The Poems

Lying as Wishful Thinking

From the Summer, 2018, issue 

(No. 41)

The year of reading about Freud

being an endearing fuck-up. The year

of innermost list building, list looking.

The year of friends falling and the year

of learning to walk in the snow so also

the year of really seeing your feet move

for the first time. Your feet and nothing

else making a muffled crunch as they

drop away. The year of admitting money

might have played a part; of reading

that Freud was in love with his drug

dealer. But where did you read that

and how could anyone know such

a thing? The last year of the penny

and the year before a new pin

for each card. The year of lying

as wishful thinking, of willing

the indignity down and watching

it bob back up, no matter how much

worthless copper put in its pockets.

The year of more disastrous magic

and Freud inventing narcissism

as a diagnosis for clients resistant

to analysis. The lost year. The year

of augmentation and of associating

olive oil with bananas. The last year

of olive oil and bananas; of carelessly

constructing the memory of olive oil

and bananas—of unlived lives lived

alongside an arbitrary month amount

that drags at each end. Sluggish fantasies,

erotic or not: drowning swimmers flailing

their arms to grasp their rescuer, dragging

the lifeguard down with them. The year of

redefining infection: germs as pessimism,

the unconscious things said that are only

audible when the audio is reversed.

The year of living fundamentally,

the old believers returning to Siberia

only to be discovered by geologists

forty years later and die of exposure

to diseases they had no immunity to,

diseases they fled but were found by.

The year of falling out of love with Freud

and the year of summoning the strength

to tell him to find his coke elsewhere now;

of Freud, wandering from chemist to chemist,

really seeing his feet move for the first time.