On July 1, 2009, a group of homeless campers and supporters began to resist Sacramento’s arrests of homeless people for sleeping anywhere, whether camping on private ground with the consent of the owner, or on public property. The City cannot enforce this ordinance. It makes no sense.
The dusk feels reluctant, this evening in August
six o’clock at the campsite sifts down like dust
and the long distance buses of the Amador line
rumble to the cement barn that is their home.
We hear a night freight cross the steep embankment
at the end of the street, each metal panel
each steel coupling & wheel grinding & abrading
while the drowsy voices of homeless campers
talk about arrests & what the police are likely to do
whether they’ll break down the tents or not:
“you will be handcuffed for your own protection.”
We discuss the holding cells, the separation
relaxed in our borrowed chairs under the sumac trees
that found this unwanted ground, fast growing
their leaves like fronds offering free shade
to anyone below.
Before dawn they raided.
They took everyone & all the signs of their life.
— Cathleen Williams
Cathleen Williams is active in
the struggle against homelessness and she is a member of the
Revolutionary Poets Brigade