With a potato masher grenade in one hand and a German Mauser in the other
under his storm trooper assault helmet a Nazi toy soldier has somehow found
his way into my hooded sweat shirt pocket and travels with me for several days
of routine so I wonder Why? Why? Why? am I playing with plastic army men
like I did back even into early adolescence just like my seven year
does today just like I once saw the dead bodies of Vietnam after vomiting up
my guts raw in swimming practice totally naked young men I could already see
what was happening mass invasion military occupation bombing chemical and
biological weapons and death lying beside the pool in heaps of horror young
dying everywhere except now I am old and I haven’t played with dolls of army
men revolutionary war soldier men, men of the civil war Kepi hats blue and
War of 1812 men or are they Mexican War men Spanish American Rough Riders
Dough boys and storm troopers, storm troopers and G.I. Joes marines at Tripoli
Halls of Montezuma and the battle of Belleau Wood paratroopers, Screaming
nuts! at the Battle of the Bulge oh, Okinawa and Iwo Jima army and marines
march marching, marching, marching all the army men sailors and fighter pilots
so high above it all knights in the blue sky in individual Fokker D-VII Red Baron
Red Triplane screaming down out of nowhere now here machine guns spitting,
cannons blasting Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, II, III, now IV
or is it more what, Syria, and Yemen, Libya and Somalia, Sudan and Gaza and
the Rohingya in Myanmar (former Burma) and oh, those other guys way out there
in Western China the Quigurs while we have Agent Orange Head in the White
declaring a national emergency on our southern border already running campaign ads
on the open border that’s been fenced off with hundreds of miles of defenses
specifically to make the refuges from 70 years of U.S. sponsored coups and
United Fruit Co. puppets and death squads neo-liberal, neo-colonial trade
          policies and
systematic ongoing 21st century ethnic cleansing of the indigenous in Guatemala
El Salvador Honduras lately (since Obama) most of all drug cartel allied
shoot them down in the street singing trained in the USA, USA, USA chant of all
those toy soldiers marching, marching, marching off to war but I’ve got one Nazi
German soldier standing to throw his potato masher grenade with his Mauser in
under his storm trooper assault helmet in pocket of my worn winter hoody


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.