Vol 94 No 1
The Human Mind
In melancholia, the feeling of a poverty-stricken ego, hopelessly far removed from the ego-ideal and utterly disinterested in life and love; in mania, a false sense of having achieved this ideal. We know that the tension of striving towards the ideal, the pressure of instinctive interests and demands, the dynamic balancing of emotional reactions seem to snap like the mainspring of a watch, and the wheels cease moving or else run away with themselves.
– Karl Menninger, “The Human Mind” (1947)
In those days, we had an acceptance of others that didn’t rest
on their achievements. Melancholia, we cherished.
But how is an individual built? On the theories of the past.
Feeling, reeling, congealing in the halfbaked, kvelling afternoon
of the nation. One minute serving you drinks from a tray, the next –
Poverty, daisycutters, deodorizers with the best shapes ever.
I looked in the family and there was Armageddon too.
(Ego, undiluted, waddled fat and scared upon the earth.)
Hopelessly, we listed characters: Princess Rayanne, Hell-No,
the chunky boy with X’s for eyes. Far too hip for this trip,
Avery read the encyclopedia. Removed her lifejacket.
Groped for her father’s wisdom. Laid end to end,
her mother’s love would no road pave. The intellect’s
a pissy thing, a fortress. She had glimpsed the body psyche
of her mom, a quick and potentially lethal high.
Having rummaged for toffee and found none, the kids raged
for five more minutes of TV, attained them – yes, ended up
with complexes maybe.We got about as far as
It hurts to be here. A sun of answers supernova’d
from the deepest thinkers yet.We maintained the gift of admiration.
Things were different then life was a fucking pizza party,
all crepuscular backtalk and devil’s paintbrushes, the
joys that pieced me, block by block. I seem to recall
a sort of exalted despair, a sort of If I don’t know this
someone else will. Far away, poets made boring poems, but
for interesting people. Meatballs languished in sauce.
And then I lost the gift of – I forget what.
Labia ablaze, I tugged and tugged at my clitoris. Needed
to make sense of an utterly empty vessel. Sorry. But needed to.
Disinterested women were the sexiest, the green satinest.
In the supermarket, they were convinced that Hollywood applied.
Life was . . . a house, the house done up in wiggle room
and petit point, a throwing up of hands and in of the towel.
Mania we drank, adrenaline we chewed, and for what?
A few women botched in the teeth (unfluoridated).We knew.
We took the tests. False. True, false, false, true, true, true:
At least, that was the pattern we discerned.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The