Instead of tending toward a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as in an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence.
          The Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan, 1962, p. 44.

I can hardly write: the fine pen point is so heavy
the paper is concrete, material substance to be pushed through
the whole world All One Thing has congealed. Gaza is Guernica
again we have to explain it all
this is our Guernica
the fascists have come together to bomb an innocent city into submission
“It’s a colonial massacre” John on the corner of the Common says
and what can anyone say
when the pictures are worth much more than a thousand words
and the horror of governments bombing their own people
and governments so sectarian they cannot even stand
tighter and tighter the energy grows
until it springs out the way it came
quick as grace, dead as cross nail
the dying system, the living process

Oh, the tele-genically dead, oh, oh, oh
Oh, the telegenically dead children
Oh, the little cloth draped baby forms
Oh, the tiny arms and legs akimbo
Oh, the besieged cities just full of children
Oh, Gaza, Oh, Homs, Oh, Donetsk
Oh, the bodies falling from mid-air and no one
even knows whose missile blasted them from the sky
Oh, the cities without electricity,
without pumps, without sewage,
without clean water, without any water at all
45 years of cold war manipulation of government around the world
and then the governments secreted by this long largely secret dirty war
Oh, surprise turn their guns and drop their bombs on their own long repressed populations
Oh, rebellion, Oh, rebellion


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.