A Brief Encounter with Ricky Teague, Poet.

The Street Poetry of Ricky Teague

Photo By Jeff Marcowitz

As I am looking through some oldish books at home, a brown sheet sneaks out to the floor and as I pick it up I am hit with warm memories of a meeting I had at the top of Market Street in San Francisco with a homeless man and writer named Ricky Teague, and this sheet was some of his poetry I had purchased.

If you have been to San Francisco or live there, it is highly likely you have come across, met, talked too or just ignored the character that is Ricky. He stands mostly at the top of Market and Powell Street (I think it is Powell) where he sells the monthly homeless paper ‘Street Sheet‘ as-well as his own Poetry which he sells as a pamphlet.

Ricky and I had a good conversation about poetry and about how he writes and prints his own and I’ll never forget this chat back in 2006. Ricky, a thin African American in his 50’s and originally from Oakland, uses the free computers at the Coalition on Homeless on Turk St to type up and print his poetry to help make a few bucks.

After our brief yet inspiring chat, I purchased this pamphlet I have here in my hand for $5, not only am I helping a homeless man with a few pennies, I am also, in my view, helping a self-published author spread his work through my reading and here on this site I want to add some of his poems here for others to read and enjoy.

If you are in San Francisco, I recommend and urge you to look out for Ricky, stop, embrace in conversation and purchase some raw spiritual and excellent poetry from him (Splash out and spend an extra $2 on Street Sheet too) All writers all over the world always need the support of us readers and book lovers no matter the background of the author.

One thing to remember, Ricky may be homeless, but he has talent, he does not slouch at a corner with a cup in his hand or jump in your face for money, he has passion for poetry, he creates his world with words for our enjoyment, for his enjoyment and survival.

He has taken the time to give you insight in to his life be it on the streets or his spiritual side and found someone to print these out to market to the passing masses who choose either to stop and listen or ignore and think, just another crazy man of Market Street.

Next time when I trawl the streets of my favourite city again (hopefully soon) Ricky will be one of the first people I will hunt down to see what writing goodies he has, for a chat and to take home some new writing (I also look forward to a coffee in Caffe Trieste North Beach)

Not Knowing

To feel within by looking not knowing by
looking into feelings. Feelings to in looking
by knowing. Not looking without not looking
within my feelings to feel not looking to feel
on the outside but knowing for to feel on the
inside.

Ricky Teague
copyright © 1998; Oakland, CA

The Walk-In Poet, A Pocket of Smiles

I went to the bank
With a pocket full of smiles
This is all I have in my pocket today
I took my pocket of smiles
And I put them on the table
And the lady said,
“Sorry Sir,” no currency for your smiles today
I was feeling kind of depressed
Placing my smiles back in my pocket
So surely the ideal came to my mind
By taking one of those smiles
And placing it within my soul
To make me smile that day

– Ricky Teague, 2001

Four Corners

Reaching out of the four corners of the world.
As the sun sets behind the sea.
And the moon revolves around the earth.
One to leave and one to retrieve.
A sun to return in the morning to open up
your eyes for the day.

Ricky Teague
copyright © 1998; Ricky Teague

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