Oh, back to the bad old days when unwanted pregnancies
became shotgun weddings and bad girls’ bodies were found
in the back alleys, oh, don’t take me back to those bad old days
when masturbation caused warts or even worse consignment
to Hell H-E double hockey sticks and the devil poked his head
in the window in the shadows of the apple tree, oh, way back
in the bad old days when there were still a few small towns left
and the suburbs were only just beginning to infest the countryside
and you could still walk the streets at night if you didn’t go to the
wrong part of town where the girls were so afraid in a way they
haven’t been for a very long time now and I doubt will ever again
go back, oh, go back to the bad old days, back to those bad days
of back alley abortions back to the days of gore on the floor back
to when bad girls didn’t matter anymore, oh back to bad old days


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.