First it was the left shoulder
which apparently developed a crick
from swinging from the sun porch door frame
that slowly got so bad I couldn’t
manage to get my wallet out
of my left pants pocket for awhile.

After months of physical therapy
it finally settled back into the orbit
of my left shoulder blade but then
my left hip (again apparently)
because of my years of sitting crossed
legged always with the left foot
on the top of the right thigh
got so sore I thought I would
never again be able to meditate
in that powerful tripod position.

After months more physical therapy
that got better, too, but the sharp
shooting pains that shot down my legs
and sent electric shocks into my little toes
then became a pain in right hip every
time I got up and down from the couch.

Then I stood too long in Chi Kung meditation
with my arms up so my right shoulder as if
to finish the rotation of my ball joints started
to ache so bad I had to deploy everything
I learned on the left to heal the right.


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.