By Igor Brin



Almost drives you insane.


Moving shelter to shelter

Brings a headache with it.


Being made fun of in school

Brings tears to the eyes.


Hoping that life will change.



Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #12, Cleveland, Ohio


A fictional story by Alex Grabtree


He loved the outdoors and hated to have a boss. He had tried the 9 to 5 routine with a boss, but never was able to survive for more than around three months. He always said bosses stifled his creativity.  After high school, the longest job that he was able to keep was five months as a parking attendant. He like being outside so he stuck with it longer than usual.


                Jim had the gift of gab.  He stood 5’10’ tall; he was medium weight; and had a very relaxed attitude toward life. He had a soothing voice, and was quite charming to talk to.  He loved to talk to people.  He was fascinated by what people had to say.  This was a distraction to some of his employers who viewed him as a slacker.


                One day Jim just dropped out of society.  He began to panhandle on the streets of Cleveland.  He made enough money to be able to pay for a hotel every night, but could not save enough for an apartment.  The couple of apartments that he found the landlord would not rent to him because he listed his occupation as “Street Conversationalist.”  That is how he viewed his job- an Aristotle for the 1990’s.  He would engage people in conversation, and in exchange for that they would pay him.  It was a simple street transaction. 


                In fact, he got quite good at his job. He could make $80 per day, and he enjoyed his time conversing with the masses.  He only would work four days a week.  He would take off Sunday through Tuesday unless those days happened  to be a payday.  He developed a intimate relationship with a number of people on the street.  He called them “Walking Lonely.”  Jim said that they needed to see and talk to him more than most.  They were the people living in an unstable relationship with horrible job and basically a crappy life.  He went out of his way for the “Walking Lonely,” and was handsomely rewarded.


                He paid his $27.50 per night for the hotel and rented a locker for his valuables.  He ate at some of the better restraints in Cleveland, and traveled around the city refining his craft.  He would sometimes venture to more progressive suburbs, but he felt much more at home on the streets of Cleveland.  In the second year of his job, he even decided to pay taxes on his income. He figured that he was the only “street conversationalist” and he was proud of his occupation so why not give some back.


The one problem with his job was hate-filled comment, “Get a job.” This was an affront to his livelihood.  He could not stand when some small man of limited intelligence would walk by and utter those three nasty words.  He tolerated it at the beginning, but could not take it after a couple months.  One day a business man in a $1,000 suit hurried by him and uttered those disgusting words.  Jim heard these words as an attack, an assault on his life.  He caught up with the man and hit him right in the stomach with all the anger and hate he could muster.  The business man keeled over on the rain soaked sidewalk, desperately trying to catch his breath.


                The business man filed charges and Jim was arrested later that day and charged with assault.  He actually was back at his post by the afternoon of the next day.  He paid the bail and only spent a couple of hours in lock up.  In three weeks as he went to court, Jim showed no remorse for his “crime” and actually felt a lot better about his job after the assault.  He paid the fine and was only out a couple of hundred dollars.

                This went on for a couple of years with similar results.  Except that now every time someone said, “Get a job,” Jim would say, “What gives you the right to comment on my life?”  and punctuated that question with some physical contact.  He called it his attitude adjustment on the top of the head.  Otherwise he was a very pleasant person to be around.  It was his weak point.

                He was arrested two dozen times while another ten people slithered away without filing charges.  He was involved in nine to ten fights which also led to criminal charges.  A number of the people lost the desire to fight it out in court, and he was found no guilty on two occasions.  He tired of pleading no contest and decided to go to court on every charge.  By the twentieth time before the judge, he had grown quite skilled at his defense. The police kept a close eye on him, and That is how he viewed his job-an Aristotle for the 1990’s.  He would engage people in conversation, and in exchange for that they would pay him his business was down.  He was now barely able to make the hotel bill every night.  For a couple of weeks, he slept on the street to save money.


