in the Underground

I just keep thinking how much it hurts
how I keep trying over and over and over
to figure out what exactly I can actually do
as I’m studying compulsively praying, praying
and again flat out contemplating on it all that
everything passing by in the layers of the spirals
vortex spinning past in everything all around me
this piece of flotsam, too, flotsam in midst flotsam
the spitting foam swirling and swirling so far below
with the sky being swallowed, disappearing from above
down, down, down I go lost in this gathering black hole
dim rebellion in unnamed G.I. tract afflicted old belly
I hear Benjamin Franklin’s play on words so sage
old saw saying “hang together or hang separately”
and there’s my one true phobia choking to death
the way my Mom died so horrible of lung cancer
I keep thinking of all who need to be healed
I keep seeking new labyrinth designs
I keep going down through layers
geologic strata, chapters of books
and the information swirls faster
and faster ever faster it goes
great rush of the echo tube
sound way down in funnel
tunnel of people together
spun by the transit


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.