Just separated from my wife and five year old son
living in small utility room on the then poor side
of Beacon hill for a few months trying to survive
on $80 a week really knowing I couldn’t make it
I go over the hill from Myrtle and Joy St. on way
to Boston Common to fly paper airplanes in air
on the breeze that brings the sound of transistor
radio playing disco and interrupted by the “news”
to say in Ohio the KKK was demonstrating in front
their State House and I could already feel it born
with Jimmy Carter just having taken office a few
months before but already the Age of Reagan was
looming there with me “Staying Alive” blasting on
tiny speakers and white supremacy poking out of
Supreme Court decisions equating money and free
speech I could feel it coming at me, at all of us there
another fake Labor Day no one even cares mention
the actual workers as if labor is something separate
from the humans who do it pure marxist alienation
all the dirty work, endless tasks, chores, operations
that would fill up and all too often totally over run
my life for the next almost half a century only to find
myself back on the Common all these years later still
throwing my paper planes up into the wind where now
an updraft catches this tiny one from notebook paper
given by my granddaughter and lifts it up way above
the trees out over Tremont St. and up the face of this
old six story building and then over the top of the roof
where it hovers before it finally disappears still flying.


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.