                Really, only the “walking lonely” were paying for his service.  He had developed a reputation and many people avoided him.  The police were regularly asking him to move along.  He really did not blame the men in blue.  He thought they were probably sick and tired of filling out the paperwork.  They also had little respect for his chosen occupation. Anyway, he decided to look for a more lucrative market so he moved to Columbus.


                The state capital started out as a gold mine.  It seemed that the pedestrians in Columbus had never met a well spoken panhandler.  There were more of the walking lonely to console, and the money was great.  He was sad to have left his regulars back in Cleveland, but Columbus was a place he could grow to love as a home.  His best customers were the politicians, so he would make a point of visiting the State House every few days.  It seemed that they were in need of some direct charity after slashing the human service budget or relegating children to another year of sub-standard educational opportunities.  They were quiet about their donations, but they gave 20s and even $40 or $50 during the holidays.


                The other thing that Columbus had a lot of was rednecks.  They did not venture downtown as much, but they were more prevalent than in Cleveland.  Rednecks instinctively say, “Get a job” when they see someone loitering on the street.  Rednecks also settle their problems without involving the law.  Jim was not a big man, but held his own in a fight.  He was forced into a fight at least every week.  Most of the time he lost.  He also was arrested with some regularity.  The Columbus police were not as tolerant as the Cleveland police and they would arrest him just for getting in their way.  They got him for jay walking, littering, open container (of Pepsi), and disturbing the peace.


                This was just one of the costs of doing business. He learned which cops to avoid, and he was able to stay in the black with his legal and living fees.  He like Columbus, and grew fond of the people he encountered.  Jim used to say that the people in Columbus were more depressed than those in Cleveland because Columbus didn’t have any professional sports teams to rally around and they weren’t ridiculed by an entire nation like Cleveland.  He saw his job as a cross between a bounty hunter and a priest-there was a great deal of danger but he was able to spiritually guide troubled souls.


                There was this one judge, Ms. Rebecca Sharp, who came down hard on Jim every time he appeared before her.  She gave him one month in the County Jail for disturbing the peace.  So he had to pay huge fines to get his time down.  She used to lecture him every time she saw him.  She saw his potential and his talent, and she thought that she was helping.  She was not persuaded by his legal arguments with regard to his attitude adjustment crimes.  She viewed Jim as symbolic of all that was wrong with society and in reality all that was wrong with her job and her life.  She was going to “reform” him at any cost.

                After his third appearance before Judge Sharp for a serious crime, she saw that Jim was slipping through her hands.  She was losing and her tight control of her corner of the universe was also slipping away.  This bright, young conversationalist who did not have a drinking problem could not stay out of trouble.  Judge Sharp decided to push the question on the fourth time she saw him for assault.


                Judge Sharp told Jim he had two choices: he could walk out of her court on that day and get a real job and a real apartment or he could go to Mansfield Correctional Institute for no less than twenty years.  She would release him with no fine and no jail if he agreed to quit his job as a street conversationalist and get an apartment.  She would let the police know that if he was caught loitering on the street he was come before her again and she would send him to Mansfield.  He agreed to her terms, and his gig was up.


                A number of the walking lonely had offered him jobs, and he hooked up with one of his oldest customers who gave him a job as a door to door salesman.  He was trained and his boss helped him secure an apartment on a bus line in a nice section of town.  He went door to door in elderly neighborhoods or he would call older people and set up appointments for, “a chance to a new lease on life.”  He sold whole life insurance offered only to members of the Good Faith Universal Church. Basically, you made a donation to the church of $50 every year and then you got the “right” to buy expensive insurance that would only pay off if you lived another 16.4 years.  The company figured a huge profit on most policies.


                Jim talked about the work of this church and how important God was in his life now that he was off of the streets.  He loved the part of the job that allowed him to talk to people.  He went back and visited Judge Sharp a couple of times to show her how she had turned him around.  She was so proud of her work.  She invited Jim to a couple of functions, and championed him as a rehabilitated habitual criminal.  She wrote a piece for the Columbus Bar Association magazine, and wrote, “Judges need to get involved in the lives of those who come before their bench, and even the hardest criminal like Jim can turn around their lives.”


