Cousin Charlie’s death way back in 1980’s epidemic
now a prophecy of five long decades of the drug wars
begun under Nixon then stalemated by Moral Majority
defeat of Carter’s marijuana decriminalization effort
then ramped up by Reagan supercharged by H.W. Bush
rubber stamped and systematized by Slick Willy Clinton
and his Plan Columbia to be put on ominous auto pilot
by god awful G.W. Bush and ignored by Barrack Obama
as the whole injustice criminal was just racial profiling
and selectively drafting people of color into that gulag
ever growing, ever larger, ever more toxic, more unfair
to everyone divided up in warring camps just like gangs
destroying society with police agents of official oppression
the people treated as refuse in the way of setting sacrifice
zones and extracting the life they label as wealth lay waste
the goose that lays the golden egg of Golden Child so bright
shining as sun still shining thru many decades of growing
commercial decadent black market legitimate All One Thing
mass marketing opiate addiction industry reps in each and
every pill mill and ads on reality T.V. pain is final vital sign
on every ward until Agent Orange head is in the White House
and now it’s the art of the deal in response to lead in the water
in Flint and Newark and what a big deal it is and what a harvest
of prescription followers dying of over doses exiled to the streets
the people, poor people in the endless drug wars poor Charlie’s
dying when they find the good stuff again I see the flush body
in the morgue in New Bedford where he went to make big bucks
on the scallop boats and went to sleep never again to wake up.


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.