Down and Out in San Francisco

Tents on Geary, 
Tents on O'Farrell. 
Tents on Union. 
Tents on Civic. 
No tents on California. 
No tents in the Marina. 
A few tents on the Embarcadero
More on Willow.
No tents on Russian Hill
Where it is an eternal May
Tents in the 'Loin:
All work, no pay. 
Tents in Mission, 
But none in outer Sunset. 
Tents, tents tents. 
Tents on fire
Tents with wires
That lead to parking meters
Tents with lights
Tents with fights
Tents where lovers
Say goodnight.
Tents and no bathrooms.
Bathrooms but no keys.
Keys but no doors
No beds: Just floors


  1. Ron Pavellas

    Is this a problem, or is it a situation?
    If this is a problem, what do you see as the possible solution, if any is perceivable?
    How should/could things be otherwise?
    I ask sincerely, not being there, and not any more in tune with my birth city–perhaps not even being in tune with my birth country, after living in Sweden for almost 20 years.

      1. The Paltry Sum

        No, Ron, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant people find my upset at the way our homeless our spoken about, to be uncomfortable, and I do not want to make you feel that way. I have had a truly shitty day. I am very upset.

      2. The Paltry Sum

        Let me try and talk in a way that won’t upset anyone. I think the homeless need to be allowed to live in the way that they can and want to, but that more suitable places need to be provided for camping with bathroom or portapotty facilities. Personally I think sections of parks should be given over to the homeless to camp in, but with a certain amount of supervision and banning of dangerous flames. Rent control needs to go further, much further, and any empty properties need to be filled or the owners fined. I think that the right wing Christian nimby conservatives need to get their morality out of other people’s day to day lives. Decriminalization of drugs is absolutely the way to go, but there does need to be support for those that want it, and safe drugs prescribed to those that use. I would like to see heroin prescribed not methadone which is liquid handcuffs with a worse withdrawal. …people probably would rather I shut the fuck up…but….Im willing to talk about it if you think it is beneficial and Im not upsetting anyone.

      3. Ron Pavellas

        When visiting my son and his wife in Louisiana almost two years ago, I was sorry to see a veritable tent city in New Orleans under what appeared to be a n elevated auto expressway, or interchange complex. It saddened me to imagine the hopelessness and anomie so many people were smothered with… (not using adequate words for my feelings here).

      4. The Paltry Sum

        Yes it is sad, but if that is all they have, to move them on, have these people live in constant fear of being shook down, their belongings seized or thrown away, and then have to set up somewhere else, and start again with no tent, nothing, is even worse. People need to be left alone to live in the best way they can. There is not the appetite or money to house people. If society doesn’t want to house, then it really needs to let people LIVE.

      5. The Paltry Sum

        You are doing fine, Ron. It is me that is a rabid mess today. A tent was driven into, not far from where I live, I don’t know how the occupants were, because the media doesn’t seem to care how homeless people are, but there was a big scene while the cops chased down the perp. The comments, the absolute inhumanity of the reaction has made me distraught.

      6. The Paltry Sum

        You see Ron, then I get upset, and my upset, my anger is found to be offensive, and I have to edit and censor myself to please others…which leaves me even more hurt.

      7. Ron Pavellas

        I’m all for decriminalizing drug use, but his would upset the cartels and DEA who have much power and influence. I think of ‘Médecins Sans Frontières’ (doctors without borders) who go to ‘third world’ countries to minister to the diseased and suffering. How about a home-grown ministry to do the same? There probably is/are, but I don’t know about them. Somewhere in all this misery is one root cause of people not having anything meaningful to do because robots have replaced the work they could do. Also the endless wars we have been fighting in other countries which sap the spirit and treasure of our country (such as happened in Ancient Rome) — not to speak of the horrible effects on returning survivors. I think I can see the roots of the problems, but the solution seems to be interim chaos before a new ‘way’ is found. Easy for me to say, perched comfortably, far away. I wonder about the world my 3-year-old g-granddaughter will inherit, and how she will navigate it…

      8. The Paltry Sum

        A lot of people within the homeless community here, that I know personally, are very hard working. Non scientifically, I would say more addicts are survivors of abuse in childhood, not just bored and dropping out…there are no easy answers, are there. As for the world we leave for our kids…I guess it depends on what kind of future they are born into. As long she has family, and a safety net, Im sure your g granddaughter will be just fine.

      9. Ron Pavellas

        Addendum: There WAS ‘abuse’ in my family in the form of two years in an oppressive orphanage in Stockton for my mother and her two older sisters when my mother was 4-6 year old.

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