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Poetry Collections


Fine Crystal

Music like fine crystal
On gritty streets:
Men dozing in doorways,
Shopping carts crammed with ragged treasures.
A blonde woman,
Collar bones like razor blades,
White arms gleaming with bracelets,
Bows her violin with sweeping strokes,
Gaunt body waltzing,
Pale eyes luminous
In the glistening morning.
She finishes, and I applaud,
Ask where she learned to play.
“I’ve been playing since I was six.”
I’ve had some great teachers.”
Her voice breathless,
A happy child’s.
Her name is Sonya.
She asks for $20
For a new violin string.
I smile, hand her $2.
“God bless you.”
She tucks the money inside her yellow dress,
Then begins a Chopin piece,
Closing her eyes,
Whirling about.

Later I find out
Sonya is dying of AIDS.

In Cold Blood

Sarah Swift Hawk
Descendent of the proud Lakota
Lords of the plains
Froze to death in her daughter’s house
On the Rosebud Sioux Reservation
Sunday morning

Unable to afford both light and heat
She chose light and froze to death

One of her neighbors
Burned all their furniture to survive
Another burned some of their clothes

Sarah Swift Hawk
Mother, grandmother, respected elder
Froze to death Sunday morning
In this rich land

supernatural sanctity
by Judy Jones
an old beggar
on the street did i see
pushing all he owned
in his ol’ grocery cart home

weary swollen feet
hadn’t a bite to eat

on the beggar’s
grave will read
he led a life of
supernatural sanctity

LA streets

Time to take stock of my situation:
sleeping on a black-hearted alcoholic’s
natty, cigarette-burned couch
watching him swill vodka all week,
day and night, hour after hour.
It’s a neck and neck race whether he will
lose his liver or his VA job first.

His whole carpet-rotting, black mold-walled apartment
is a hepatitis petri dish
and I’m stealing his cigarettes,
leaving the butts in a pile on the floor
near his passed-out hand
so he’ll drunkenly think HE
smoked them.

My only alternative
at the moment
is to move onto the North Hollywood bean bag
of an unemployed actor
who talks about seeing and talking to
Jesus and Marilyn Monroe
(at an increasingly alarming rate)
while staring blankly at the ceiling
and snipping some rather large, ominous scissors
in my direction
and saying stuff like:
“Jesus told me today
that I should get rid of
the evil people…”

My main source of income—
a hooker I drive
in the car that I live in
to her john appointments- —
just got busted for impersonating a dead woman
who came to life yesterday and called the police.

The DMV villain
who sold my hooker the dead identity
cut a few corners
and the dead woman
was surprised to find out
that she had just bought a new Jeep.

And still I’m homeless;
the result of choices I made,
and people I hang out around.
But before you question my judgment,
my friend,
remember this:
I chose you, too.

She left her home in her early teens,
In torn shirt and faded jeans.
Looking for the love she was never given,
Away from her family she was finally driven.
She sits by the fountain every day,
Her lovely young face looking cold and grey.
Her sad blue eyes slowly searching around,
Looking for coins dropped on the ground.

With pleading eyes she holds out a hand,
In pouring rain for hours she will stand.
All she wants is a lttle respite,
And something warm for her teeth to bite.

Uncaring people pass her by,
They see her plight and wonder why,
So young a person has no home,
And around the streets aimlessly roam.

Addicts and prostitutes, she knows them all,
They tell her the dangers, if her pride should fall.
Often tempted, her back to the wall,
When deep inside she hears a call.

Her bed is a box propped in a door,
Often her body is tender and sore.
But when she sees those ever so younger,
She forgers the pain caused by hunger.

Up to the skies she will often look,
Remembering words she read in a book.
The meaning now she can clearly see,
“Suffer little children to come unto me”.

John McKay Withey

A homeless man
In trash barrels
And envies
People who look down on him
With scorn
As they hurry home
To their evening meals.

He crouches
In a rat infested corner,
Content to be with creatures
That don’t cringe
At the sight of him.

