Motive And Melancholia

— Dennis Richardson

For a while now I’ve been playing around with the word
motive, not knowing what my motive is for playing
around with the word motive until this morning
when I looked at my short pants with the rips in them.
Yesterday my knee accidentally went through one
of the rips so that now my knee shows above the cuff.
They are laying there now on the floor like the innocent
street crosser of a hit and run.  If it were me laying there
people would say he wasn’t that old.  But they, my pants,
were as close to me as skin, know me like my dog, Watson,
the one I never had.  I realize now I’ve become my short pants,
frayed at the edges too.  Some people become their job,
I became my short pants.  I exaggerate, of course,
but there is this melancholic feeling we have, my pants and I.

Freud wrote this definition of  Melancholia:

“Melancholia: the ego admits the guilt
 and submits to punishment.”

I wrote the poem below after I read what he said:

Here in the beginning trials of aging:
sleep at odds with the night;
thoughts losing their way;
a growing sense of uneasiness
begins to play in the shadows.
My weakened ego,
heavy with needs,
old issues that denial,
that insidiously defensive giant
once kept from me,
now, with painful vengeance,
begins to fill my soul with regrets:
lovers my arms would not hold;
words my heart could not say;
pain my eyes refused to see.

The Merriam–Webster Dictionary
defines motive as a need or desire
that causes a person to act, no mention
of the conscious or the unconscious.
We are feeling a little guilty now and must admit
here that we stuck the melancholia poem
into this one because we like it and it
seemed to fit here.  We should say now, also,
that the idea did come when I saw
my short pants on the floor.  However,
we will not submit to punish ourself.
Self punishment should be a crime.

One thought on “Motive And Melancholia

  1. A thought collage, a meta-poem, a poem trapped in a mental web, a brain storm with thundering clouds–Dennis, what have you wrought?

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