With the U.S. mayors' Hunger and Homelessness Survey finding family homelessness
up 9% this year - and requests for food up 24 percent - it's a bitterly
apt time for Tom Waits' "Hard Ground," a portrait
of homelessness that combines Michael O'Brien photographs with poems by Waits, much like the Depression-era James Agee/Walker Evans classic, "Let Us
Now Praise Famous Men." Waits still tends to shy away from the term "poetry," though; he prefers "inebriational travelogue."