Homeless Creed
by Benjamin T. Fisher II
Homeless that’s what they call us
They say we have no home
Because we live out on the streets
And choose to drift and roam

But, homeless is that what we truly are
Who knows maybe it is
But what about the heroes
The women and the kids

They say we chose this life of freedom
To live out on our own
To sleep beneath the stars at night
To live our lives alone

Webster says a home’s is just a domicile
A place to live, a house
If that’s all it really is
Then I know I can live without

Some say its where your heart is
And we pray that this is true
Cause some of us have spilt our blood
And it was red and white and blue

Some say that we are crazy
That we sold our souls to cheap
Because we’ll sell our bodies
Just so our kids can eat

But If you think we choose this life
Then its you who’s lost your mind
To suggest we woke up one morning
And said I’ll leave it all behind

To live the life of a prostitute,
An addict, or a drunk
To wear the same clothes every day
That we carry in a trunk

To Sell our bodies like a piece of meat
Because we cannot cope
To beg all day every day
Just to buy the dope

To watch the people laugh at us
That look right into our face
Who forget that we are there
Unless we’re in their space

Like when we beg for food
Or break into their house
To still a million dollars
More like a sandwich or a blouse

Well there now we have it
The materialistic chain
That wraps around your human heart
Depriving oxygen to your brain

Making you think that we are homeless
Because your blind and cannot see
That a home is where your family is
And we are all your family

We might be sick and tired
We may be down and out
But were still the long lost relatives
This world tries to forget about
Benjamin T. Fisher II

Henry Burt Stevens 3/15/2003

Years, years of road

thought I’d found it many times

still walking, looking

Lost most my strength

but got my tent

got my freedom

no bosses dissing me

no family pissing me

Sure, They say I’ve

made bad choices

They didn’t want to

help me then, still don’t

I’m cold I ache

but still I’m walking

God, I could use a

shower and some

one to talk to

by Tony Channing
Thursday, December 19, 2002

A December eve chilly and dark
She sits alone in a mall
Her dog asleep too weak to bark
Strumming her guitar to all

Shoppers laden with gifts walk past
She has no money to live
She’s treated as a lower caste
No one wants to give

A tear flows down her grubby cheek
A sigh, a shudder, a whimper
She holds her hand out feeble and weak
Smiles at each passer by’s simper

Church bells ring, a distant peal
Singers sing in refrain
Slowly she begins to kneel
And prays in the freezing rain

How does it feel to be homeless person?
No places to come home to,
No place to have a good night sleep,
No place to call your home, your own sweet home.

How would you survive?
Pushing lifelong belongings in a cart,
Sleeping in cold nights bundled in a jacket in the park,
Wishing everyday for a nice meal and a hot bath.

A quarter and a buck donation by a few everyday,
Does not bring my self esteem to a cheerful high,
Once I was a happy hard working person,
Now with the lack of work and money, I am hopelessly depressed.

People think we all homeless people are drunk and mentally insane,
Try being homeless for a night, you will probably understand,
Trying to cope with this misery makes us insane,
Still we have hope and someday we will come out of it with the community help.

Who Am I? Your sister or brother, your
Mother or father, your daughter or your son.
I am homeless. Black or white, red or
brown, I walk the streets all day looking
just to make it. Through the day people look
at me and stand back to their friends and
talk about me, about how I look and how I
smell, never knowing the real person that is
inside of me. As you watch your TV and
play your tapes, I try to stay warm on very
cold days. When you are warm in your
home, I am homeless. As you sleep at night
in your nice warm bed I am trying to sleep
anywhere I can’ rooftops and doorways,
park benches and so on.

