Compensatory

                    Girly—you go by ‘Girly’?
That seems to be the name that stuck.
                    Girly, in keeping with our progressive mission
……….      .. At this school—
But are you really?
                   Why, of course. See that wall.
                    Terminal degrees from Yale and Wellesley—
Oh, most of mine would seem emotion–
                   And that’s the problem we’re here to help.
But which, ma’am? There are thousands,
Some are shrill and some are quiet
In all arrays of feeling’s will.
                   Just pick one.
                  We’ll go from there.
                  As I say, we’re here to help.

Well, like just now,
You said my name
And I remember boys at sport
Choosing teams
To play baseball
And always being
Chosen last though hard
I worked to snap my wrist
Not to throw it like a sis.
The boy
Who laughed my case the most
Dubbed me “Girly” when I played
And got the others chiming in though
Yet they envied when I peed
That ‘Donkey’ hanging to my knee:

“Girly, could you only throw the ball
Like you’re fuckin’ hung, asshole.
Huh!  Huh!  Huh! “ they barged me
Roughly to the hall.  “Huh!!!

“Because,” I said, “you’ve said too much
And driven me to patient friend.”
“Like who?  What’s his name?”
“Solitude! And how she likes
The poems I write–“
Huh?
“–in the middle of the woods.”

“Psycho!” they scoffed, went their way
With indignant, clinic face
Of ‘Girly’ as a hopeless case,
Yet as my rep got out and up
Now this summons, me to you.

                   Yes, it’s called a ‘referral’
                    She averred. “One moment
                    While I consult your file.”

 

                   Girly, to sum up,
                    All of us can dwell too long,
                    Live excessive in our thoughts—
                   We call it ‘schizotype’ for short–
                   But now we have some tests for this
                   Which might could help you with your–skills.

In baseball?

                   Baseball, communication…
                   Here, it’s called a Rorschach test.
                   Just some inkblots on some cards.
                  Would you like to look at some?

Fine.

                   So what do you see in this one?
Well, in that blotch—I see—total isolation.
                  Where?
In the middle of a forest.
                  Very good.  Is the forest threatening?
Not at all.  In fact I’m feeling quite relaxed
Under that big Oak.”

                ..Un-huh.

A sparkle dazzles
Through the leaves
The ferns aground
Serenity.

                  I see.  And are you the only person there?
Yes, just me and Solitude alone.

                Tell me about Solitude.
Must I?  She’s my refuge
Of highest zest, a place where I
Can be myself.  Besides,
We made a pact.

……………….You have my assurances of
……………….Complete confidentiality.


Well, I can say, we talk a lot, Solitude and I—
                 , And?
And when I write a poem she likes
She kisses me—I’ll leave it there.
                 .What poem?
Well, in this blotch I hear something like

When the mind is gone the earth takes up;
So many times it comforts and consoles,
In fields of rye or just alone as it would
Without deeds, as the Indian saw, a virgin
Growth of many splendid hues—in old
Growth Pine along the coast or roaming west
To temperate trees—Maple, Oak, Elm, Birch.
What enthralling death a frost can paint
Enthralling their decidual leaves with gold–
That we should grow as gracefully from Spring!

                   Interesting. 
Yes, she really liked that one.

                   So what else do you see in this particular inkblot?

Well, I see one time, one time–
                   Yes?
She said, she said…
                   Solitude said–?

She said ‘You’re really kinda big for me…
I’ll hold it in my hand instead.

                   And Solitude held your hand in her hand?
Actually, it took her both hands.

                   So, to clarify, in this inkblot
                   You see Solitude
                   Holding your hand
                   In her hands
                   In this inkblot.
                   Is that correct?
If you say so.
                  No, YOU say so!
                  I’ve given you my assurances.
                 No one on this team is here to judge
                 Your relationship
                 With Solitude
                 In any way.
                 History discarded
                 The Puritans
                 Centuries ago.

Well, to be honest, when she used both hands
Up and down as she was, I actually said
I told her, ‘Just as well—I’m
Scared of pussy anyway.’

                   Beg your pardon!
Since last week.
                  Ahem, ahem.  Excuse me.
                  And what happened last week?
I watched this documentary.
                  By any chance on–STDs?
Actually, Hillary Clinton.

Forthwith she struck a matron mien
                  Test over!  That will be enough for now!
And with commanding matron glare
Commenced to throw the book at me:
Referrals here, referrals there,
Referrals to the River Styx

Schizo this and schizo that
And should I hint the slightest grin
‘Sociopath’ to crown my chart.


But not before—thank God—I found you here
(Once upon a thousand times exiled)
What I owe to your spirit, Solitude,
That oak we grew of countless acorn tips
Before the Empiricals came to pin us down
Again, a gnarled and lichen shambles,
Yet love enough for prophecy to sprout!

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