the tune
of “Homelessness by the Bay”
on the retro jukebox
with their eyes closed:
in spite of all City Hall’s
boasts and toasts
we still have the highest
percentage of homeless
people per population
of any city in the nation
It’s 2013 and still
the drained and pained
unhoused battalions
of brokenhearted
shopping cart
soldiers come and go
It’s still the same old song
with very little
being done about the wrong

Jesus Is Watching

by Judy Joy Jones

money changers
money lenders
one day Jesus will return
and those who did nothing
to help the dying poor
will try and hide
but their doors will be barred
and all their money burned
in return for their
hearts of stone
that allowed
the poorest of the poor
to starve before their eyes
money changers
money lenders

A man sleeps on a bench at Oakland City Hall Plaza, one of the thousands of homeless people in the East Bay. Tome Lowe photo


Is It a Crime?

by Claire J. Baker

Is it a crime not to be rich?
Is it a crime to fall into chasms?
A crime that brain synapses misfire,
shock one into depression?
Shouldn’t work places be made
more safe and places to work
more available?
One gets ill, disabled, beaten up,
goofy from being scoffed/ignored.
Is sensitivity, too, a crime?
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:
“Build thee more stately mansions
O my soul.” Surely the emphasis
is on SOUL.

In Praise of Older Hungry Women

by George Wynn

In my San Francisco of the 1950s
older ladies wore gloves
shopping at the Emporium
Now we see on Market Street
older ladies with outstretched palms
and worn-out clothes with cardboard
“give what you can” calling cards
in front of them reminding us of
Dorothea Lange’s ruined women
of the Great Depression
If you and I enter a trance
to escape the image of
their present circumstance
and go back in time we might see
young dreamy faces even after
a hard day’s work on the factory line
or young hearts sore but full of fight
after a long day of blows on
a post-war picket line
Who knows, we just might get a
true picture of their elegance

lepers of the usa

by Judy Joy Jones

would you sit by me
if I had no home
or have me colonized away
a “leper” of the usa
would you take me
in your arms and weep
if you found
an untouchable like me
murdered on your streets
would you come
to the city morgue
to collect my no name ashes
one of society’s throwaways

“see I have carved you
out of the palm of my hand
you are precious to me”
must have been written
for someone else
not the lower caste like me
tonight if I’m lucky I’ll die
and won’t be a piece
of garbage beneath your feet
that no one wants to see
would you sit by me
if I had no home
or have me colonized away
a “leper” of the usa