Written for Jack Powers

Caught in conversation, I always hear
pitiful palliative, pathetic plaint
echo of large machine, the grid round here
the place I look from, looks back fear, complaint:

Burst pipe, struck pole, fray wire, pierced shell, blown tire
bridge down, dam broke, levy gone, error in design
maniac down the hall, man up in fire
the road that kills, the disappeared sign

The endless struggle of the human race
the void, the great cold ice box universe
the screaming light, atom’s lost in space
the plot we all rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Life goes on with a frightful buzz
it’s amazing it works as well as it does.


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.