Back in old Dojo daze empty hand karate technique
of no first strike vulnerability becomes invulnerable
to any chance attack any ultimate deception any
thing that could possibly happen any conception
of life or God or attempt to package up existence
exposed out there surrounded a revelation a way
of life stripped down to bone left all alone and just
so never so connected so fused even refused to world
so mortal so evanescent even transient gone before
even being known sown flown away so unrecognized
before our eyes before any imprint quick circle block
in this housing crisis biggest real estate bubble yet
just the next blow in status quo PUFF! PUFF! PUFF!
and here we go four times as many unoccupied houses
as homeless living under bridges in Oakland in NYC
in San Francisco in Boston and I remember when they
burned down our classic triple-deckers, Jamaica Plain
to Dorchester for insurance money and I got woke up
to see a stolen car in flames across the street house-
sitting for a small contractor now how can we afford
to live where half the buildings pass hands all in cash
and I even I wonder how long can I continue to live here
where everyone was once so eager to escape to get out
now that this place is again where they all want to live.


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.