by Robert Long

I'm annoyed with Freud. It seems
That, underneath the surface beauties
Of Civilization and Its Discontents lurks
The desire to create the perfectly balanced,

"Productive" individual, someone who
Gets up in the morning and goes to work
On the tomato paste assembly line
With a smile on his face, neurosis-lessly.

Isn't all of this theory based on the assumption
That everyone needs to function
In the service of some larger identity,
Say, The State? I find this idea disturbing

These cold autumn afternoons as I sit unproductively
Chain-smoking and staring out
Into the pellucid October light over the bay
As seagulls scratch the glass of the sky

Far in the distance. After all, Freud
Drew his models from literature, not
The other way around. I'm on Rilke's side.
When my angels arrive I don't want to mistake them

For archetypes or the triter variety of hallucination,
And if I have to live with devils,
So be it. I don't think I'll ever get my mind
Right enough to go out blankly into the diurnal smoke screen

To serve some corruption of the notion of order
That masquerades as civilization. Neurosis notwithstanding,
I'm sticking with art.

Other Selected Poems from Blue:

Excellent Coffee Shop
Tie City
Terminal Cafe