                Jim took his own life last night.  He could not live with the dishonest world that he had made for himself.  He could not steal money from elderly people while pretending to be their friends.  He knew that he could not survive in prison for twenty years, and did not want to relocate again.  He loved being a “street conversationalist” in Columbus, but felt that society was not ready for his unique brand of philosophy.


                Jim left this note. “Dear Judge: Thanks for all your help. When I was on the streets, I knew who I was and I knew what I was suppose to do.  I was free, and I was helping people.  I vowed that if I ever become one of the walking lonely I would change my situation.  I just could not put up with snobby people telling me to ‘get a job,’ when I had one of the best jobs in the city. I’m sorry”            


Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Cleveland, Ohio


By John Agostin

I look up at the rainbow, and it’s so sublime

God loved different colors from the dawn of time

When you see different colors you should love them too,

All those different colors are a part of you.


Red and yellow makes orange, red and white makes pink.

When you see different colors they should make you think

If colors work together then they realize

There is no different color that they can despise


How did these different colors ever last so long,

When every color’s right, and every color’s wrong?

A wise man once said, the different colors are one

If you start subtracting colors then you end up with none


Different colors are never either bad or good

There is a common color, that’s the color of blood.

If we’re inside out, then we’re all the same.

A color’s just a color because it has a name.


How can someone change the color that they are?

It’s like a candle trying to become a star.

When you classify a color you become a fool

No color’s better than another, that’s a rule.


If different colors go to war, then who will win?

When colors fight each other it become a sin

But if they blend together, they could be so bright

That if you’re color blind, you’ll be restored to sight.


I look up at the sky and see the setting sun

With many different colors another day is done.

What will be tomorrow? I ponder in my heart

If colors rise together, we’ll get a brand new start.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #9, Cleveland, Ohio


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, Ohio



By Beatrice Marshall


Because of you I have lied, borrowed and stolen.

Because of you we have done without.

Because of you my family stopped trusting me.

Because of you I’ve been hurt and confused and



And now because of me I don’t have to lie

   borrow or steal.

Because of me I will have nice things.

Because of me I will gain my families trust once again.


I don’t feel depressed and unsure of which way

   I want to go.

I don’t have to hurt any more because of you.

I know in my heart someday I will have the home

  And things I want for myself and my kids

Because of me not because of you.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #25, Cleveland, Ohio


By Jim Dewitt

standing, straining our collective ears

toward some rough-neighborhood understanding

thru his crackedpavement phrasing. . .

how he’d got bashed twice

by a trash truck

and still survived, told in that

hauntingly human-like language

which orchestrated our ears raptly toward

wanting to take on more----

as his going on about “home”

in that vast jerryshack city of cardboard

hovels sprawling beyond the railroad viaduct

and his pridefully being

called on often to perform

coat-hanger abortions long after midnight

challenges even more grisly than

trying to control the screams

of dope fiends . . .

we could see ourselves leaning

noticeably closer to catch every detail

of his drift, sensing how this

mere derelict might well be

the wordly-wisest one

of us all.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #18 , Cleveland, Ohio


By Anna Cininnati

I am an American and I don’t really care

A bit about my neighbor unless he gets in my hair

I am an American when I go to the polls

I vote for what suits me and to hell with homeless Joes

I am an American my family has five and six cars

Why worry about pollution we can always move to Mars

I am an American I’ll be damned if I’ll give a dime

To some needy American child, hell it’s not a kid of mine

I am an American at night when I lie to rest

I pray God protect my investments so I can have the best

Yes I am an American I’m free to be free

Hell yes, I’ll salute old glory as long as she waves just for me.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #18, Cleveland , Ohio


