Will my pen write long enough to say
all that needs to be revealed:
the sun so hot in the naked blue sky
seems only to make life colder,
the pile of consumed newsprint
on the table changes absolutely nothing.
They only connect the carefully selected dots
that make the picture we are supposed to see.
All the other worlds we might have made
or still might yet make are vacant as this sky.
God’s word seems like alien abductors,
or fleeting images of Sasquatch wild men,
or National Geographic pictures of the lost tribe
or the conspiracies we’re constantly inventing
to explain the inexplicable to the walls of denial.
Somehow we know it ain’t getting any better
and can at least nod our heads with sage wisdom
at the predictions of the coming rapture
which will leave cars, trains, buses and planes
without drivers and infrastructure without operators
and the world on the eve of deconstruction.
Apocalyptic nightmares come up from prehistory
from the graves of archaeologic digs
and the deep cores of ancient lakes and glaciers.
The only thing left that’s certain is this:
things can’t go on like this forever.
Prophecy’s purpose is to liberate us from the chains of reason
and the more elaborate our fatal schemes, the less they mean.
If you really wanted to say something,
you’d have to mention the unmentionable:
the poor, oppressed and forgotten.


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.