Will Barnum
looks at the title of the novel
across the train aisle,
“Total Control will never keep down Complete Chaos,”
he says with a wry smile.

The headlines glare back
with the War on Iraq,
as we discuss scenarios
on the way to Lowell
and the Revolving Museum:
a clown, a caricaturist, palm reader,
belly dancer and the swirling, hurtling steel balls
of an automatic, popular culture gizmo-naught
where all our plans will come to naught.


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.