No. 10 - 11


Craig Czury  

Above the Black Alley

two 2nd floor windows with a door between  them
but thereís no staircase
the one iím looking for lives here
and as i walk around to the front
each evening before soup at the mission we loved to sing
like men abandoned to the deathship of salvation
all those words we knew be heart 
because if the henchmen of jesus caught us sleeping
theyíd throw us back out
sometimes i could count lice shinny up the strands of hair in front of me
and though Iíve only been in jail twice
looking for you and remembering this
like some hunger from the past left to be fed all over
it was cold/ damn cold out there that one night
with a mist that cuts through no matter how many layers
and the mattresses thrown out on the hotel stoops soaking wet
maybe itís memory
or for memory and warmth those two winos meshed their beards
and heavy coats at the bellies clutching each other
against a doorway in a passionate kiss
or to just make themselves feel beautiful
the way (poets say) the mind lets go 
door with no staircase
not like this looking for you and seeing me at the same time

A Psalm for the Catholic Worker
                          (for Dorothy Day)

your door the strength of bread against the cold
green door like cooksmoke    our hungry lice-hair coats

shadows in the night fire of men singing    
weaving scarves of blood and crust through the glass-eyed light

a silence deeper than nightís greasy hair  pulled over our wool caps                                                 
sirens and a wounded gaze never fazed the snow

god burning slats at the bocce court to keep warm
to smoke the silence out of snow that doesnít say a word

did you think the knives i hid in their scar were hungry bones

our words lit by snow off the rubble wall

we hover weightless in our coats above the fire
as if cardboard and splintered lath were  smoldering ear

Wind Hurling Stones

there are stones in the rain that knock us down

wind hurling stones that rip straight through our coats
as if our coats were filled with nothing but air

our coats are not filled with nothing but air
i can show you the sores

and itís with our great love for coats
(and the flesh we survive)
that weíve chosen your doorstoop
your heavy sheets of cardboard
your alley behind the dumpster to sprawl out and live

(Reading Emergency Shelter Poem Fusion)

created & arranged by Craig Czury

            I put the doll that looked like me
            in a shoe box 
            and I took it to the priest

I put myself in a box in a locked closet 
and threw away the keys

I gave myself a ten dollar gold piece
and pleaded Jesus for flowers

their roots were abrasive and tight
my breath was short 
my chest closing up

   I am half bird / half woman
   dressed in black
   like a confessional
   rocking the truth in rage 
   screaming in the night
   where I found what I lost
   behind doors that are still locked
   sliding sideways through the glass
   out of breath 
   praying the way God screams
   the only thoughts I feel
   on the floor coming closer

       I was only a kid
       coming up the stairs screaming
       you should have seen my eyes
       wild and confused
       the cops asked me 
       who was I talking to
       out of breath
       I don't care who was there
       someone grabbed my hand
       and locked me in the closet


(Reading Emergency Shelter Poem Fusion

created & arranged by Craig Czury

from poem fusions by:
David Ayres, Judy Henry, Lorene May, Joyce Johnson, Lisa Roeder

from poems written by:
Andrew Dowdell, Teresa Rodriguez, Judy Henry, Betsy Quiñones,
Quan, Lorene May, Lisa Roeder, David Ayres, Linda Danbar,
Joyce Johnson, Brian Jumper

Spring Johnson, Program Coordinator

The Reading Emergency Shelter
Reading, Pa.
Nov 3, 2000




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