Cab Calloway Song Title 1931

What more narrow escape could there be
than the mariner named Seam, the Devil
that runs along the water line its very self
of that deep sea that has become so very blue
as Satanic literalism finds ever more demons
who demonically (of course) hatch new identities
in the hot house incubator of the tiny village
we made of this poor old globe that turns
turns, turns ever into itself and (you know)
all those selves so deep, deep within all of us
that they all want their right to be and to exist
somewhere between the false choice of lesser evil-
ism and the ever multiplying infernal gradations
of identity politics always just waiting there
like all the progress “we’ve” made and how great
everything “used” to be when the Devil was red
and the deep Blue Sea had not yet turned red, too
with red tides and those pesky invasive creatures
wet backed on the beaches and borders in turn
turn, turn, turn, turn to keep the trade routes open
and keep the Spratly Islands as simple tidal rocks
and Vladimir Putin singing “On Blueberry Hill”
if only we can keep the Devil above the water line
and the Deep Blue Sea in safe harbor where it belongs.


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.