A Flight of Ideas: Secret Obscenities

My life ended and sent me into crisis.

An arm around my shoulder, a doctor gives counsel:

He says, if I take my pills, I will forget my grief, I will be happy.

He says, the Lord is in my heart, if I search it, I’ll find him, he’ll
save me.

He says, if I climb the right steps, I’ll be normal, if I talk about it:
this grief I can’t mention.

My lies are those of one who doesn’t trust, and so I fear
that unless the lying stops, I will —

Become the prank who attends his own funeral, mingling
with the mourners, and whispering secret obscenities.

(c)text Rob Goldstein 1984, image Rob Goldstein 2017

9 thoughts on “A Flight of Ideas: Secret Obscenities

    1. This was written in the middle of the worst of the AIDS epidemic. I was falling apart, my friends were dying, and I had to somehow get help from a psychiatrists who were still homophobic, mostly straight and completely out of touch with how it felt to belong to a community of young men who were literally dying. That’s what this poem is about. According to the shrinks my problem was not that I was a traumatized person living through a hellish trauma; my problem was that I didn’t take the pills that would make the ‘illness’ go away. Or my problem was that I was a sinner and not at peace with God…Which is why I close the poem as a prankster at his own funeral, whispering the secrets people keep from themselves.

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      1. Robert
        You have lived thru some tough times. I remember the time although removed, it was not on me that people were dying, to many people and a cure and stop gap wasn’t coming fast enough. My Lyme doctor is an Infectious Disease doctor and discover the link with AIDS. Thank good today is differ. Like other trauma in our life, the memories don’t go away. M

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