It’s not as if I was ever in love with the way it was but when something
that at least once had some sort of function breaks down you expect
it will be replaced by something else, but, no, even when the metabolism
changed with age as any political body must, must change, parts kept
falling away as in some Disneyesque animation of the diagrams we once
used to assemble the engines of war, planes tanks and ships, of the last
Great Crisis of Globalism, 2 world wars sandwiching the long slow horror
depression that really went on for seven decades until the pure miracle
of post- WW II social democracy finally burst the strait jacket of colonial
“free” markets and the people, indeed me, wandered around suddenly
just born aware that anything could happen even as we knew, just knew
certain things could not happen anymore: the supreme commander himself
became civilian leadership, the bankers were separated from the speculators,
the war criminals would be prosecuted, the vital organs of the live organism
would be maintained but then as if to fulfill the prophecy of my hair-raising
joke of skinned knees and bumptious noggins “It looks like we’ll have to
amputate” they abdicate foreign policy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they install
predatory industries to fox every hen house, they turn the watchdogs into rabid
attack dogs foam dripping from snarling lips they send us out to shop and they
direct us away over and over again, nothing to see here, just keep on moving
without your guts, without your bowels, without lungs to breathe without skin
with which to feel, without your bleeding heart, certainly, yes, very certainly
                          without those pesky bleeding hearts.


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.