You can tell how much pain they’re in
there’s razors in their voices and blood
in their poor shellshock riveting eyeballs
empty headed swivel necked foot bound

We still shine quiet patient perseverance
even when the only one thing left to do
is to avoid conflict without ever showing
how it feels to to be entombed far below

The prevailing illusions of failing empire
last ditch effort to resell the same old lies
double down, triple down, quadruple put
on the bloated budgets and repeated rip-offs

You turn at the sound splitting the silence
you see the coyote heading toward the fence
you see his mate scattering back for cover
you know what’s been is doomed and over

Up in the sky it’s a bird, no it’s a plane
down below it’s all post-traumatic 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.