All of my mime teachers studied with Etienne DeCroux
the creator of modern mime this elegant art form that
so perfectly, geometrically described the aneles, curves
in an exhaustive analytic study of elemental human body
in all its possible inclinations, shock “dynamo-rhythms”

The Great Enemy of this system of living individual elements
was the pantomime, that left over street trick long gone hack
going back, back to the perennial philosophy of indigenous
cultures everywhere tri-partite underground heavenly vision
of this Earth and its birthing bowels and the soaring away sky
the quest of above and below for meaning and healing here,
right here on this banal everyday tired subway out a window

The 20th century brought us the total pinnacle of the language
of the body in silent film only to dissolve under high pressure
hose of sound, the spoken word already become the prophecy
of the completion of the news flash electric revolution started
(of course) by Boston native Benjamin Franklin in (perhaps) first
ever crash research project who knew we needed lightning rods

So that now as we live our lives with these pesky thing computers
constantly collecting and mirroring our every stroke and action
we are stricken by our own reversed images, little flitting selves
that stagger down this long stationary walk of clicking mirrors
Good acting is equated with subtle close up friendly tics
and the mime body is seen as the ultimate of over acting
fact is ever so much compelling than mere made up fiction
no can imagine the present world’s mind-numbing actuality

And we say “if you’re not afraid you’re not paying attention”
no wonder some preferred a pantomime president, this huge
gesture of hate and arrogance and lies to what a half century
of political opportunism threw up on the shore of corruption
                               made legal.


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.