I was a radical even when we all “liked Ike”
existence hanging on Iron Cross bomber wings
nailed to the receding holes in the sky
every moment was a reprieve just in time
from the omnipresent shadow Doomsday Machine.

Radical is the sweet root by which
we nestle in the deep loam, our Earth
home where the houseless finally imagine
how it is to be a native going here
and going there never, never at home
in a world of sustenance and livelihood.

We’re all living in a past world
which proves to be no longer there
so the faster we think blink blaze
away the faster it disappears rear view
mirror of all we’ve already thought.

There’s this superstructure of compartments
piled so high above the invisible tendrils
all the while growing toward the wealth
that will fuel the next stage of a life
where even death is just another stage.

Economics is existential and every life
is needed exactly as it is wherever it is
it’s all on the Common and enclosure
on enclosure creates one All One Thing
Common on which we depend more & more

As they digitally enclose the Whole Earth
East meets West the showdowns infest
refugee centers invest bankers divest
the Whole Earth festival self selects
Earth Day becomes global consciousness

And radical is the root the one way
sign that directs us all back to where
we started on to where we must go
together because we can’t make it
alone social creatures we’ve always been.


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.