Tribute: Chris Isley ~ Helping Hands, Poet’s Heart

chris_iselyChris Isley, IAE treasurer, generous donor and dedicated volunteer, died Aug. 6, following a year-long struggle with cancer. A member of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Chris was an important and tireless contributor to the work of IAE, and an unwavering advocate and friend to our homeless neighbors. He was instrumental in shaping our organization’s financial well being. He created member and sponsorship programs, and directed our direct-mail campaigns for years. His financial savvy, heart-guided service and quick wit blessed many and he is missed by all who knew him.

Everybody Looks Like Me
By Chris Isley, Hospitality Center, August 8, 2000

As I sit by the door of the shelter,
everybody looks like me.
The slim drawn woman with the unkempt hair,
Wrinkled dress and vacant stare,
out for a cigarette, out for some air,
out of her mind – we have much to share.
The goateed grandfather, prosperous and free,
Knapsack stuffed with treasures, stops to look at me,
stops because he fears to go, just like me.
The fat sad woman with clothes too tight,
mourns her lost baby, mourns alone at night,
tells me again that it’s just not right,
waddles down the sidewalk, waddles out of sight.
Hour turns to hour, and still they pass my chair,
searching for a future in a world that barely cares,
Hour turns to hour – how shocked I am to see,
that every single person here looks just like me.