Even as I am the Grim Jim
I am a very lucky Lucky Me.
When I was first discovering books and reading
I became obsessed with a young fellow’s story
of being driven from home by pure petty prejudice
only to find that community itself threatened by flood
from an eroding land bridge dyke that must give way
to sea waves that would soon cover the homes of the people
in a cataract of cascading water that would course for months.

When I was that young boy I looked around to see
all the old growth forest of Michigan cut down in a generation
in the Civilian Conservation Corps mass replanting
these endless rows on the North same size pines.

Only now I finally realize that that the 1930’s Dust Bowl
may have just had something to do with that mass deforestation
that allowed the sacred water to pour heedless from the land.

Only now do I finally realize that the water rises along the global shore
and all I can do is to go out crying ALL HANDS ON DECK on the Common
for our spinning blue bubble common craft.

But just like the old boy’s story straight from Plato’s cave
no one can hear Grim Jim Lucky Me I’m Jeremiah in Jerusalem
the Babylonians do abound in this present so eternal
while every week I cry on the Common,
sacred indigenous burial ground common.


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.