I’m the bad news bared, naked
people don’t even have to ask
they can see the death and destruction
bailing out over the rail and in the icy waters
all around the sinking ship.

I’m the dark side of the moon, the black hole in the universe
anti-matter personified and as I said last night my world,
the world of shelter never come home is the anti-prison:
guys come banging at the gate and scaling the fence to get in.

People ask how I’m doing but rarely stop to find out
about the body frozen to form of park bench and Common,
the 4 burned alive in Southie in derelict mobile home,
the episodic drinker hit by the bus.

Much less do they want to hear about the eternally long lives
wondering why? Why? Why? Or the exigencies of window washing
and labor pools and newspaper sales and distribution, can and bottle collection
and all the lives that get lost someplace between the Inn and Intake.


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.