The weakness of the empire,
the weakness of any empire
is always its greatest strength:
the success of its chosen lifestyle
at the time of its assumption of imperial power
which loses its luster but slowly
while time demands change momentarily.

Lost in its rear view mirror glory
the ship of state sails over the cliff.

I wish I could proof the young folks
against the demons of lust and greed.
I wish I could help them see
the status quo ain’t the Nicene creed.
It’s so hard when all their models
cant the rich and famous deed.
The purveyors of popular opinion
hold dominion with the profession
that we all spring from the same evil seed.


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. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.