I have been drawing rainbow labyrinths now for years
(actually since the court decision legalized same sex unions)
and switch my colors (all fifteen shades primary and secondary
red orange yellow green blue purple to purple blue green yellow orange
red outer rim to much smaller center but sometimes I still come up extra
in certain chalk sticks and have to invent new color schemes to use them

so still working out heart design labyrinths over a week after Valentine’s
I color my “V” for peace fingers figure labyrinth first pink and red and
turquoise and a navy blue at which point as I stand thinking about which
colors to use next time suddenly this aggrieved voice assails my
of yellow and orange saying “I been watching you and I hate your use
of colors all the same” and realize she must have only seen my red

and blue recent creations when I was lost in rainbows (actually
to honor Fred Hampton original rainbow coalition author of counter-
culture coalition politics of inclusion and unity who was assassinated by
Nixon’s COINTELPRO) of course I never got to tell her that even though
          if asked
I always say it because she kept going off on me yelling about how my
          privilege kept
me from seeing real color when in fact I realized my privilege is what
          keeps everyone

from seeing what a shy outsider in extrovert land of narcissism exposed
in which I’ve lived my life whole working, working away surviving
the fastest swimmer who rarely won the flip turn running into the wall
(or missing it) the secret student rambling rat seeing it all unseen but
only later after her dis-ease brittles off up the Common finally then
I know my labyrinth name and I’m chanting it slowly learning
OPEN MY HEART OPEN MY HEART over it all so I go out
the very next day to color in all my full range of color
another glowing circle rainbow labyrinth…


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.