Tag Archives: psychology

Jekyll/Hyde

fragments from Underworld

Said Will, while pointing to the place he stood,
There’s Henry Jekyll, also known as Hyde.
Though math’s not how he earned his doc’tral hood,
His project was to physic’lly divide
The human soul into the “Bad” and “Good”
And fully feel the power of each side.
It seems his fame’s the sort to always soar
Because his name’s become a metaphor.

 
Of such distinctions, people are quite fond.
Imagined cosmic wars of Right and Wrong
Are something few of us have moved beyond.
We’ve seen in black and white so very long
For fear that existence is a pond
Whose waters flow around the pointed prong
Which, partnered up with Concept’s nimble knife,
Attempts to slice, then pin and label life.

 

 

 

 

Mad Method

Like Byron, of whose work I’m quite a fan,
I often yield to whimsy of the mind
And stumble ‘round without a guiding plan,
While rarely knowing what I hope to find
Asleep in corners that I probe and scan.
[I don’t decide the way the threads unwind].
I’ve written things I’ve barely understood
And seen results that mix the bad and good.

“GOING DEEP”

My Muse is scared of going underground,
So she’ll not take me places too profound.
And, if she ventures deep into my soul,
She’ll tunnel through it like a digging mole
Who sniffs his way around because he’s blind
And never sees the things his nose will find.
Perhaps her fear that I’ll be trapped or hurt
Prevents my pen from prying ‘neath the dirt.
The times I’ve grabbed the map to Caves of Self,
She’s whispered, “Please return that to the shelf.”
I’ve wondered if she keeps my poems light
Because she deems my talents sadly slight
And hopes I’ll never have to fail and know
I’ve gone the deepest that I’ll ever go.

“Don Juan”

“I’ve been Narcissus–gazing at the pool,
Enchanted by the ghost reflected there,
Manipulating others like a tool
So they’ll assure me that my type is rare.
Those beautiful faces that have tempted me
Have never earned their share of guilt and blame.
They’re mirrors showing what I want to see,
Illusions forced to fit inside my frame.
The Siren songs I always curse and scorn
[Once pleasure’s poison has destroyed my ear]
Are like a skillful servant on a horn
Who’ll play the melodies I want to hear.
The charming predator inside’s been loosed,
and I’ve become seducer and seduced.”

“Sirens”

You quickly cross that peril off the list
Because the danger, you assume, has passed,
But other sets of Sirens still exist
And might enchant you when no ropes or mast
Or loyal friends with wax to stop their ears
Restrain your mad, unquenchable desire
To touch the blazing sun that sears
Without enduring its consuming fire.

It’s easy to resist when you’re in chains
And friendly prison guards can’t hear your voice,
But one who’s absolutely free refrains
When fatal pleasure has become a choice.
Until you’ve walked by foes without your crutch,
Surviving battles doesn’t mean that much.

a sonnet by Paul Burgess

“Narcissus”

[Narcissus–painted by   Carvaggio]

“Narcissus”
As I gazed in a pond by a tree,
I was met by a copy of me
Who could mimic my talk
And the way that I walk.
He was fine as a fellow can be.

a limerick by Paul Burgess

 

 

The Absurd Wit and Dubious Wisdom of a Madman

10 Epigrams by Paul Burgess
I. [“Deer Money”]
A conversation quickly makes it clear
That venison’s the meat that’s held most dear.
All people seem to talk about or know
Is how to hunt some bucks or get some doe.

II. [“An Ineffective M.O.”]
To kill with kindness murderers once tried
But found intended victims rarely died.

III. [“Epigram on an Anagram”]
A “poem” might become a mixed up “mope”
Composed by some absurdly gloomy dope.

IV. [When will you write a serious poem?”: an Epigrammatic Reply]
If writing serious and earnest rhymes,
I might be jailed for literary crimes.

V. [“Praying Mantis Mating”]
A praying mantis says, “The sex was great!”
The womantis nods before she grabs her plate.

VI. [“A Teacher’s Epitaph”]
They will appreciate me when I pass.
I know they’ll say, “He had a lot of class.”

VII. [“The Unconscious Liar”]
Don’t trust a snoring man who’s closed his eyes
Because it’s said of him, “Asleep he lies.”

VIII. [“Carpe Diem!”]
Some never feel alive, it’s often said,
Except when doing what might make them dead.

IV. [“Hobbes]
When influential monarchist Thomas Hobbes
Suggests that men in nature are like brutes,
The modern readers say, between their sobs,
“I guess some haven’t left behind their roots.”

X. [“Freud”]
The most insightful book by Sigmund Freud
Says less of mother-loving we’d avoid.
In Civ’lization and its Discontents,
There’s less of Oedipus and more of sense.

“Goldfinch”

a sonnet by Paul Burgess

American Goldfinch

Upon reflection it would make no sense,
But when I saw you feeding near the tree,
I nearly ran to close the open fence
Though knowing that to come and go you’re free.

Invading space around my ribs and heart,
The panic rested only when I paused
And knew that Master Fear had shown his art
Replete with terrors nothing real has caused.

My heart becoming calmer in my chest,
I thought, “How very odd, insane, absurd
For fears about my dog to manifest
As fears about that little garden bird.”

What magic matches anxious minds for tricks?
What else can make a snake of harmless sticks?

 

“The Underdog Effect”

A prose reflection by Paul Burgess
– Consistent winners are often polarizing. While hated by many, they are loved by others who enjoy sharing vicariously in their glory. Consider the envy and hostility many spectators feel towards athletes and teams that seem indestructible, and think of the appeal of the ‘underdog’ with whom many identify.

-Perhaps the underdog effect is related to its ability to inspire in people the following thought process: “I, little lowly me, could also succeed at slaying the big dragon. People might look at me as meek, but I have potential. Look at those other underdogs who’ve proven the world wrong! I’d love to obtain similar vengeance on public opinion […or what I’ve perceived as public opinion when I’ve narrated my life’s dramas to myself]. I’d love to have “them” feel that they were wrong […although they likely never think of “me.”]

– Sometimes people who are not underdogs like to feel that they have been in order to experience a sense of vindication  in defying the supposed expectations of the doubters; they imagine the abstract crowd of doubters –often dubbed ‘the world’– thinking to itself, “I sure was wrong about so and so.” What fantasies and narratives we weave about ourselves!

-Might some people’s love of underdogs be motivated by pleasure derived from opposing prevailing opinion? Betting on the underdog means to go against “the crowd” while remaining in the security of another crowd (i.e. the “underdog’s supporters”). Some people might side with the underdog because they enjoy fantasizing about the malicious joy of taunting the mighty. Whether mighty or meek, people often indulge in thinking of themselves as underdogs whose failures can be attributed to their participation in a rigged game; when they succeed despite facing ostensibly long odds, they expect “the World’s” applause to ring more loudly than it would for the entitled victors of “the Establishment”–an abstract group containing miscellaneous “types” with whom they do not identify.

“Bad Shrink!”

Some shrinks with credentials unreal
Do little to help one to heal.
If your itchy old sty
Says people must die,
They’ll ask, “How’s that making you feel?”

A shrink with a bogus degree
Provides what I’d give you for free.
When patients are ill
And threaten to kill,
His reply is always “I see.”

Two limericks by Paul Burgess.