Wounds and Wounds

by Claire J. Baker

Too many street sleepers,
doubly wounded, earned
the nation’s Purple Heart,
even the Bronze Star.
Now they don’t have a home,
a job or a car.
Pavement for a pillow
is as hard as it gets
for these so-called
“residuals of war,”
our vets — cast offs
from Walter Reed
doubled over in need.

Urban Spring

by George Wynn

After the church meal
in the Fillmore
he tells me he often feels
like he’s in a silent movie.
When people see him
coming down the street
carrying duffel bags
and so weary-eyed
almost on the brink
of falling asleep on his feet
they never make a
sound, they only frown
as if they’re sore at him
for being around.
“My self esteem
comes when I dream:
Mama’s face beams with
a delicious smile
then a big hug
It’s my respite from
the real world.”
He rises to leave.
“Happy Spring,” I say.
“Spring,” he laughs
“Spring is only more
urban madness.”
“I’m on my way.”
He flips out his
cardboard sign
highlighted in black:
and walks out the door.

Instead of being honored by their nation, too many veterans become homeless and are ignored when they end up destitute on the streets.

A Good Man

by George Wynn

Homelessness only makes
sense when you live it
he tells me down
around the Cal Train Station
It’s his 80th
and we share a
sunny afternoon beer
and before he departs
he folds his hands
in prayer, “Thank
you God. I’m
still alive,” and waves,
“Thank you pal.

Remembering a Vet on the Street

by George Wynn

A tall man
who handed
out coffee
and a smile
on the street
and never
spoke of
war only
to say
war is stupidity
run by men
all of them
of telling
the truth