How the quick flash of firefly in the dusky dark
depends upon the black cradle of grounding space.
The long arc of photons broadcast through cosmic curve
is so easily confused with pure unadulterated spirit.

We want to believe that we are made of eternal stuff
even as we see that light is apparent only in lowly matter.
The rainbow floats on the flowing layers of mist.
The dancing colors on the wall refracted from prisms

Spin peripheral vision right on back to themselves.
All these various beings around us manifest as color.
The soul of grass wants to be green but dries brown.
The sky yawns in its unflinching grasp of blueness.

The ocean flaps down into its slate grey self.
But in the night we feel our way through reality.
The absence of color even the death of color leaves
only the stolid unrelenting stubbornness of things.

Suddenly we could break our legs or necks.
At the very least we could bark our ankles.
Then we feel the stern silent power of black space
and the light, the light is merely a dangerous distraction.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.