You think always, all ways you’ll know
when you cross the event horizon line,
but when you open that chipped paint door
and tentatively step in it’s just a waiting room
full of young women and children, family members and volunteers
and soon we’re all waiting together with lockers lining the walls to put stuff in
and bathrooms before the long journey into the interior.

So surely then the trap, yes the trap must be the weighty drain
except stripped of identification and our layers of social insulation
and pockets turned inside out still somehow as never before
three times the retracting crawl of the trap door lets me in and out
so no, no not the metal detector or the wands
or the final two automatic doors of the trap
or the watch post with someone so invisibly above
until the last door finally opens only to reveal
a fenced in yard and another gate.

And there is a chain link wall mounted by razor wire
a wall within the great stone wall a veritable DMZ
(do they even want to keep the Canadian geese out?)

So we must make our repressed way across the wide open campus
up the steps, through the heavy metal dingy colored doors and then
down the halls to central control to sign in one more time again before
being admitted to the inner sanctum through one more door with a key.

And then we are in the field of singularity and must pass the vortex
of solitary confinement where the voices that talk to the voices live with
the voices that hear the voices that none of us can hear echo in the courtyard
and we can all feel the weight that pulls and pushes and presses until we are a tight knot
unraveling at the atomic, no sub-atomic level up the side walk solid concrete.

And into the Central Meeting hall which must be the event horizon line
since nothing else is left but it is not, not, not, no it is a stage behind a curtain
encompassing a community that makes the circle social that plays poetic license
that speaks from the deepest level that unites the head in heaven with feet
so rooted in the foundation it is the body of Christ and the holy spirit moves with the air.
We are all one thing held together by levitation, our toes so very far below us as we
stretch away.

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. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.