“Warmth in Giving 4” In this painting by Elizabeth King, a compassionate person covers a homeless man with a blanket.


Arrest the Homeless

by Robert Christophel

“Arrest the homeless,” they do cry. Complete the economic genocide. From sea to shining sea, there is no place for him to pea.
Arrest him for vagrancy, arrest him for loitering, but just insure there is no tolerance. No shelter from rain, no shower to wash away the pain.
Arrest these crazy, lazy men; how they do offend.
Take the tax dollar they gladly spend, to lock these people in a pen.
Thirty thousand dollars they will spend to fill them with fear and bring to tears. No place to call home — left only to Rome.
“Arrest the homeless,” they do cry, for you can see it in their eyes. No food, no job and now a criminal record; the probation officer won’t get the message.
Not a teepee or a tent shall be lent, for that’s not what their God meant. They teach them in jail how to fail and fear, fill them with violence and demand their silence. Arrest the homeless where they stand, for the drug war is at hand, They will not stand to share this land.
Arrest the homeless; they must cease, even if a man of peace. They don’t pray in our church but play in the dirt. Look — she has no skirt!
It’s the moral thing to do, to keep them to our rule. The goodness of nature and God’s natural goodness must be denied, for these they criminalize.
Arrest the homeless for they must; for it’s only in their god they trust.
Arrest the homeless till he dies, for he’s only a paycheck away from you or I.

I Am Loved

by JC Orton

When you cover me – and place a blanket over me when I am cold.
When I hunger for your touch — and you reach out and embrace my heart.
When  I am afraid and lonely — and you comfort me with your presence.
When my body is tired and I ache —
you are there and your touch is the balms that heals me.
My stomach growls —
You hear my need and that of my brothers and sisters
and share your food and drink with us.
I am without —
And find myself in the presence of friends who care.
I sleep in the cold —
And you awaken me and invite me to share your humble dwelling.
The warmth of Spirit and care is an essence which is ever-present in this house —
because I am loved.
J.C. Orton is the new coordinator of the Street Spirit vendor program. He also is the director of the Night on the Streets Catholic Worker in the East Bay.