By Donald Whitehead


There’s nothing worse than the fear and dread

That I feel inside not knowing where the next place

I’ll lay my head

I’m old and I’m tired. I’m filled with pain

Sometimes I can remember nothing, not even my name.


I’m any eyesore to the fat cats that sit on the hill

Trapped in despair against my will

They’re concerned how I got here what mistakes did I make

Without an ounce of compassion, for goodness sake


My situation so tough a bitter pill to swallow

My past so dark, my future so hollow

I pray each day for one more chance

For I am still a human being, just take a glance

Fought in Iwo Jima, the Jungle of Vietnam

The beaches of Normandy, in Iraq across the burning sand

You are you.  Proud and free

Just keep in mind…one day you could be me.



Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #12, Cleveland, OH


By  Jim Perkins


They feed us well,

our government,

ground glass and surplus cheese.

And give us shelter from the storm

of daily basic needs.

But, if instead they helped us

just to stand erect and read,

we could fill our baskets full

with self sufficient seed.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Cleveland, OH


By Matthew Fardel (Grade 4)

Cleveland Public Schools


Homelessness is living

On the streets or under trees,

And picking food out of a garbage can,

Or finding food on your own,

And trying to find a place to live.


I would hate to be homeless.



Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Issue #13, Cleveland, OH


Welfare and food stamps are not for me

I’ve got a career paying big dollars you see

I don’t care I’ve got mine


It started with the family in New Jersey

I didn’t listen and didn’t care

I’ve got mine


She still has milk, bread, and medical care

Now there

I don’t care I’ve got mine


Michigan and Wisconsin have a welfare plan too

Throw them a bone and send them back home

I don’t care I’ve got mine


Other states followed with their untested goals

Not caring about the facts or loopholes

I don’t care I’ve got mine


In Ohio, everything’s not the best

However, in many states it’s much less

I don’t care I’ve got mine


My best friend’s daughter quit her job last week

The minimum wage couldn’t support a family of three

I don’t care I’ve got mine


I see them standing on the corners and the street

With out-stretched hands looking worn and bleak

I don’t care I’ve got mine


What a man what a man

What a really small man Not small in

Size but small about life

The woman has to accept the bull, mess, and stride

I don’t care I’ve got mine


A big pretty car, a gorgeous home

Fur Coats, diamonds, and pearls

I have done everything I need in this world

I don’t care I’ve got mine


Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Issue #11, Cleveland, OH


By Donald Whitehead


Sit down America, lend me your ear

I have a little story that I want you to hear

A story of desperation, starvation and pain

A story of deceit, of values gone insane

The story was once about old men who roamed the nation’s rails.

Now it’s about young women and little girls with pigtails

The steamy plot grows thicker with every passing day

Many become characters, without a thing to say

These new characters live under bridges in cars that never run

In houses made of cardboard,,baking in the sun

Our elected officials are the writers, adding new chapters with every passing day

Carving into big spenders, saying what they’re told to say

It could be a mystery called “Where has the Housing Gone”

But we must call it a tragedy called “The Lie Continues On”

The villains are as plain as day.

They’re the people we elect to pave the way

The ones whose conscience has been bought and tucked away.

This story about people that have no place to call home as they begin growing old

Is written by men who wear trousers that. Have pockets lined in gold!!



Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Issue #16, Cleveland, OH


Mentor, give me a drink from the quenching

  waters of healing that

I may fetch me a proviso to righteousness,

  over stepping euphemism.


I didn’t see the sun today nor did I smell the fragrance of spring

Nor felt the warmth of summer or gazed at the chills of winter.

I wonder about autumn with a shade of contrition.


When I had been around the sun twenty-five times I saw the end of

 Naziism and the ushering in of the atomic

  age. So I went for another

Twenty=five times around and did see the

  landing of man on the moon.

…So here we go for another twenty-five times.


Impatience, itinerancy and homelessness

  are my travel vehicals I use in

Journeying on the road if subcongition. By

  and large the roads are

Short…but many.  See you around


Thank you


By David Solesz (grade 4)


Homeless people are very unlucky not to have a home.

They might get very sick which makes me very sad.

They should be treated like us because they’re humans also.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Issue #14, Cleveland, OH


By Edwin Dubose

Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes

The winning lottery numbers

The Oscars, the Tonys, the Emmys, The Pulitzer, the Nobel

Bust most of us have forgotten that we are all eligible

For Life’s small pleasures, which are also winners

Lunch at Bishop Cosgrove

A cold 40-ounce, a kiss, a hug, perfect weather

Waking up from a good night’s sleep

So don’t fret about copping life’s grand awards

And enjoy its tiny delights.

Cause there’s plenty for all of us.



Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Issue#11, Cleveland, OH


By Marquita Roddy


Life on the bus has not been fun,

 it’s not much different than life on the run;.