The homeless

Ten men clamber out of the creaking van,
Their sweaty bodies meeting a kiss
Of cool night air.
They drift, silently, sullenly
Toward the darkened church.
Mattresses lie, two or three to a room,
Along walls decorated with children’s
Drawings and almost casual crucifixions.
Carl, Eddie, Jake and the others
Throw their worn packs and bags
Onto the makeshift beds, and John,
It’s always John, is first to ask
If he can have his sack lunch now,
Not in the morning as we had planned.
“Sure,” I say, almost as anxious as he
To assuage this remediable hunger.
Several echo John, and soon all
Are feasting on pb and j; apples, celery,
And other healthy fare remains on the table,
But they’re happier now, even communicative.
One thanks me for setting a new pair of white socks
On each mattress. Another offers a juice cup
To a friend. “Lights out!” Rick calls at ten,
And no one argues, no one hesitates. Sleep
Knits once more the raveled sleeve of care,
Obliterates the hurt, soothes the jangled nerves.
Tomorrow will be another day,
Another cheerless day embroidered
With small triumphs, fragile dreams.

Don Foran

One check away

twinkling stars cant keep you warm
when your sleeping in the park till he break of dawn
newspaper pillow and a plastic tarp
watching for he pigs that come out after dark

lost your job got jacked and robbed
your landlord said thats not my prob
doctor bills kill you cant afford the pills
now youre shaking heart breaking drink as much as you spill

waiting on the first to quench your thirst
alleviate the discomfort of an asphalt earth
trying to find a shelter to get some rest
but nowhere seems safe without a knife proof vest

if you could just get back to square one
start to heal the disease thats got you on the run
feeling invisible going insane
scowls and nightsticks fall like rain

James Chionsini

Busy-busy, but here I am again.

I’ve been (among 97 other things) preparing
the text of a new collection, scheduled for August
from WordTech’s Cherry Grove imprint.

This turns out to be a relatively brief
gathering of 50-some poems, with lots
left out for the sake of unified effect.

Which leaves quite a few pieces shivering,
feeling rejected by the very hand
that made them. So I thought I’d put
one or more out on the Blog now or then,
to make amends.

How come the following choice failed to be
chosen? Well, it’s hard out here for a poem.


The teacher who would show us how to sky
assumes we’ve known intricacies of pain,
have tumbled through the razor-vats of woe
respectfully, and slow.

At first this skying master has us slay
rage-monsters, cut the snake-vines of desire,
lead ignorance a way toward skillful means
as tamer of the hunger and the fire.

Such fasting done, the higher arts begin:
to practice laughter at the rage of thought
and sense how borrowed is this shroud our skin,
rapt tourists of the Emptiness we’re in

where only loss of lust releases love.
Gone groundless through the bliss we’re students of
we leave the formal coffins of the eye,
at last at one with sky, and sky, and sky!


Homeless Night
© By Rodney E. Penilton

In the darkness, I saw four people,
huddled beneath a gazebo in a park downtown;
as I sat feeling depressed about my life, I watched and
saw the broad shoulders of a man reaching for the gentle form
of a woman, as she pulled thin covers over the small frames of two
children, as they lifted theirs heads for a good night kiss.

In that moment, I saw love amidst struggle, hope come from despair and
Loyalty bred of trust.

As the children lay in the arms of the night and the wind, Mother and Father held one another and watched as shadows passed, and dust and leaves did their dance.

‘ Imagine the anguish, anguish of our babies sleeping in the park beneath the stars,
with no home other than those found each night.’

Tears unseen and questions unanswered, the children know that this is not the way it should be as they watch other kids in new, clean clothes and cool shoes, thinking to themselves, ‘ The stares don’t matter, because mommy said they don’t and daddy promised things will get better.’

‘Maybe my sister ? No. ‘
‘My aunt ? How would we get them there ‘
‘My mother ? She is too old.’
‘Baby, I just don’t know.’

‘Something has to happen, has to change, they deserve better than this.
Baby , I know, we’ll figure something out tomorrow.’

Tell Me

There are many people who spend their nights
on the subway trains. Often one encounters
them on the morning commute, settled in corners,
coats over their heads, ragged possessions heaped
around themselves, trying to remain in their own night.

