The first time I took the train down into the Italian Peninsula
I saw all the old terra cottage roofed farm houses abandoned,
spotted out across the landscape and then we got down to Atri
one of the provincial administrative centers of Abruzzi up above
the Adriatic coast in the middle of a curve of mountains whose
wings slope down from Gran Sasso which I beheld from the porch
platform above the steps that descend to the ground level (for the
animals) of one of those almost always abandoned farm houses
now occupied by our friend, the father of my two God children
who came from the womb of my first wife one of whom now lives
with her Dad on the farm her Dad bought with the money derived
from selling the house her Dad bought and fixed up in Dorchester
where we all lived for decades and where my second wife and I still
live in classic Boston triple decker house built with lumber from
the scalping of America I encountered as a child in the endless square
miles of C.C.C. planted forest of Northern Michigan to replace virgin
forests that even then could only just be glimpsed in tiny fragments
of giant White Pine Old Growth miraculous somehow managed to survive
the double bladed axes and ox drawn carts that clear cut that gorgeous
peninsula surrounded by Great lakes and there I was looking at the forest
on the Gran Sasso mountains still white peaks in the Spring sun where
everywhere on the rolling ridge hills between were the Calunchi’s,
the eroding scars of millennia of imperial and then feudal rule huge
wounds under those startling mountains with their stony now green sides
that want to promise something else, something else, how could this be?


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.