By Buddy Gray

i am one acquainted with the nite

From my growing up years in the country, To my adult life in the inner-city

i began with the very dark—unless moonlit—nites,

with people all asleep

And crickets---1000’s it seemed—chirping their screeky, leggy noises,

And occasionally—in the wee hours of the nite---long distance soulful whistle of the train,

blowing for a crossing—long and deep,

THEN to the city, at first hard to sleep,

Since, it seemed, there were always People and Machines that never sleep,

All beneath my 4th floor window—echo-ing between the concrete streets and rows of tall brick buildings,

Voices in Stress, Or High or in Terror,

Fighting intoxicated, or children playing late on concrete, or hot-muggy polluted summer + poverty stress,

Many nitely screams of our city’s WOMEN being battered,

On lonely, unsafe, nite streets—or echoes imprisoned in an apartment with an abuser.

Cops—often siren-maniacs-racing dangerously down dark, skinny, populated streets

Going the wrong way down one-way streets chasing one individual.

The flood of voices and cars of the Well-To-Do in evening gowns-oblivious to the social stress,

Ending their social event-in the wee AM hours- from Music Hall across the street.

JUST before dawn- the whirring, brushing sound—of the city’s street sweeper.

Through many ALL-Niter work projects at the shelter, or sleepless, tossing nites, i’ve heard and seen it all.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #18, Cleveland, Ohio


By Margaretta Ogletree

                Once in a dream I imagined I could breath under water, you know like a

fish but the funny thing is I always have this dream more than once.  I try to find

the reason for the same dream but I only give up because it doesn’t make sense

to me.  But it hit me, this means I’m very special.  Some people dream about cars,

money and this or that, but this means a person who is homeless has a dream.  It

is the most beautiful thing to have so I would like to donate this poem to all of my

homeless friends.


I was under the bridge one night

while I watch the cars roll by. and

I ask myself and ask myself

what happen, why?


I hold my covers close to me

to hide the tears of my crying,

and try to drift off to sleep

but its not sleep its like dying


Oh god one day, I’ll realize

the mistakes I’ve made of my life

hold my head up  I say

and try to make this right,


So here I am a living proof

that life is worth more than millions

no one can do what you

need done for yourself but you.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #18, Cleveland, Ohio



By Jim Perkins

December eleventh, nineteen hundred

and ninety-one

at St. Augustine’s Holy Catholic

and Apostolic Church,

we stood the line

for hours.


We had no presents

for six kids,

and we had heard

that for a few dollars

we could buy Christmas

at a discount.


So, we stood

the bone chilling line

as dawn broke,

down the line word spread,

“The door’s open.”


Mothers in tight torreadores

dragged dirty children

by tattered sleeves,

into the musty warmth

of the sixty year old school.


The lile stretched up

and staggered down

four flights of steps

and out the double doors.

Halfway down the block

we stood waiting

and watching

as an open-coated man,

fueled hot with poverty

and cheap wine,

tried to sell coats & sweaters,

freshly picked

from the parish rummage pile.

Then he sang Happy Birthday

to himself, loudly

off key,

and invited the entire line

to his party that night.

“Plenty of food, good looking men,

free babysitting, cocaine, and a live band,”

The line women turned raucous

as they cat-called comments

and begged for directions

which the man never gave.

 The laughing moment passed

as the faceless man faded

into the line chatter

lowered to a hum,

as waiter spoke to waiter,

swapping lies

and trading information

on food stamps, bread lines,

give-aways, and giving up.


A heavyset line guard,

wearing a faded stars & bars

T shirt, ran along the line

barking, “No smoking, no pushing,

no spitting on the stairs.

Bathrooms on the second floor,

single file, single file,

don’t block the door,”

Nine o’clock, A.M., on the dot

the doors of the fourth floor

 gymnasium, opened and accepted

the hopeful throng.

“only ten at a time

for ten minutes.”,

a voice echoed

down the stairs.


Up a step, stop. Up three steps, stop.

Step, pause. Step step, landing.

Step, pause. Step step, wait.

The line moved slowly up.