This man was already up, bracing himself against
the motion of the train as he folded his blanket
the way my mother taught me, and donned his antique blazer,
his elderly, sleep-soft eyes checking for the total effect.

Whoever you are-tell me what unforgiving series
of moments has added up to this one: a man
making himself presentable to the world in front
of the world, as if life has revealed to him the secret
that all our secrets from one another are imaginary.

My First And Last Poem For Christ

The Christians arrived today, just as they always do every Saturday night to feed

the homeless.

I’d truly forgotten what it’s

to eat a holiday meal.

It was a Memorial Day weekend
inside cook-out.
Hot dogs with baked beans,
collared greens,
and mashed potatoes with plenty of

beef gravy.

The Christians are
like clock-work.

They make certain everyone’s dish is
piled high
and that every man gets
seconds and sometimes


The Christians never ask
for anything in return
except for a thank you
and a hearty handshake
as hearty as –

the dinner.

I know they secretly wish they
could save some
of us along the way,
as any practicing Christian might
be inclined

to do.

They’re all hoping we’ll eventually
see the light,
and come –

to Jesus.

And although none of
the men,
including me,
may ever accept Jesus Christ as
a personal Lord and Savior,
what with all the beans they
fed us,
a good amount of us may
very well see plenty of
lights flashing on and off late
while shouting Christ’s
name –

out loud.
The Kickback

The charitable people from
the church
come into the shelter
once a month
to spread The Word of The Lord,
treat us to some decent
and catch a few ounces of
gratitude –

for themselves.

Once in awhile,
it serves a Christian right
to give a little to
the needy,
and see how the other half
just a little

each day.


i’m homeless

you ask me why i’m homeless
a fact i can’t deny
you wonder why i sit relaxed
in thought, and simply sigh

when i was born, my mother
a poor but wise young child decided i’d be
better raised
among the meek and mild

so off i went without her
a bouncing place to place
was ten long years and many homes
before i saw her face

and still she left me out there
disjointed from her life and as i grew i always
i’d always have this strife


A homeless dude pushes his shopping cart

A homeless dude pushes his shopping cart.
He scrapes along, panhandling for a buck.
His doglike face displays his rotten luck.
By looks and taunts he’ll ‘vance his filthy art.
My eyes ahead i’m trying to pretend
i cannot see; i haven’t what he wants.
And walking on, and feigning nonchalance,
From out his grasp my path i hope to wend.
We’re more alike, the dirty thief and i,
Than either me or he are like to say.
For while his street’s a toilet, mine’s an ashtray
And neither will lift a finger to get him by.

Except the Lord commands to each a task,
A simple one: to give to all who ask.


Beggars Union

Around a burning barrel,
underneath the interstate,
dwell the broken outcasts,
in a coven of disgrace.

From within the shattered buildings,
or inside abandoned cars,
hear the chorus’ of suffering,
unaccompanied by guitars.



I don’t want your damn pity!
life is hard enough
in this cold, dark city

Sure, I may be homeless
and you may not like the way I look
but that doesn’t make me
a crack head or a crook

What I really want
is for you to accept
that I’m a fellow human being
who deserves some respect

I’m here for reasons
you may never understand
but please don’t think me subhuman
as I walk this barren land

You who sit in your nice, warm house
and drive around in fancy cars
should know about the cold, hard truth
that made us what we are

Women who were beaten
and couldn’t take it anymore
men having a hard time
’cause they fought in a war

Some who have fallen
right between the cracks
who could use a little help
but the services, they lack

Take a good look in the mirror
and the next time that you do
think about what it would be like
if I were to become you!
copyright 3/00 – J. Michigaus

Cries Of The Homeless

Our pleas have gone unnoticed.
Our voices are unknown.
We roam the alley’s and your streets,
While searching for a home.

Our mouths do not know the taste
Of food that’s off a plate.
We depend on scraps from others,
After they have ate.

While money’s spent to fight our wars
And build military might,
We, the homeless, struggle on ~
With rags to warm the night.

