Started by Jack powers in 1991

Awake before the alarm goes off
flick the switch to off again
bail out over the end of the mattress
watch out for that pile of poems
lower feet between bed and bureau
then on to the bathroom and plonk
butt on the precarious loose seat
wait for bowels to function 2 hours early
the body needs time to wake up
we’re never the same sleep deprived
sit there reading about the Long War
as the light so lost in the violent world
slowly illuminates the bathroom window
until something moves so far within
but never enough to really change things
when things are waiting to cover cold limbs
and crunchy go-lean cereal will fill the void
of the night’s long warm snuggly fast
poems must be marshalled and books
must be sorted and thoughtfully bagged
so she is stirring on the confused bed
one sniff of her hair amid the clutter
of the spatially organized sleep chamber
will have to last until much later today
so sling the bag strap over your shoulders
check the stove to make sure it’s not on
slip out the door with your friend silence
steal down the steps to whatever awaits
now whatever is everything, all there is
now the path down the hill awaits
the tracks of your shoes from last night
slip through the hole in the lilac hedges
duck the bony fingers of the reaching branches
beyond the city and all that that means
anything could happen or nothing
                  it’s Wednesday.


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.