Only repetition can create meaning
out of the long slog from there to here
I’m driven to synchronously start writing
with my MANNA Black Seed writer peers

Just as I have been walking Haarlemmer-
— woods that my great-grands cousin
went there to stroll and last things remember
the clear sound of children’s voices buzzing

In the great eating hall of orphan’s weeshuis
where its previous incarnation old man’s almshuis
statue of bent age begging quiet as a mouse (muis)
is back up on facade of Frans Hals Huis (house)

Who had been brought inside out of the sun and rain
but now has I see a bolt in the back to fasten him again
to wall of the art museum so he will not tumble again
down below upon those swirling human heads of pain.


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.