Four hours, twenty minutes

and fifty-two steps later

the battered oak doors

admitted us to the ‘Hobo’s Higbees”.

“Take a garbage bag, step to the right.

Make a choice, quickly now,                              

Move along, move along.”

From one rickety table to the next

spread plastic doll carriages,

wooden cars, used books, purple

striped sweaters (only in size large),

and thin Cannon towels

in blue, green, and brown.


We shuffled our Christmas

Into black Hefty bags

and around the room;

Making do . . . making do.



“Do you have correct change?

Step up, step up.

No Checks, no credit,

no tabs or on-the-cuff.

and pay the man . . .

pay the man. You’re shoppings

done, you’re time is up.

Forty-two dollars & thirty-five cents,

please exit to the left.”


With our Christmas

bump-sliding behind us,

we descended the 52 steps.

Bump, slide. Bump bump, slide.

We bottomed out

the door, and walked

the four gray blocks

 to the bus stop.


My wife and I stood,

silently removed from each other

and from the half-filled

garbage bags

at our feet.

Yet, still somehow connected

by our feelings

of kinship and cause,

and by the thick crust

of dirty snow

that would cling to our shoes

for many days to come.



 “Focus on Poverty”

Copyright Homeless Grapevine #


By Angelo Anderson


I’m lying on the cold ground and I’m stiff and sore all over.

I remember when I was young and full of life.

I’ve been put through so much in life that slowly I’m breaking down.

I have so many scars and discolorations and there isn’t a bone in me that hasn’t been broken.

The drugs have slowly drained the life from me.

My soul has slowly left me also.

My mind is wandering round and round.

Oh, how I long to rise from this cold ground and lie on a warm bed.

Yes! Yes! My body is rising from this cold ground and I’ve found the warmth.

I’ve found it in the warmth of family and friends.

I’ve found it in my strength and belief in God.

I am no longer cold and stiff on the ground.

I have risen with dignity.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Cleveland, Ohio


By Daniel Thompson


It’s raining, I’m on the West Side to get my thumb X-rayed.  Was it Lutheran

Where Uncle Art died?  I cut through the Market through decades of fruits

And vegetables to World War II.  There I am again with Sis on the way to school

In this arcade, where everything’s alive and tells a story

Like poor, young Sweet Potato, after telling Cherry Tomato they cantaloupe

‘Cause he’s squeezed dry making payments on that lemon they’re driving

Goes out with the boys for a spinach, pulls up to the nearest pumpkin

You help us? We need asparagus.  Beet it, cries a big grape, who looks like

He belongs in the Zucchini see we’re closed, and throws Corn out on his ear

I’d call that a cauliflower, Artichokes with emotion and swings open the car door

Avocado, desperado.  The boys jump out swinging like Tarzan and the apricots

I don’t wanna die-ah, says the Papaya.  Call me cabbage.  I’m leaving. Too late

After the Rhubarb wires home Lima for beans, the boys’re bailed out of jail

And they sail off to work.  But it’s not up to parsley, so the eggplant’s out

On strike.  Pears of goons on celery stalk picket limes, peppering them with insults

You dirty radishes, this is the last strawberry the hatchet or we’ll brussel your sprouts

Turnip tomorrow, you’ll get more than the raspberry, you’ll go home with a pineapple

Up your ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lying sweet talk, say Sweets

And pulls out a banana, splits open those sons of peaches, pits and all

He really creams them, so Broccoli surrenders to the Onion, love is everywhere

Sweet potato grabs Tomato, Yam nuts about you, honeydew, lettuce, tangerine

You can see I know my peas and cucumbers, and no unrhymed orange

Nor crazy plum could have made me hum that day happy as a watermelon

Only carrots, loud and hard as nails.  What’s in the bag, kid? Updoc

Bugs Bunny on the streetcar, I eat my roots, roll my eyes heavenward and salute

Now, lucky me, I’m two wars older, running late as usual

Where is everyone? O, it’s Thursday, the Market’s closed. Our friends

The fruits and vegetables are off today.  The arcade’s almost empty

There are only those crossing guards who wish to keep dry and these gentlemen

Who do not, the morning body count.  Are you my lost uncle, my brother

Itinerant artist, veteran of the starvation army?  Last night was it the slammer

Or a hallelujah flop?  And you, old man, you know by heart those nameless dogs

Where your dead soldiers lie.  Why are you so grave, sailors?  You’ve tailor-mades