Traveling this bus one minute and waiting an hour for the next,

 then strangers stare at you like you are a character in a text.


Ride to the airport just to keep warm

and that’s where you’ll see lots of families form,

all filled with hope and joy and love,

and good things you can only dream of.


Rule number one is: never beg for a dollar

because someone may holler “Bloody Murder!”

Rule number two is: Never ask anyone for a bite to eat

because   the bite will be tiny and you’ll still be hungry all week.


Rule number three: Don’t ask a relative for any help

because after the butt is kissed, the promises are seldom kept.

Number four: Don’t ask the government for shit,

because that’s more than likely what you’ll get.

There are many rules to follow once you become homeless

and my advice is to always remember the most important Rule: God

does bless!   


Copyright Homeless Grapevine , Issue #31, Cleveland, OH


By Daniel Thompson


This quiet night

And the murdering ant

An army on the sidewalk moves

Carrying its starlit children’s game


This wax moon night the rabbit runs

His white tail bobbing as he weaves

Through backyards to the black, black trees

Suddenly a voice, cat or child, troubles the silence


O down these streets where sleeping dogmas lie

Lo, the flickering lamplight moth shadow boxes with the wind

As my friend, the talker, talks; widening the hole in his shoe

Till all his words arrive in time,

Bloodshot, in the gunsight of dawn


That quiet night the dark cargo of my heart

Pitched on the green wave and broke…


Copyright Homeless Grapevine , Issue #30, Cleveland, OH


By Idaretta Johnson


We see you all alone

Walking and looking

For a place that

Your can call home

Few people turn their heads

And look the other way

But please keep in mind

What you see, can very

Well be said, “That we are all our

Brother’s Keeper.”

And we need to understand

He puts us here to love one another

And always lend a helping hand

So when you go to bed at night

Just before you go to sleep

Ask God to bless the homeless

That is roaming throughout

The street.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #22, Cleveland , OH


By Sandy Valadon


I looked for shelter

And found none

I slept on the street corner

I was cold


I searched for food

And found scraps

Bread that was dirty and old


I was filthy and sick

In need of care

But none was there for me


I was made derelict

Except for roaming the streets

There was no place for me


I chattered to myself as I roamed around

With no direction in mind

Through the vicious streets of the city

Half out my mind


They tossed me out of the bus stop

Where I meant to spend the day


And the children and old ladies laughed at me

And told me to get out of the way


There was a time I had a good name

But I can’t remember when


I had children, a home, and a good job

But it’s too painful to think of them.


I’ll probably die this broken creature

Nobody knowing or caring who I am or use to be


They say this could happened to anyone

Dear God, why? Did it happen to me?


Copyright homeless Grapevine Issue #23, Cleveland,Oh





By Beatrice Marshall


A homeless woman

Can smile if

She can smile at

You being Generous

With Your smile

Because she has a broken

Heart so she smiles

Keep her from crying

She has so much pain

In her heart so her

Smile covers it up

I’m her.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue#27, Cleveland, OH


By Anwar Aswad Amir


There she sits on the restaurant stool.

She’s not asking for handouts or asking

For food.

Where she comes from and where she goes?

Is a mystery cause no one knows.


Is she rebelling against society?

Or hurt by her mother

Sister or brother?

Is she a victim of child abuse?

Losing her job or some other misuse?


Did she and her father, fallout?

Was her mother around?

Did she just walk out?

Did her man let her down?

Or did she just give up the fight?

Is she punishing her family

By sleeping in the streets

Both day and night?


She’s got paper bags, plastic bags and

A worn-out suit case held together by strings.

I offered to light her cigarette and

My offer is refused.

Maybe she just don’t get into them things.

She’s a beautiful African sister she even has


She’s a bag lady

I guess you might say.


After I finished my coffee, I was going out

Of the door and I was still wondering

Who is she?

And what makes her live this way?

Sleeping in the streets night and day.


Where she comes from and where she goes?

Is a mystery cause no one knows.

She just roam and roam.

Why don’t she have a home?

It’s a mystery to me.

Every time I see her on Ninth Street

I wonder who she is?



Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue#13 Cleveland,Oh


you, house

By Mr. Sugar


no warm wind flows

through this place-


empty space

parked in a paved lot.


lines lead dully

to an uneventful end


like a grounded rectangle

of crab-grass


rooted tightly,

the light soft memory of you,


light blue in sunlight and

dressed in white trim



the light, soft memory of you

clutching the earth—

square space

not wanting anyone to take it away.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue#16, Cleveland, OH



By Ty Kaufman


That winter eve the bus crept slowly

Down the frozen, snow-buried avenues.

The seats, old and tattered, shook vigorously

Vibrating loudly from the over-taxed coach.


