I took the Lexington Avenue subway
To arrive at you in your glory days
Of the Nineteen Fifties when we believed
That you could solve any problem
And I had nothing but disdain
For “self-analysis” “group analysis” “Jungian analysis”
“Adlerian analysis” the Karen Horney kind
All—other than you, pure Freudian type—
Despicable and never to be mine!
I would lie down according to your
Dictates but not go to sleep.
I would free-associate. I would say whatever
Came into my head. Great
Troops of animals floated through
And certain characters like Picasso and Einstein
Whatever came into my head or my heart
Through reading or thinking or talking
Came forward once again in you. I took voyages
Down deep unconscious rivers, fell through fields,
Cleft rocks, went on through hurricanes and volcanoes.
Ruined cities were as nothing to me
In my fantastic advancing. I recovered epochs,
Gold of former ages that melted in my hands
And became toothpaste or hazy vanished citadels. I dreamed
Exclusively for you. I was told not to make important decisions.
This was perfect. I never wanted to. On the Har-Tru surface of my emotions
Your ideas sank in so I could play again.
But something was happening. You gave me an ideal
Of conversation—entirely about me
But including almost everything else in the world.
But this wasn’t poetry it was something else.
After two years of spending time in you
Years in which I gave my best thoughts to you
And always felt you infiltrating and invigorating my feelings
Two years at five days a week, I had to give you up.
It wasn’t my idea. “I think you are nearly through,”
Dr. Loewenstein said. “You seem much better.” But, Light!
Comedy! Tragedy! Energy! Science! Balance! Breath!
I didn’t want to leave you. I cried. I sat up.
I stood up. I lay back down. I sat. I said
But I still get sore throats and have hay fever.
“And some day you are going to die. We can’t cure everything.”
Psychoanalysis! I stood up like someone covered with light
As with paint, and said Thank you.
It was only one moment in a life, my leaving you.
But once I walked out, I could never think of anything seriously
For fifteen years without also thinking of you. Now what have we become?
You look the same, but now you are a past You.
That’s Fifties clothing you’re wearing. You have some Fifties ideas
Left—about sex, for example. What shall we do? Go walking?
We’re liable to have a slightly frumpy look,
But probably no one will notice—another something I didn’t know then.
Koch, Kenneth. The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch. New York: Knopf, 2007. Print, p. 609.