As I am borne up out of the tunnel
I am enlightened (literally) and there right there
on Longfellow Bridge suspended above the river basin
the poor stopped up Charles River, the sump behind the dam
the dot appears in peripheral vision lost in the sky
enlightenment induced migraine that fractionalizes
into a bright spinning whorl that carries the whole train down
into the tunnel where it slowly grows into a sparkling arc
as I continue to attempt to read about Florence Nightingale
attempting to save the abandoned brave six hundred remnant
of the Crimean quagmire suddenly revealed by the first electric
web of mid-nineteenth century telegraphy heroes lying in filth
from neglect as the wounded always had and have,
indeed, seem to continue to do so
quagmires to the right quagmires to the left
who will take care of the casualties rumbling through stations
and squealing steel wheels on steel rails
this time who will follow them down so deep beneath
the covered over Earth where there’s only me on my way to work
to take care of the disappearing elders of the Greatest Generation
because I am so close to the world now gone which is the only one
they can remember just like the way our leaders drive
in the rear view mirror as we hurtle through a grinning fractal
just as they take away information to remove identity in video
into the abyss, into infinity


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.