I’m already bleeding before I even leave the door.
As usual I’ve managed to cut that same place just under my right nostril which I always think I’ll be
careful of but never am.
So dabbling with toilet paper I keep seeing those red spots on white tissue as I gather my bag and slip the umbrella my son found for me at the dump around my wrist where I hope it won’t get lost like I always
do for some reason when I get umbrellas.
But at least I coagulate well and by the time the train is rolling out of Ashmont Station the bleeding will
just be a sore spot and then I will be watching Dorchester, Field’s Corner to the projects of South Boston,
just before the tunnel when it’s all like a tunnel where you go in not knowing what horror or fright will
jump out at you in the dark and especially on the week-end you know they might spring anything on you
as if your humanity, your need for order and predict-ability could vanish on those days when the 9 to 5
similarly disappear to invisible space.
And, you, of course are headed dead center to where no one wants to go even as they flock like never
They all will be there if only because they are ever passing through. Passing Thru. Passing Thru. Always
passing thru again.
I have been passed thru, too, just as I draw the Labyrinth on the Common I travel that subterranean path
and come out at the very center of this city of God where the Nautilus looks up to the Golden Dome and
the guys will be waiting for me 3 new friends in old age.
Indeed, I am elder among elders and the brothers seek sisterhood.
And each time I go through this passage of peaceful arms tempting all the Furies of anger and prejudice
and hatred it comes out as duel with death and indeed twice I felt a fainting that made me question my
own health so the journey home thru the underground and the walk from the end of the line leaves me
storm bellied and wobbly legged looking for the sky through clasped eyelids and rolling on my back to
find physical comfort from the pain in my deepest innards and no one knows where the heart stops and
the growling belly begins.
Only later will my own excess emotion and the world’s carefully comprised logic sort into their own
absolutely separate decanters.
Only later will I find deliverance in having done what was always hardest for me to do: standing in public
and saying as best I can what is really going on and that finally if we all come together we can really do
something about it all, this All One Thing we have created from the multiplicity of things, a thousand bits
of everything for which we have found all these names, All One Thing. All One Thing. All One Great
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. Today marks his one year anniversary as a poet columnist for Oddball Magazine.