Someone picked the perfect place right under the aluminum tower of the Boston Fed
which someone now says was the first of all the Federal Reserve Banks, of course,
Boston Calvinist pilgrim hometown would be the first Federal Reserve bank, yeah, yeah
and when I finally get down to the camp there is the statue of Gandhi in Dewey Square

Waiting there for me as if to take off again on one of his marches across the country
still spinning cotton into homespun cloth and heading for the sea to make salt for free.
Together we will find the wall of self expression and sit there cross legged old man style
as the sun heads for the heads of the financial towers between us, Chinatown , Downtown.

Someone comes to sit with me but I’m deep in relaxation and together only gets deeper
and everyone is waiting for the singer songwriter I first met at the Marcel Marceau workshop.
That was the last time I was undeployed so I see I must somehow be following her strange
immobile bride act one more time on my way to figuring out a brand new way to live in crisis.

Who would have thought I would live this long endless decade to arrive as elder in this time
of crisis totally unable to understand why this is happening to me after all these permutations?
Total system failure persisted in until (not because of war, not because of debt, not because of
free market fundamentalist fraud) but simply because you can only pervert the mission of your
institutions only so long before like when you don’t change the oil in your engine the guck cakes
up and the whole crank case full of delicate innards then eventually inevitably totally freezes up.

That’s what already almost happened when the credit crisis occurred three years ago. The system
had a heart attack but somehow they managed to revive it with the most desperate of resuscitation
techniques pounding on the cash key at the Fed and blowing in guarantees of financial support
for money markets and toxic assets and yet they’ve done nothing to bring their risky behavior under
control, no they’re back to all their old dirty tricks, resisted whatever feeble efforts at change and are
ready to go on with all the crime which caused the crisis in the first place as if nothing had happened.

Then they look out of their office windows and wonder “why are those ants down there camped outside”
but Gandhi is giant when you see him up close and somehow his bare legs invite us to stay the winter.


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. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.