May Day! May Day! We used to yell as our imaginary airborne craft
plunged down so far into black hole abyss of our own childish apprehension
of mortality way below everything except May Day was Law Day even though
there was something about May Poles and children (like us?) skipping around
that projecting pole, little virgins holding ribbons to clothe that naked trunk
in finery in the colors of flowers and, of course, to crown the fairest of them all
the ancient Queen of May when only in the growing suburban decay was the
obverse of populist pastoral myth, was International Worker’s Day an American
creation gone international, the Haymarket Strike and the Haymarket bombing
where, you know, first they shot down the striking workers then they hanged the
organizers for the bombing of the protest meeting who weren’t even there and
they gave us a fraud, all too real like America, a Labor Day to make us forget
the struggle for the 8 hour day and the 40 hour week it spawned where we eat
too much barbecue to get fat and die of heart attack and cancer at the end of
Summer and we all wonder why? Why? Why do all these immigrants the undocumented
keep coming here to celebrate May Day! May Day! International Workers Day!
International Workers Day! And here it comes May Day, International Workers Day
which should now be Earth Day, yes, good old Mother Earth Day when the workers
finally wake up to the Earth to save our world, save the Earth and we hear the call
go out and out and out “All Hands on Deck” to save our common craft, our one and only
space ship Earth on Earth Day May Day, International Workers Day, May Day! May Day!
North Pole ice cap melting! Northern forests on fire! Drought and deserts spreading!
Sea level rising! Islands sinking!
May Day! May Day! ….. May Day! May Day!
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.