Boredom is the swamp from which creativity creeps.

In my dream I see all the art
in paintings, vivid, lustrous, primary
red, yellow, blue set in ground of brown
black of the night’s shadow, grey of granite
but all the colors of life so that I wonder what I’ve done.

Intimidated, even sad I turn and wander into the river that flows nearby.
Foot and then ankle deep in the mucky bottom I pluck my legs out
of its suction and wade into the current.
The opaque brown river comes thigh high, waist deep, chest crest
up to my neck until I’m barely holding on with my toes
until I’m almost swept away in the majestic rush
of the great muddy river.

Only then do I slowly, almost regretful it seems,
and make my way back to the shore
across the suck of the mudflats where
I yell out to all the artists waiting, anxiously
incredulous on the edge of the tide,
“How can I show the flow if I’ve never been in it.”


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.