Wednesday, March 3, 2010

urgently communicating


“Urgently we try commu-
icating,” Donald Winnicott
declared, “while keeping out of view
what we believe is better not
communicated and revealed,
so what is literal is not what
we mean: although our lips aren’t sealed,
what’s said counts less than what we blot.

Ambiguity may come
to rescue us, if we are smart,
but if, like most, we’re really dumb,
a literal horse will pull our cart.
That’s why, of course, we need midrash,
which speaks in many, many voices,
and, giving a heart-warming rush,
connects us with a lot of choices.

The original idea for this poem is in my poem “Literal Meaning” (1/30/02)
The literal meaning is a trap
that Harold Bloom equates with death;
don’t fall into it when you rap
with prophets who declare, “God saith.”

Stacey D’Erasmo reviews “Oracle Night” by Paul Auster in the NYT Book Review (November 30, 2003) and writes:

[A]s the psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott once put it, artists are continually torn between ''the urgent need to communicate, and the still more urgent need not to be found.''


analysis and phalluses


A problem with a phallus is
an indication, Freud would say,
for very deep analysis,
for which, of course, you have to pay.

He said the same of gals who try
to reach a climax with their clit,
and anyone just slightly bi.
I wonder, does the Freudian writ
apply today, or have the rules
now changed, unlike the laws of Moses.
Anyone whom either fools
will say they haven’t, one supposes.
Both, although they’re obsolete,
have lots of fans of fans who need, I think,
more than analysis, some neat,
aged Islay Scotch––hold ice and shrink.

I do not want analysis;
the laws of Moses are enough
for me, because my phallus is
quite healthy and still up to snuff.

Written while contemplating my Freud-inspired poems.


forgetting someone you love


Forgetting someone whom you love
is like when, careless, you forget
to turn the light off. With the sun above
before it slowly starts to set
you don’t know what you have forgotten,
but once it’s dark you surely know.
The light forgotten should feel rotten
since you all day ignored its glow
while the sun was shining, and
you wasted lots of electric-
icity. Do understand
forgotten friends feel just like this!
Their light, of course, enables you
to see them when they start to spark,
but you should keep them in your view
before you need them, when it’s dark.

Inspired by a very brief poem by Yehudah Amichai:

Forgetting someone is like forgetting to turn off the light
in the backyard so it stays lit all the next day

But then it is the light that makes you remember.