Dr. Freud came first
of course, bearded and goat footed
he soon proved to have us all manacled
and chained in bondage
to generational neuroses of instinct
while catharsis only opened the blocked gates
to infusions of new energy and we were left wanting
the objects of our own frustrations
as the reality principle squatted over it all.

Of course, phallic allusion was defined
getting out of a car, a 1947 roadster
that still had running boards, fer Christ’s sake;
my smarty pants big brother back visiting
on the holiday from Ann Arbor and Liberal Arts
told me all about them Oedipal complexes.

The soirees of this sweaty sexual samsara
eventually collided head on with the Dharma
when I heard the word karma run over Christian dogma.
It was before the war. It was after school.
One of my teachers actually wanted to talk to me.
We had a long intimate conversation
and I realized that all the beatniks weren’t in San Francisco.


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.