I’m just standing there with my sign
(that just says NO WAR ON YEMEN)
listening to one of my rad brothers
say this thing I’ve been working on
for weeks of looking back in my books
I hadn’t opened in combo ever before
“it’s like their violence is just so special,
entirely different the enemy’s violence
which instead of just killing redeems”
about the drone strikes and bombings
of “terrorists” in far distant Afghanistan
(just played out again as it has all over
rural Afghanistan for 2 decades when
in response to ISIS-K attack that killed
thirteen marines and over 100 Afghans
the President ordered retaliatory strikes
that then blew up a car and whole family
3 adults and at least 6 children boom!)
gone I am at once repulsed and shocked
still it’s the Cult of Redemptive Violence
Marduk Babylonian God in combat in war
of the gods intergenerational matricide
of Tiamat whose body he divides in pieces
to create the Cosmos in midst of the Chaos
the imperial order of the forever threat
over there over here and ever so human
dysfunctional the Daddy-owe-oh, oh, oh
patriarchal authority bright colored figures
they know it all and we know nothing at all
they do whatever we can’t do one little thing
about any of it perpetually we are caught
between slavery and the company store
the mailed fist with whip lashing us on into
global corporate personhood that leaves us
just where we always are all way too human
all too much aware consciousness embodied
experience cosmic vastness all this space, space


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.