Even in the tepid albeit ravenous atmosphere
of the free Monday Lunch meal it was obvious
that it was a miracle that Jack, who had
been visibly failing and, also, irritating the fragile
fabric of his neighborhood support system
with his increasingly erratic obnoxious behavior
had somehow contrived to die neither of hypothermia
or alcohol poisoning but instead had managed
to get killed by an automobile accident that had
absolutely nothing to do with him or his personal problems
except that the car had piled into the cement road dividers
Jack had been sleeping behind so apparently peaceful
(for once) that Jack was able to crawl out from his nocturnal
hiding place, his little concrete den in the Boston wilds
and greet the EMTs and the police saying, “I’m fine”,
and didn’t even need to go the hospital but they took him
anyway and he died on the way to the emergency room
of internal bleeding (they noted) what usually kills alcoholics


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. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.