Lake Effect, Spring 2008, Volume 12: According to Freud

Lawrence Raab


According to Freud

there are no accidents,
though it could take years
of talk to figure out why.  Meanwhile,
your wife has left you.  She didn’t need
to be sure.  According to her,

there are only accidents—
the allure of secrets, then nothing
but the shabby appearances of order.
So today you believe in fate,
tomorrow in freedom.  The curse is Greek

and absolute.  Follow that road far enough
and you have to tear your eyes out because
you can’t bear to see the day
you’ve spent your life trying to avoid
and crawling towards.  It’s enough

to drive you crazy, and you feel like
tearing your eyes out all over again.
According to Freud, that story
conceals another, the one in which
every son needs to take his father’s place.

Nor is the father innocent.
Nor the wife who doesn’t want
to think about it.  Nor the world
in which a man can make these things up,
as if behind the accidents of life

were the quarrels of gods.  And this,
according to Freud, reminds us
of something else, once familiar,
but now so far away
we have to die to get there.