Back before this last long millennium
somehow managed to go so 21st century
to spawn our Current Age digital divide
the archeologists found the ancient routes
of the frankincense trade in old Yemen
still apparent in the fragile desert ecology
of the Arabian Peninsula facing on out
to the Gulf of Aden and then the Red Sea
this place, this portal of time onto Africa
on the Rift Valley fault line of continents
where I now always see great child’s eyes
in a famine face embedded in a bare gurney
that stares at me over her spindly little legs
with painted finger nails on pencil thin arms
that gesture to me for help or is it what
I can’t know even though I’ve been out there
protesting , keeping vigil week after week
religiously even with a sign I pick that says
NO WAR ON YEMEN still our government
sold the bombs, and refueled the bombers
re-enforced the blockade, supplied intelligence
when there’s nothing intelligent at all about
any of it, presidents change, bombs still fall
while the modern medieval siege goes on and
on our sign those great child eyes stare at me
from the ancient land they once called Sham
oh, is she the many, many great granddaughter
of the Queen of Sheba of Solomon’s temple fame?


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.