I see. Your’ve no port, no muscatel.  Well  you’ve come together this day unsaved

A black-toothed crew—tattooed, blue open flies, eyes of salt and humor, surviving

War and rumors.  I can catch images of myself, my breath in the bad air, hurry on ….


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #23, Cleveland, Ohio



By John Agostin

A BEGGER NAMED LaZARUS is sitting at my gate

He is one of the homeless, a most horrible fate

I should go talk to him, but my dutites come first

I have no time to spend with a man who is cursed


I tell my housekeeper to go chase him away

Lazarus is crying, it’s the same everyday

he has the nerve to ask her for a piece of bread

She tells him what’s the point? You’d be better off dead


His body’s very dirty and his clothes are well worn

I think a man like him should have never been born

He’s not able to work, he’s a burden to me

 He’s the lowest form of life in society


I’m in my Cadillac, I think I’ll run him down

Or I’ll talk to the Mayor and have him thrown out of town

He sees me driving by and he ask for a dime

I tell him absolutely not! For the very last time


Well, I go into town and I talk to the Mayor

he says within an hour, the police will be there

By the time I get home, Lazarus is gone

It’s just another battle that I fought and won


The policeman smiles and tells me Lazarus is no more

Things will return to normal, like they were before

But later that night as I lay in my bed

I have a heart attack and I find myself dead


I’m in a place of torment, and there’s no way out

I asee Lazarus in heaven and begin to shout

A cup of water old friend, to help ease he pain

A cup of water old friend, I say again and again


Standing next to Lazarus is the Lord of Lords

He looks directly at me and he speaks these words

It was I who sent Lazarus, to teach you how to love me

Now your roles will be reversed for eternity


(Dedicated to St. Francis, the Little Poor Man from Assisi)


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue 37, Cleveland, Ohio


By Daniel Thompson



I’m following you

Down the road

I’m tailgating you

I’m so close I can read

Your license plate

It says you’re the heart of it all

But it seems your heart has turned

Arctic cold

With six months darkness

Six months of light

Who can make it through?

When a half-year of days

Is one long, cold, black night

Who can survive to praise the light?

All is grey now; the sky

Is filled with waves of gulls

The airwaves with violins

Into the Flats we go

Down to the river

O throw your heart

Into its fire, Ohio

Let it melt

I’ll be your tug

And pull you

To the sea . . .


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #10, Cleveland,Ohio


By Beatrice Marshall


To be strong,

to be happy, to keep faith,

to have hope,

and to keep warm on the cold nights;

to forget the mistakes of my past

and look to the good times for now.

my promise is to come out of this

hole and to help other homeless

like me.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #27 , Cleveland, Ohio


By Anthony Walker


Evolution states that man evolved

From the lower forms of animal. Is this true.

Theology states that we are the children

Of Adam and Eve, I haven’t a clue

To sell an idea or concept of importance,

Only means that the brains of the

World rule with assurance.

Scientific theory explains away

The beauty of it all,

And so the temptation of man brought

About a mystical fall.

Did Darwin’s theory appeal to

Only the intellectual classes

Was the Garden of Eden just an

Example of the angelic masses?

The logic of the scientist

And the theologian of nature devout,

Are the saleman of today

With plenty of clout?


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #21,  Cleveland, Ohio


By Feasog

This is the time of year when you put on

                   your charity coat.

