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Sweeping in the rain

From SoMa to Wood Street Commons, the unhoused suffer as the brutal sweeps continue

By tiny gray-garcia aka povertyskola

Rain flows down

Can’t u see I’m already drowned

Rain flows down

There’s so much room to hold

That empty sound

Hard, Cold rain

Into a body already drained

I look up

Will I survive this—

I know I’m tough

Is there time to save my warmest blanket

My driest shoes

Guess what—I got the Unhoused blues

The eviction crews already came

With the rain

With the poLice to detain

With the blood-stains

And the wet chains

The water-soaked brooms

All the places I dream of that aren’t my rooms

Hard to believe—hard to see

But they’re sweeping, sweeping, in the rain

Sweeping—sweeping in the rain

Mama earth is crying again

Just like this mama when I lost my last home and felt like dying again

Mama earth is crying again

I can’t ever dry my eyes again

This hefty bag can’t hold all the unscreamed screams

Inside again

They said I have to go—

It’s a sweep don’t you know

But didn’t I tell you I can’t move

I’m so tired tho

Let the trucks come

Take my pain and wash it away with this endless rain

Mama— not sure how much longer I want to live to see another day

The water is me—the rain fills me

The depression stills me—this water—this cold—this wet blanket

it will kill me

The hole inside my heart

It is me

—Rain (Sweeping in the Rain- from the Trauma Survivor Song album by tiny)-

“I can’t feel my toes, my shoes have been wet since last week,” said Johnny X, a RoofLessradio reporter hiding behind a pole with his shopping cart in the South of Market area of San Francisco. “DPW and police came on multiple days all last week to tell us to move in the middle of the worse rains. It was weird, “I was like, really, isn’t there something more important you gotta do?”

Johnny continued to tell me that he was in one of the Shelter in Place motels, in San Francisco original SIP placements for the pandemic, but then Mayor London Breed phased that out and transitioned him into a navigation center, which he couldn’t tolerate with his autism and palsy. He was terrified there, he tried to get back into a motel, but was told that program was “over” and has now retreated to a life on the streets of San Francisco struggling with endless sweeps.

Residents of Wool Street Commons are fighting back against an eviction effort. Here, Wood Street Commons and Homefulness together at the POORmagazine street writing workshop. Photo by Israel Munoz POORmagazine

Thanks to the warrior work of Coalition on Homelessness and Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a lawsuit was filed against the Breed Administration to stop the violent sweeps that wreak havoc on houseless, disabled, elders, and all people’s lives, but as reported by Johnny and many roofLess radio reporters, they have continued.