Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Street Sense Poetry

Street Sense is DC's newspaper written and sold by the district's homeless population, "Where the poor and homeless earn and give their two cents." That's written on the cover. They don't actually earn 2 cents - there is a suggested donation of at least $1 for the paper, 25 cents of which goes back into paper production, and they keep the rest. Vendors wear official vests and seem very proud to be a part of the organization, and they stand outside of metro stations, mostly, with a stack of papers. Some of them just stand there and look at you as you walk by, others get really into it and yell "Street Sense hot off the presses" or something funny to get your attention. I don't buy them often, because I rarely have any cash with me, though when I tell the vendors that I don't have any money they often try to give me a paper for free. They're very generous, friendly people.

The writing is quite humorous, though unfortunately the humor is usually unintended. It's just quite bad. Here's a selection of poems from this week's edition. I kind of like the second one actually.


What's up world?
Where's my girl?
I don't know.
She didn't show.
I am homeless.
She is not.
It hurts so much when
we can't be together.
She sticks with me,
through all types of weath-
She sells this paper,
so do I.
is not
the highest we can fly!

-Shawn Herring
(Dedicated to my wife and friend,

Ms. Margaret J. Jenkins,
my fellow Street Sense vendor.)

Who Do It (Man)

It was a cold night in the hood.
My homes and I was going down to the
Local bar to hang out a little while
when we saw two people in the alley.
One was a light skinned dude from the
fourth ward on Washington Street,
He had lost his cup of soda, or
maybe someone took it.
"Who do it, man, who do it?"
That dude began to yell, "Police,
Police!" but they only asked, "Who do it,
man, who do it?"
It was D-Sweet man he
was running down the street, cup in hand.
Maybe, maybe we will never know
Who do it, man, who do it.

-James Fetherson

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