A digital mage of a woman with a baby swaddled around her torso. She holds her arms out to the left and right. In her left hand she holds house keys, and in her right, a pair of handcuffs. The text above her reads "house keys not handcuffs." Below her, text reads "llaves de casa, no esposas"
San Francisco Poster Syndicate/WRAP

Someone please, no really, please help me understand, the oppressive filibuster in San Francisco’s plan. Homeless people being fined for holding out their hand. I have been charged with trespassing for digging in a restaurant garbage can. Just last week my companion was arrested for seeking help, they treated him so terrible out of fear I stay to myself. Being homeless in the Bay Area is not at all good for my health. In California’s Pacific cold my bones ache and rattle, as I lay freezing in the elements, shaking in the shadows. I know you’re familiar with the saying, “up shit creek without a paddle.” Some homeless turn to drugs for pain and declining health, watching from the sidewalk as the upper crust flaunt their wealth. As a homeless person I travel all day, like Huck Finn Tom Sawyer, because property owners call police if I fall asleep in their foyer. No budget to house the homeless, but billions to house the Warriors. 

The inaction and contradictions of city elects is a disgrace. They hate to hear our voices, refuse to see my face. We need a poverty lawyer to plead our case. We grin and bear it, but it gets harder with each passing day, branded undesirable and herded further down the way. If we homeless were immigrants, then what would you say? Declare you’re a sanctuary city, and fight for my right to stay? Draft protection laws to pass before the senate—not one word about the homeless is in it. As billionaires employ agricultural lobbyists to spin it. Create special interest waivers in the vernacular of fallacy, you criminalize the homelessness, yet bend your immigration policy. Millions annually to save the spotted owl, honey bee, and bald eagle; dimes to cure homelessness, because being homeless is illegal.

In the land of the brave how could this be? And where in the F#@K is the “land of the free?” Question: why don’t your sanctuary clause apply to me? A cruel legislative breach within America’s shores. What happen to “give me your tired, your sick and your poor?” Taxes? If I had a penny, why should I pay a penny more? Halliburton received 19.3 billion, do tell what the F#@K FOR? Damn the Big Apple, the whole tree is rotten to the core.

For five years America should change its tone, and utilize our charitable billions here at home. Or must we the homeless dismantle the greedy king’s throne? Perhaps the hypocrite in the White House shouldn’t throw stones, nor eat the flesh of the chicken and feed the homeless feathers and bones. Being homeless is to be denied kindness and labeled John Doe and Nobody Jones. Treated as untouchables and forced into “throw-away zones.” 

Homeless Americans starving while war-barons gloat, selling stealth bombers to themselves, holding tax payers by the throat. Make America Great Again? A coded slogan to gain hate votes. But hungry children can’t eat political quotes.

The people’s trust betrayed and sold, while we homeless are pushed even further down the road. These ugly truths enforced with ordinances and penal codes. City workers confiscated my Walmart box, cared less that it was my humble abode. See what I mean? It’s always some shit. Can’t loiter here, can’t stand there, and can’t sit. If not for my faith and goals I would lay down and quit. 

Nope I can’t do it. I value my life. And I know the penny pinchers would like that: For us to disappear silently and permanently into the cracks. By “quality of life” gestapos and business owner pacts. Cost tax payers $500, for me a one-room shack. Versus 1.9 billion to rebuild Israel and Iraq. Profiteering and corruption disguised as government contracts. Officials creating crisis globally for financial kickbacks. F#@K it, give me a barrel of oil since you won’t buy me a Big Mac. So far, homeless have only gotten placebos and lies from bureaucrats. Pardon me, I have to sit down, I’m getting dizzy from stomach aches, while city planners say: “Let them eat cake.” 

To be included in society, why must it be so tough? I mean damn, a little humanity, are we asking too much? Hot soup, socks and a kind human touch. It would be cheaper to give us house keys, not handcuffs. 

Douglas Levon Dawkins aka Truth N. Poetry is a poet and writer born and raised in the Bay Area. Prior to his incarceration, he was homeless, and says poetry and art have helped him in his lifelong battle with depression. He is currently incarcerated in California.