Our brothers and our sisters
Walk by and only stare,
No kindness offered from their hearts.
The compassion is not there.

Saddened and discouraged,
From disgusted looks we receive,
We see the children laugh and point
At what they do perceive.

They are made believe that we are dirt
And have brought about our woes.
How very wrong for you to think.
How little that you know.

We are part of society, too.
But, we pay the ultimate price
Of having lonely roads to walk,
While governments roll their dice.

Politicians will not face us
Or look us in the eye.
They seem to think we don’t exist
And the problem soon will die.

Know the country is turning it’s back
And ignoring human rights
While we, the homeless, try to survive;
So weak we cannot fight.

Priorities appear to get mixed up
When juggled by a few.
Politicians who long for nothing,
They’re so shiny and brand new.

The art museum must be given a grant
To continue its marvelous work.
The elite would not know what to do,
To satisfy their quirk.

Let’s not forget the pilot study.
Should we build a road through there?
Spend that money foolishly.
Governments simply don’t care.

And, don’t forget to toss more money
To renovate some old house;
The importance of who lived there, once,
And the interest it would arouse.

These are a few of our misspent dollars,
Being laid and put to rest.
Sadly enough, these politicians
All think it’s for the best.

The words that I am trying to say
Are meant to open some eyes.
When governments say they’re doing their best,
That’s nothing but a lie!

So take a look around you,
At where these grants should go.
Take the homeless off cold streets.
Let’s warm their hearts and soul.

Thinking Homelessly

I am hungry and dirty

I wonder if I’ll ever get a home

I hear crickets chirping

I see me living on the streets forever

I want a loving family

I am hungry and dirty

I pretend to have a friend

I feel sad and lonely

I touch a full and tasty meal

I worry I’m not going to be here tomorrow

I cry about being lonely

I am hungry and dirty

I understand I don’t have any money

I say I will make it some day

I dream of living in a house with a family

I try to make friends

I hope my life change one day

I am hungry and dirty

By Chauntreal


I am lonely and scared

I wonder will I be safe until the next day

I hear complete silence

I see total darkness

I want a family to take care of me

I am lonely and scared

I pretend to be very rich

I feel very satisfied

I touch but can not feel

I worry that someone would attack me

I cry when I see other kids with their family

I am lonely and scared

I understand that God will make a way for me

I say thank you Jesus

I dream I would get out of the streets

I try to keep strong and survive

I hope I find a family

I am lonely and scared

Poem By: Charles
Homeless Poem

I am homeless and dirty

I wonder if I will ever have a home

I hear loud sound

I see a home in front of me

I want a home

I am homeless and dirty

I pretend I got food

I feel a soft bed to lay in

I touch but I can’t feel

I worry about someone coming to kill me

I cry about an home

I am homeless and dirty

I understand that I need money and a home

I say I will get a home

I dream that I have a home

I try to imagine some money and a home

I hope I get a car

I am homeless and dirty

By: Clyde


I Long Alone

The street, an endless pit.
The trash, a fearsome guard
over odors of garbage.
The old woman has watched her nights
grow in bitterness. Her head is scarcely
shielded from the close, sterile glances.
She has long been alone
with her hand’s time-worn gesture.
The nights cut with the keenness
of serrated metal and she clutches her dreams
tied tightly into a little bundle to defy
the surliness of their jagged edges.

Morning falls like a burial slab.

II Disinherited

They absorbed you in the distant cities,
and threw you…


As I looked down the street,
in an area quite bleak.
I wondered why this had to be,
Cardboard boxes along the street.
Blankets keeping bodies warm,
from the elements of the storm.

I’m sure you know what I mean,
the homeless, why does this have to be?
Where did they give up there hope,
of ever rising to the top.

Many had jobs at one time,
lived in a home with plenty of pride.
All of a sudden life took a turn,
and down they went with no return.

The soldier who came back from the war,
His mind torn from all he had saw.
Finds himself in this place,
because, he could no longer find peace.

