War on Poverty

by Claire J. Baker

The war on poverty’s just begun:
yet two steps forward, four steps back.
The losers? City corners stun.
The war on poverty’s just begun?
Yet safety nets are holey or none —
anyone care to really keep track?
The poverty war is just begun —
two steps forward, four steps back.

Evicted Couple in Cheap Hotel

by George Wynn

“You forgot to buy milk!”
he removes his beat up shoes
shoves out his pants pockets—empty
sits down in a blue chair
She shivers in her robe
the old one he hates to see her wear
he eyes the hot plate
at least the smell of
freshly made coffee is inviting
She pours and hands him
a cup of black coffee
Let’s not think about tomorrow
he says or the day after
Or the day beyond that, she says

What Is Enough?

by Joan Clair

I rescue two plants from the garbage
and give them a home,
feel more at home.
I rescue a toy rabbit from the garbage
and give it a home,
feel more at home.
I buy a homeless woman a shopping
cart.  It meets a need,
but doesn’t take her off the street.
Still, I feel more peace.
None of this seems like much,
but what is enough?
I do my best
with what comes to me.
“How can it be that it is not a news item when
an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, 
but is it news when the stock market
loses two points?” — Pope Francis

In the middle of a busy sidewalk, a homeless woman exists in stark isolation, unseen and unnoticed in the middle of crowds of people.



(for the Albany Bulb Dwellers)

by Claire J. Baker

“To be or
not to be?”
There is no question!


Getting Out Time

by George Wynn

Robbie wrote: People often say I have no regrets.
But me, Robbie tensed his black pen,
I have many regrets.
The principal one being the night of
supposedly easy money
with the image glued to my vision
of frightened bank tellers and customers
then my hands clasped behind my head
and all those years
of cellblock journal writing
and being scared at eighteen
of all the threats: “We will
turn you out girlie.”
Now I am finally getting out to a halfway house
and I am quietly hopeful
through the gap in my big pearly front teeth
and the reel of the
night of easy money
never escapes me.