A time of wonder and cheer,

But allow me to rock the boat;

                In every great city of the world

                Behind those beautiful department stores

                The city shows a different kind of face

                One that’s ugly and such a disgrace

                It’s millions of faces without any names

Many men, woman, and even children

and it’s such a crying shame?

They are living out in the streets

and quickly growing old.

But surely, no one deserves to live

out in the cold.


Politicians and People

Hear the cries.

Use your influence to help absorb

                the tears from their eyes.

 Remember that the hands of fate can soon

              knock on your door.

For no one knows what tomorrow has in store.

The name on the inside of your coat’s lapel

maybe a London Fog but any designer name

                will do as well.

But for those downtown singing the blues,

their coat consists of the Sun Times or the

                Daily News.

Day by day they weather the storm;

Hopefully, the steam from the ground

                will keep them warm.

And for those who are afraid of this site,

your fear is senseless, for they are too weak                                                                                     

to fight.

This is the time of year

To put on that charity coat.

A time of wonder and cheer

but somewhere along the way, we missed the boat.

                I wish you’d give something and be


                Something that can’t be deducted on

                    your tax return.

                It’s time to look in those faces with-

                     out any names,

                     and do something to make their lives

                     more humane.

                    And for those who think this problem

                  Is as far away as the moon,

                  It will be coming to a theater in your

                  neighborhood real soon.


Heartless world

Hear the cries.

The next time you’re in trouble and seek

                help above the skies.

Put one in for those who have felt fate’s hands.

Make a commitment to do what you can…


Politicians and People!



Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue # 13 , Cleveland Ohio



By Daniel Thompson



You’ve driven your golden spike

Into the dark night of my soul


You carry my death in the smoky

Breath of your cities


You’re the iron horse, the ironic

Force that’s sped up the nightmare

Of history, our genocide mystery


It’ll be a great day when this wobbly

Depressed hobo poet, riding the rods

Finds you’re carrying peace


Mine eyes have been watching you closely

Train. This is now a new freedom train

The new Swing Low, Sweet Harriet Tubman train

No high noon killers on this train

No death nor internment camp counselors

On this train. This is no bourgeois train

This is the Woody Guthrie-Bound for Glory train

This is the Leadbelly train, the A train, the A.

Philip Randolph-PullmanPorter train, the John

Coltrane, the Ain’t I a Woman-Sojourner Truth train

The Great Day in the Morning Peace Train! Train! Train!


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue # 17, Cleveland, Ohio



By 9th Grade Girl, Cleveland Public Schools


It is not fun

Not anyone’s fault

No one wants it to happen.

But if it does,

We have to solve it. . .



Copyright Homeless Grapevine  Issue # 19, Cleveland, Ohio


By William Wilson


What thoughts does he have,

When he has no home?

Sleeping on a cot all alone.

Or what is in the picture of life,

That he can see?

No, fun, no joy, no sympathy.

Or what can you say?

To a man like him?

When the light of life has grown sodden.

No love, no friends,

His home is the street,

Cold and hungry, with nothing to eat.

Plastic bags on his feet,

With holes in his shoes,

Thinking now that he really has nothing to loose.

His utmost thoughts

Holds the meaning to survive,

Doing most anything just to stay alive.

Woman with babies

That are starving to death.

Living in a stench, that will take your breath.

Supplying shelters for the homeless,

Is not half enough,

Some would not survive, if they had it that rough.

A rich nation standing by,

Sitting in an easy chair.

Get up off your ass, and find the meaning of care.

And what about the millions

That are mentally ill,

That are sleeping in homeless shelters to

               escape the chill

Just how great,

Can our nation be

When they are really too blind to see

That they are creating hell,

Right here on earth.

Creating crime and giving hunger a birth.

Builing hotels,

And Halls of Fame.

It seems that making a dollar,

Is their only aim.

How many people have to die

Because of poverty?

Or how loud does a mother have to cry,

For you to hear her plea?

Damn those pretty excuses,

      or what ever the cause,

You show me a human being, that has no flaws.


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue # 1 , Cleveland, Ohio