The only way to see where you’ve been
is to look at it from somewhere else.
How disconcerting to pierce the bubble only
to find the other side looking back at you.
Even as we go down the uneven steps
into the cave of dusty religious relics
all they seem to see is mass murder
and this strange fetish against gun laws.
Even as we walk Hadrian’s Wall
and experience the geologic fault line,
the volcanic uplift on which it is built
we feel the economic fault, dollars to pounds.
Even as we ride through the great vacant center
we feel the wastes of the moors that spread
in lapping, devouring waves of manmade
devastation that leaves us in silent solitude.
Over the ferry sea smooth as hidden hermitage
past the hole in the wall castle where the kids
hang out and smoke cigarettes, if we could just
find the way to those ancient spiral stones
Then we would see the roots in the field.
Then we would know where we really are.
Then we would read the blank head stone.
Then we would find how to get back home.
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. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.