I've been a practicing psychoanalyst since l984 and have been publishing case studies that read like short stories for years in places like The Psychoanalytic Review and The Partisan Review. For the past few years I've been meaning to publish a jargon-free book for the general public: The Man In The BMW and Other Psychoanalytic Stories but each time I'm ready to tie them all together I get waylaid by theater. Or a new book of poems. Finally my wife, Linda, and I are going to finish the book of ten "stories." If you're interested you can find the Man In The BMW on Google.
Back on the V, I’m headed nowhere fast.
The faces blur, as if we’ve all been gassed.
But we’re on 51rst and safe, my stop.
I’m smiling at a different transit cop
And running upstairs, as I’ve done all day.
I turn back when I hear a rock band play
Yesterday, of course, New York City’s song.
A crowd forms, and with them sing along.
Soon everyone is laughing, crying, silent-
ly thinking we are loving and non-violent.
But blaring Death won’t leave this town alone.
The band leader passes the microphone
And we sing fragments of “New York, New York.”
I raise my fingers, V, a tuning fork
And from this chorus swaying underground
One pure voice rises, on angelic sound,
Wordless, enduring passion breaking free
Above the traffic gridlock’s horns’ cacophony.
I’m brightened by the sunlight in Times Square,
Our Disney World, this playwright’s downfall, where
We sold, when broke, the touring Japanese
Steel Twin Towers, tin Empire States,
Miniature cabs, New York license plates,
Statues of Liberty – cheap souvenirs.
Reduced Manhattan harmlessly disappears
From huge stores, small stands, psst psst knock-off bags
Winos lug, made of American flags.
This Times Square is a souk, a carnival
Where tattooed druggies mix with biblical
Preachers and peep-show businessmen who lurk
For quick fixes before their pin-striped work,
Among the hawkers of fake jewelry:
Americans Al Immortality
Makes prey – Mozambiques and Vietnamese
And Pakistanis, Malis, Japanese
--All splendid, decking out the goods we’d sell,
All multicolored, every infidel,
And Saudis, Yemenis, and Sudanese.
America is packed in a valise
Each opens, not a dirty bomb,
A vial of smallpox, there’s no murder in the smile
Of missing teeth or, if they’re lucky, gold.
They’re all New Yorkers, flashy, chatty, bold
Beneath huge billboards selling underwear
On gorgeous nudes, huge sculpture in mid-air,
And ads for scotch and DVD’s and slacks.
This is what Al Immortality attacks.
The whole square trumpets, This is Liberty,
These "teeming masses yearning to be free”
Of amputation, clitorectomy;
For what these peddlers joyfully declare
Is real Americana, buy, compare
Manhattan Music, passionately rare.
Author's Note: This is a section from Dark Carnival: A Dramatic Monologue, the sequel in FALLOUT to Manhattan Carnival, my most written about work (which you can find on my little click and build website--if you go to the first Google entry for Frederick Feirstein) The “Fallout” in this book is from 9/ll and right afterwards and 6 years after 9/ll. Here Mark Stern is the narrator and main character of the long dramatic poem. Preceding it are several lyrics At the end of FALLOUT there is a jargon-free psychoanalytic essay about why I needed to move away from the lyrics to the long dramatic poem. Word Tech published FALLOUT. The Partisan Review published the essay which also can be found on Google.
©2017 Frederick Feirstein
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