How I remember sitting at the table
being told how lucky I should feel
not being those starving Chinese kids
with pictures of displaced persons DP’s
staring at me from refugee detention
post World War II and 2 Atomic bombs
Hiroshima and Nagasaki spectral ruins
in the back of travelogue close-ups
of what survived the epic carpet bombing
whole cities ignited in tornado fire storm
people being mass sprayed with DDT
and kids I knew were still getting polio
and coming back out on their porches
to sit in the sun and recover in steel braces
what a miracle when we all took Salk vaccine
and polio became a distant long gone fear
so now a whole cult of individual this and
my that and how could we live without
the special brand the fatal branded cult
unschooled home school public wealth
not public health college loan interest debt
our debt their wealth all summed up on
credit card interest rates usury as winner
takes all Agent Orange Head electoral
college defecation detection evacuation
establishment brained mutual convention
it’s all just one big conspiracy Pizza-gate
Watergate Iran-contra Monica-gate, yes
only The Shadow knows what evil lurks
in the hearts of men, men, men, men, men
in pandemic hoax, self-deception oh, so
failed conception, devious selfish reception
altered state of elementary miseducation
down home schooled misinformation delusion
                           lack of light


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.