By Mary Getlein
Welcome to California:
Where we spend 2 million dollars on a
Where we spend 6 million dollars on
twenty new police
where we spend untold million dollars
on brand-new privatized prisons,
made of stainless steel and glass,
to make the prisoners feel even more like
a rat in a cage,
than a human being…
Welcome to the new Disneyland.
Where the police attack 6 homeless sitting on
a piece of grass, smoking a joint
Six undercovers and six uniforms
harassment and intimidation
And they throw the kids around,Throw their stuff around,
Fuck with them, let two go, arrest two,
keep fucking with the last two.Hey, I was just sitting there —
Watching the sun go down
It’s still free to watch the sun go down
They haven’t started charging for that at least
We were singing songs out there
I got really mad–
My friend starts telling me some shit about
how everything happens for a reason:
like: These kids getting harassed by the cops=
someday they will stop doing drugs + turn to
the Lord (I kid you not)
I’m like: right.
But I start singing louder songs I learned from my Church–
The Church of Latter-Day-Hippies-
The ones who still believe in the happy horseshit
They were all singing in the 60’s–
You know, that “Love is All” stuff,
that goes so well with disenchantment with
You know, your bomb-building government–
You know, that government that is still in the
business of making prisoners out of citizens
That government that decided it’s more
profitable to kill people’s minds and bodies,
than to educate them?
That government that cannot recognize that
a large percentage of the homeless
population is composed of veterans from
So sitting there watching the sun go down
and three cops cars swoop on a group
of basically innocent bystanders did make
And I’m still mad.
These are American citizens.
So now we treat our citizens like undocumented
The people living in houses are doing lots of drugs.
The people living outside are smoking a couple
of joints and drinking a couple of beers,
and the cops swooped in on them like it
was a bank robbery. And when it was all
over, it was so heartwarming to see the
cops laughing together and congratulating themselves on
a job well-done.
My friend is like:
“Mary, you sound like a criminal!”
And I’m like:
“Yeah, I am a criminal
Once a criminal, always a criminal”
My favorite plea in court was always:
“Guilty with an Explanation”
An Ex-Catholic, I’ve always been guilty,
even before I was born–
This society we’re living in assumes guilt-
We’re all guilty–
We’re guilty of letting these people in power
basically FUCK UP our economy, our lives
our world, our oceans, our skies–
anything we touch, we RUIN-
It’s no longer a question of if you’ll get cancer,
it’s only a question of when–And the things we dreamed of in the 60’s–
Did we really think it would end like this?
Do you really think homeless people are having fun living in a van?
Do you think it’s fun raising their kids
to be afraid of the police?
Do you think it’s fun to be a kid +
have no place to live?
Do you think it’s fun to be a kid
and have parents who are poor?
Do you think it’s fun for a kid to have
+ go to jail to go visit a family member?
Do you think it’s fun to be homeless
And crazy and have no family because
Your family is ashamed of you and afraid of you?
Do you think it’s fun to be crazy and
hearing voices and you think everybody
else is hearing voices and when you
discover they don’t, you decide not to
talk about it any more?
You are different–
You are different
You are different–and you are
They’ve got a movie out about a genius-crazy
homeless musician who Steve Lopez got
interested in and rescued and pulled off
the streets and got into a place.
One guy helping another guy–
Guy wrote a book about it, now they’re
making a movie, the guy playing the homeless
musician with mental problems is
It’s a movie–
I have known a lot of homeless musicians
with mental problems–
people tried to help them — didn’t get too far
Life is not a movie.
Some people are helped off the street.
Many more stay out on the streets and die.
Some slow, some fast.
Jesus is a friend of mind, (I call him by his 1st name)
but somehow I don’t think police beating
on you is a good way to find Jesus.
I’m still mad.