Sidewalk Angels

by Carol Denney

there are angels sitting cross-legged
on the sidewalk
at the corner of go home and move along
looking nothing like the way your mother told you
looking square at seeing Monday all week long
the pavement’s not as hard as all the faces
of the people all the angels watch go by
but they’re watching just the way
your mother told you
from the saddest little corner of their eye
there are angels sitting cross-legged
by the storefront
and they can’t afford a single thing inside
maybe just misspend their money if they had some
the way they’ve spent their crazy sorry lives
they are family on the street like any other
though for people walking by it’s hard to see
angels can be bucketsful of trouble
kind of like it was for you and me
sidewalk angels sidewalk angels
sidewalk angels sidewalk angels
there are two pills left they’re going to
share between them
and a bottle of the stuff they had last night
if you didn’t know you’d think it was a party
and sometimes for a moment you’d be right
a kind word and a joke makes up for weather
an ordinary miracle or two
someone walking by who doesn’t hate them
someone walking by who’s been there too
there are angels sitting cross-legged
on the sidewalk
trading stories and confessions and some lies
trading cigarettes and sandwiches and comfort
with their whole lives in their little angel eyes
angels who look nothing like the pictures
in the big museum paintings on a wall
hoping there’s somebody who remembers
how far a little angel child can fall
sidewalk angels sidewalk angels
sidewalk angels sidewalk angels


by George Wynn

Just arrived from
a Guatamalan village
he tells me in the
soup kitchen
he has four
Tengo quatro nietos
Yo soy muy orgulloso de
ser un abuelo
I am very proud
to be a grandfather
He’s lost and terrified
outside the Tenderloin
Unable to string together
anything resembling a
sentence in English
In the evening
I see him hunched
over dragging a
shopping cart along
I ask him —
a bony man —
if he’s hurting
“No senor.”
He says he’s strong
feels no pain
He says he misses
hearing his grandchildren
call him abuelo
He bids me
una buena noche
and I bid
him a good night
as well
before he makes
a turn and
prepares his bedding
for the chill
in a garbage-strewn

“Dumpster Dive” An angel visits the desolate streets frequented by the hungry and homeless. Art by Jonathan Burstein



by Jack Bragen

Society is playing hardball against
disadvantaged people.
And the hangman’s noose is looming near.
Society is trying to squeeze out anyone
deemed unfit.
And institutional living is drawing near.
Society says, “We can’t have people
in wheelchairs here.”
And the conspiracy is becoming clear.
People higher up say, “You can’t go to
our Starbucks here.”
And they point a finger and say “get out of here.”
The President says, “We’re spying on you.”
“Your phone conversations we gotta hear.”
Society says, “You disabled people get out.”
And the hangman’s noose is looming near.

Pioneer of the Streets

by Claire J. Baker

My spirit has a life
all it own, rebellious,
It has pushed me onto
a steep mountain path
toward a summit I’d not
pictured myself tackling.
But here I climb,
tilted forward,
breath short.
Will I reach the peak
whose shadow brushes me?
My hands grip the air
morning, noon & night,
prepare to climb the sky,
hold on, hold tight.

Feels Golden

by Claire J. Baker

innermost thoughts
once realized as
“innermost” are wiser
left unexpressed
until refined
however long it takes
into golden phrases we
then cannot keep from
whispering or writing.

Emphasis on Soul

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.

Nothing Stops On The Streets

(from an older woman)

by Claire J. Baker

I’ve born some healthy kids.
Now I no longer ovulate.
Yet, every month in need,
my lower belly aches
as if pushing out a seed.
Nothing stops on the skids.
I  smile, ready to embrace
that strange little pain.
Hope you don’t mind knowin’.
And hope it doesn’t rain.