Woman and children surviving there,
Has anyone asked how they got there.
Probably not, because we often don’t care.

Drugs and abuse are often the cause,
their minds not thinking about anything at all.
They find ways to survive,
But often lose there lives in the try.

The mind torn with mental disease
how did this happen, can they be set free.
Medicine they take and up they climb,
but down they go because they haven’t a dime.

Is there an answer, I just don’t know,
I wish somehow, they could all have a home.


Homeless Man

Homeless man crouched on the sidewalk,
A penny all he pleases
Passers buy
Homeless man crouched so lonely.

Shirts are rags with various holes,
It’s a white shirt now looking as gray as a raccoon’s fur.
Homeless man crouched so lonely

His beard twisted, turned, and twined
His face is filthy, covered in dirt like a soldier camouflaged in the bush
The man’s arms and legs are dry as dust
Homeless man crouched so lonely.

The homeless man such a simple man
With no worldly possessions, Except the heart of a man
The homeless man crouched so lonely.

By Shaheed Mohamed


May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your urologist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the taxman
May your hair, your teeth, your abs, your stocks not fall
And may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise
Mau New Year’s eve find you seated around the table with people who care about you
May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night
May you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them
May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes and tell the world about your virtues
May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner
May the commercials on TV not be louder that the program you have been watching and may your check book and your budget balance and include generous amounts for charity
May you remember to say “I love you” at least once a day to your closest friend, your children, your spouse
And may we live in a world at peace and with awareness of Gods love in every sunset, every flowers unfolding petals, every baby’s smile and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of your heart

Prophets in rags
their property in plastic bags
wine bottles in their hands
walking in our streets
sitting at corners
written messages
open hands

Prophets in rags
searching our dustbins
for food
not looking for anybody
not caring
for anything

Prophets in rags
sleeping in our car parks
cooking on open fires
their food

Prophets in rags
dying in cold winter nights
alone, somewhere
very near

Prophets in rags
many more of them
not far away

You are the God of the poor,
The human and simple God,
The God who sweats in the street,
The God with the weather-beaten face,
That’s why I can talk to you
The way I talk with my people,
Because you are the God of the worker
And Christ is a worker, too.

You go hand in hand with my people,
You struggle in countryside and town,
You line up in the work camp
To get your daily wage.
You eat snowcones there in the park
With Eusebio, Pancho, and Juan Jose.
You even complain about the syrup
When they don’t give you much honey.

I’ve seen you in the grocery store,
Eating in a snack-bar,
I’ve seen you selling lottery tickets
Without being embarrassed about that job.
I’ve seen you in the gas stations
checking the tires of a truck,
and even filling holes along the highway
in old leather gloves and overalls.

Lord, When Did We See You?

I was hungry and starving
and you were full;
and you were watering your garden;
With no road to follow, and without hope,
and you called the police
and were happy they took me prisoner;
Barefoot with ragged clothing,
and you were saying: ‘I have nothing to wear,
tomorrow I will buy something new.’
and you asked, ‘Is it infectious?’
And you said: ‘That is where all those of your class should be.’
Lord, have mercy

sandy mcdonald

God,s Final Draft

The end off the world came swiftly for some,
Others weren,t so prepared,
The gifts they all cherished were fading fast
The Pillars were melting away,
Holding on and spinning fast,everything a blur,
Those last few moments off precious time were about too occur.
Wheres Superman?Wheres Ironman? the icons we adore
Who,s in charge off changing this fate,Don,t they know “who we are”?
Heads will roll,off this Im sure.
Where is our security,the protections we demand?
In case our feeble Empire crashes, where will we safely land?
Accept your fate with humility,is the option some will choose
Coming from these noble beings who shunned both you and me,
Your nobleness is shallow,your courage is but weak,
Your silence cannot protect you,your consciousness will speak,
Whatever does not kill us ,will surely make us strong,
But like all the feeble thoughts we have,
Chances are we’re wrong.