July [18] 2008


An obsessive headshrinker sat before her,

and somewhere in the greek omlet

his outer rim of skin began to peel

into toasty shreds of multiplicity.

Through her large brown eyes

I too saw in him

deficits of ego functioning

floating in mushrooms and feta cheese,

there for the voyeurs of psychiatry

and students of distortion

to partake of the madness of amor.

And then to me without clinical covering,

she inquired,

why at 37

had I never married?

In matters of the heart

this was my Achilles Heel.

My old brain frowned

as darts of former lovers

hurled from remote memory,

their projected demands for perfection,

my classical refractory nature

overcompensating libidinally,

sublimation as graduate

Professor of Human Misery,

masking true nakedness

in the service of some prince-

wretched and pedestrian mother


I could no longer eat the eggs.

As I stirred my fork ever pensively,

she seemed quite pleased with her percepts.

I then asked the waitress

for a third cup of coffee

(maybe it was the fourth),

and redirected the conversation

to something less threatening,

I believe the Aids epidemic.

She said Aids didn’t worry her much,

but then she had recently heard

that as a group, psychologists

had alarming rates of suicide.

I flashed on my old Siberian wolf fantasy,

stranded in that small clearing of frozen tundra,

by day supervising the unprotected children,

providing some laughter

and the illusion of safety;

by night, left alone to survive

the perimeters of darkness

and the ice numbing cold

while clutching a frozen branch

to evade the wolves at my feet

as petrified vessels capsized

the frostbit ridges of my ears…

The intrusive busboy then

wiped my many crumbs,

I paid the check and promised,

(as one does) to call her again “real soon”

before hurrying home past the lot

where they bury old men and dead cats,

stirred with forgotten battlefronts.

I thought of Jung’s looseness in his late thirties,

and Freud’s escape to the Seduction Theory

and wondered,

Are we really so different today?

And why was it, I searched in vain,

ALWAYS for the male embodiment…

a beautiful woman was precipitant?

The specific kind of beautiful woman

(that is destined, if you will,

to become one’s breakfast date) and

in particular,

her alluring and dangerous aspects–

insofar as the psyche itself

already is a woman to us,

all the more still, I reasoned,

to we who are not, in truth,

fully our own masters.

I then finished some case notes

and prepared for my next hour.

Like all men in the pursuit of their passions

a good shrink has many lines of defense.

Due to his ethical bent,

the people he attracts,

and the curious effect

his work will have upon his personality,

he will need them more than more most.




  1. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

    • artrosengarten Says:

      Thank-you Sandra. I hope you will explore the many cracks and crannies. Always love to hear from readers. Thanks again, Art

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