Ship’s on fire
no way to even see the blaze
flames in the swirling smoke
middle of the night
War President
Agent Orange Head
ball bearings spin in hand
standing at the helm
can only see himself
50 years of southern strategy
in bed with a New York huckster
doesn’t even know there is a rudder
wouldn’t deign to put hand on helm
oh, leave it all to the market
funda-mentalist dream of Utopia
it’s all just a collection of individuals
all moved by that unthinking hand
while everywhere in all of us
no where no here expands
no wealth without public health
real wealth is public health
public health is the only wealth


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.