Pet them with your eyes.
Allow them to curl up in rag ring rugs
on this highly polished floor hugging the depth of the city.
Cover with downy blankets and protect against cold
with spitting radiator and wool covers.

Walk regularly.
A day without eating before a day without exercise
but feed with a regular diet of attentive careful preparation
and smorgasbord of culinary color, scents of life, odors of otherness.

Let the whole wide world lap about the perimeter
and let the parameter of the mind unleash to run the curves of hills
and sudden turns of byways until suddenly you find the place to stop
and look out over the encircled city, past the nation, around the all one thing world
that you have tended and struggled and talked and listened to so many times
always waiting for that moment that replaces anger with a smile
and fear with a kind word and need with appropriate action.


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.