Two crises back they said “I know nothing” until four years of civil war and
hundreds of thousands of deaths moved discussion past secrets well kept
but now we’re whistling past the haunted graveyard of the third tier global-
isation for which our country made itself indispensable nation from one sea
to shining other sea imperial glee and you know (ditto) the full weight gravity
each crisis is made of the same bits same basic elements but their order is
never predictable: the Civil War in us (the U.S) was spot in the very middle
of what started as the 1848 revolutions that culminated in the Paris Commune
1871 and the Franco-Prussian War (and Bismarck’s subsequent incipient
invention of social security state held together (sort of) with parsimonious
payment , secret police and lots and lots of patriarchal authority leaving all
that had been held in common now run from central casting bureaucrat-ocracy
the great bugaboo of 1950’s conservatism in form of John Birch Society zombies
from hell still clinging onto commercial consumer consumption fits (so very fit)
it seems we will spend our days and maybe our last days just staring at small even
tiny screens so the long slope of telegraph lines become these dangling earphones
telephone poles are redundant, even obsolete so what a feat not to get lost tetra like
falling candy or twitch, twitch, twitch goes our poor thumb just sitting there almost
anywhere nowhere cyber space way out past the ethernet but that’s so yesterday
and tomorrow will never come since today is not here since we’re all somewhere
how much easier (we think) the Russians attempted revolt in 1905 so then in 1917
revolution was inevitable when they’ve left us no choice except revolution (or death)
or maybe the machine taking over and what kind of coups is that for our common life
it self on the old capitalist chopping block guillotine of obviously wired world gone so
global is a common world made of common dreams we all want goo-goo goody good
government of, by and for the people not machine, not this crummy never living thing
not this object, not his mass extinction of the only life we know exists.


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.