On Massachusetts Avenue in the window of the sports club
there is a line of conveyor belts and perpetual motion machines
where as I walk by on way to workouts and improvisations
there is often a string of young bodies moving to go nowhere.

Somehow all this protean energy expended to no purpose
irritated me so that I was forced to invent a Sisyphus walk
in which stocking feet slide away from my outstretched hands
on wall or pillar in an endless push that displaces nothing.

From this circle of my feet it was a quick little step
to stationary walks which gained immediate effect
from the posture of hips required for this immobile thrust
and then the Sisyphus walk became exactly the same thing

As this life I’ve lived in a counter-culture that can win
only for losing as we make our mime-like stationary way
down the path of these mirror cells which turn, turn, turn
the obsession with bodies into the poetry of our forms.


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.