Awapoems

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

12/13/20

Metal

Shadows of great metal walls have got me stuck in the maze. 
I look in the east and see warm mountains, where does that light come from? 
How did I wander into rain and fog and cold? 
I remember a day when I looked out from a high hill in the morning, 
Thirsting for water, my bones and muscles and senses broken, I stood there.
Then I sang from my heart “come, Spirit, come” and my heart became the living sun.  … READ MORE

Poems by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

no room
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
© 2020

there’s suddenly no room 
at the inn
the shelter in place hotels
no room for 
2,400 homeless people
high risk seniors
sheltered for months
no room
not even a stable
only a vague promise
of permanent housing
that always ends
up broken like treaties
no room
for 2,400 homeless people
now housed
but soon to be back 
out on the streets
in the dead of winter
during the rainy season
just before Xmas
in the midst of 
a pandemic
no room
in far too many hearts

America is starving
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
© 2020

America’s hungry
it’s always been hungry
it stands every day 
bundled up against the cold
masked and socially
distanced in lines
as far as the eagle 
can see
outside food banks
and soup kitchens
hands always extended 
on the cold callous street
there’s little change
trickling into the cup
little compassion in the air
America’s food stamps 
have been cut
there’s no relief check in the mail
unemployment’s running out
America’s always been hungry
these days
it’s starving

man on a bench
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
© 2018

you were sitting at the other
end of the wooden bench
outside the café
I was waiting for a friend
checking my phone 
every couple minutes
a small framed old man
with bruises on your cheeks
and forehead
you picked at a scab
as you commented on the weather
a man suddenly turned
the corner swinging his 
bag at your face
then spit on you 
calling you a “homeless
piece of shit”
I yelled at him
told him to leave you alone
he hurried across the street
through the heavy traffic
a waiter came out
told you to move on
I asked why
he said customers had
complained
you got up and left
so did I … READ MORE

555 Folsom, Colourblind, CA, 94105

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

the     sun did   start setting    this        mourning 

Awake    a     wake tumbled in from        the 

gritty shores     of yesterday. or next year        ?

i replaced the     filament     but brilliant       tungsten 

could     not rival         the     peculiar light

of     orange        beams sprinting   out     of sky

rubber        soul       

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Humanity

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

Being a Human 

Not necessarily saying all people but the status quo.

Not just have to, want to exist a person in a functional individual in society.

Not just being, but functioning in a humane way. It’s okay to say have 

a nice day, it won’t hurt you.  

That’s called being a human 

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Irving and 5th

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

There’s a magistrate in the fridge: 

It’s time to get rid of these old ass tamales. 

Freezer burn babies of beef and cheese and I step into quiet wasteland. 

Not a desperate land for Mad Max. Just cold emptiness like Gravity. 

Big, Snorlax man outside the market. Beard like Klaus. Fingernails that pulled flowers from Golden Gate  Park. 

N95 masks headed in and out as though tear gas wailed around like the Kashmir Valley.

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The Concrete

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

I am not afraid of poverty

I learned at the age of three that oxygen wasn’t free

And the expense of life was madness

That would forever be submerged

In a ice cold bathtub

If I watched my brother die would I freeze?

Without feeling powerless

I try to escape my right to frost

By submitting to the inevitable

I hugged the ocean’s waves

But I lost my mind at night

Survival is for the unfortunate

For sordid dreams to collapse by a broken family

I collected my whims in jars

And the moon captured my fears of governance

To be disregarded in history

Man without a home

A misery

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The Utopians

Cover of the Street Sheet poetry issue 2021. The bottom half of the page features a path leading to two cities, one decorated with words like "pain", "loss", and "death"; the other words like "life", "strength" and "care".

The season of giving has come to everyone

In the Kingdom of Heaven,

As keepers of the

Garden around us there is a glow, here is peace harmony

And love,

We give praise for deliverance and the abundance from

Above,

Wide open is Heaven’s mandate titanic hope is at hand

Promising salvation to women and men,

Filling cups promised and granted,

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2020 in the Rear-View: Unhoused, Sheltered in Place

Briefly in 2020, it wasn’t always “all COVID, all the time.”

That was for about two and a half months into the new year.

The first year into a new decade almost seems like eons ago, but early 2020, at one point, is where homelessness in San Francisco and the U.S. might have turned a corner — starting as early as December 2019.

Then, the Martin v. Boise case in Idaho was upheld when the U.S.

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City to Close Down Shelter In Place (SIP) Hotels:

Where Will Residents Go?

Earlier this month plans to shut down Shelter in Place (SIP) hotels, which are currently housing 2,400 otherwise homeless residents, leaked out of the COVID-19 Command Center (CCC). The hotel guests set to lose their shelter have been categorized as vulnerable by the City, meaning that they are over 60 years old or have an underlying health condition. Unhoused people and advocates across San Francisco have sprung into action to prevent the plan from moving forward,

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Shut Up and Take My Money!

In October of 2015, I went from living at the Navigation Center to living in a building master leased by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. As much as housing gave me the illusion of freedom, I actually felt that some freedom was taken away, as from here on out, I had to sign over my check to the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and have them cut me a check for my income minus rent (what is called the “modified payment program”

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