Every night I dream of crows and coyotes
but then the daily afternoon rain storms
seemed to have scared my totems away.

We can’t even pretend to remember the litany
of institutional and infrastructure failure.

There’s the part swept for miles through the pipes
of the public water system that ended up washed
into the Charles River and shut off everyone’s faucets
and the coal mine in W. Virginia that killed 29
in an exploding inferno of unattended leaked gas.
There’s the geyser that erupted in the bottom
of the Gulf of Mexico and there’s the two endless
quagmire wars wrapped up in the Bloody Shirt of 9/11
which they wave in our eyes when we ask why?
There’s the millions of unemployed who somehow have
to pay for the toxic assets that destroyed their jobs.
There’s the way of life that clearly was predictably
not sustainable decades ago that must nevertheless
go right on now because it’s way too late anyway…

This leaves all of us trying to figure out
how we’re supposed to make a living now…

It’s been like this all along but some of us
had a vision of something else coming.
We’ve been waiting a long, long time
but we can still see the bright colors there
of the green grass and the clear blue sky
with the red ball of the sun morning and
evening there’s that great blue black space
waiting for us to find a brand new place.


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.