This Winter of decay and defeat and death
stuck in middle age, crisis of dark age
stuttering renascence, late renaissance
always just beyond the horizon of this lowdown
broken storm of sun, a vision of frozen potential
and icy apocalypse, a dead furnace of devastated dream
dipping light in the last layer of the sky going down, down
never to rise again, oh, Lord never to rise again leaving
only a collapsed hulk at absolute zero in black and empty space.

This Winter, this Winter where we confront the dim demons
that drive, drive senseless cerebral seizures erasing blankness
the angel wings brushing our shoulders, pelting flurries knocking
us down from the heavens like avalanches down the valleys, the valleys
of echoing dialogues unheard into the solid rivers, unto glazed surfaces
skittering over bitter betrayal, impacted wisdom, twisted value ripping up
the shoreline and piling up at the edges of the bed rock in mute testimony
of roaring conflict like untold, uncounted casualty.

This winter, oh, yes this Winter, only and only, where in losing it that we might
in its loss suddenly in the very, very cold shivering shimmer and even the long
black night discover once again as we must and at the least always have
this is the light, here is the flame, this is the first winking, glimmering
and the warmth, the warmth we have desired so long, so hard
we had forgotten it exists.


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.