The squealing of old, worn brakes

Brought the bus to a creeping halt.

Raising a clatter, the rusty doors opened

Letting in gusts of sub-zero winds.


A haggardly woman, looking bizarre,

Clumsily climbed aboard with her Hefty bag.

She plopped heavily into a ragged seat

Emitting a groan and a rude-sounding grunt.


Five or six others of similar stature

Sullenly occupied the bedraggled bus;

Traveling nowhere as they rode and rode

Down street after street.


Yet all were safe and well-protected

From the winter’s bite and the terrors of night.

Yes the scenario did seem more than odd;

Little did I know that their driver was God.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #10 Cleveland, OH


By Dan Gibbons

T’was the season, it was Christmas, the generous time,

And in late afternoon at the soup kitchen I tried to form a line.

We had gathered groceries and presents, “Our consciences to heal?”

And trying to “Live the Word,” we served a healthful free meal


Outside, at times, the burly, the bullies pushed to the front,

Causing the older, the weaker, to pause in the hunt.

It was cold, I was harried, asking “please stay in line,”

When I saw her waiting, quiet and frightened, behind.


She was tiny and eighty, frail in a simple black coat

But in bearing and courage, she was St. Joan crossing a moat.

All her family gone before her, she seemed not of our time.

Yet she girded to the battle and joined the ragged line.


We gave bags full of food and presents from Santa,

To the many there waiting in the Winter winds mantra.

Just climb the few steps now and a place she would win,

Then four youths slipped past her and they were the last ones in!


She raised a grizzled hand meekly, her spirit crushed to the core,

Yet only breeding and character addressed that closed door.

Silent and alone on the street in the gathering gloom

She crossed herself reverently and started back to her room.


Pushed back by the rush I screamed in silence with rage,

At insolent youths versus this tiny four-scored sage

From my place in the inside I cursed at the sky,

Now very angry, I asked Him again and again “Why?”


In a while, I saw her hunched, moving arthritically away,

Into the gray of the sidewalks, and buildings and day.

And then I saw them, four street toughs overtaking her fast,

Their arms full of presents and food as they cruised past.


Then the last youth stopped and I held my breath,

Suddenly praying and frightened nearly to death.

The youth raised his arms and fast raced my heart,

As he carefully lowered his groceries, his presents, into her cart.


In a flash he was gone, down the street, now bight in the gloom,

Her faith in man/God renewed, she danced back to her room.

The miracle of Christmas, round the youth and woman grew bright,

And I “learned” for the millionth time, “judge not at first sight.”

To a grand old woman a courageous young man.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #18 Cleveland,Ohio


By Diane Christensen, Age 9



On the streets

Being treated mean

No roof to hide under

No fire to stay warm



Wanting Money

Wanting a house to call home

Like everyone else


Copyright Homeless Issue #12 Diane Christensen, Age 9

Cleveland Public Schools


By Anthony Walker

From the Tip of my Toes, to the Top of my head,

To Three Hundred and sixty degrees around me,

I am somebody. If I had my way I’d kiss

The ground I walk on in this Great Domain.

It’s an eye for an eye, and a Tooth for Tooth,

All individuals should believe the same.

As I pound the pavement to find a job,

My patience grows limited as I reach for the knob.

That opens the door to Prosperity and Wealth,

As I open poverty goes on the back shelf.

E Pluribus Unum, For I will give thanks.

When all my work id done, I break all the Banks.

With the help, And the Grace of God.

The Employment of the Needy, the Angels Applaud.

Governed to get over in This ol’ World

Without one doubt, abroad in the Future,

 My body and mind are hurled.

Satisfied with what I need.

There is No room for that evil greed.

For I am Somebody!


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #17 , Cleveland, Ohio


By Daniel Thompson


Uneasy sky

The starts burdened

By our wishes


An ordinary seaman

Of little faith

And new found


Falls through

The waves of a dream

To the uncharted

Darkness ashore


Young men

Whitman would

Have loved

Old companions, too

Veterans of the rain

With more tattoos

Than teeth

And all of us

Fed on irony and dream

Who’ve rubbed shoulders

With the shadows

Of our fathers

In lieu of loaves

And fishes

Eat Baby Ruth candy bars

On the desolate

Streets of Duluth


After a lighthouse

Soul service in which

Guitar player tells

Sins of his youth

Drank, ran around

Wanted by the law

Till he found salvation

Sweet in the verse

Make a joyful noise

Unto the Lord, then we

Toothless in a nation

Armed to the teeth

Got chocolate from Jesus

Walking the sea

Testing the waters

With this

Ordinary seaman

Of little faith

And new found


Who waits

Not for Heaven

But the workers

To strike

Who hungers

To be home

From the sea


Daniel Thompson

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #13, Cleveland, Ohio