'What Would Freud Say?' by Bob Hicok
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Best American Poetry 19991999Wasn't on purpose that I drilledthrough my finger or the nurselaughed. She apologizedthree times and gave me a shotof something that was a lusherapology. The personwho drove me homesaid my smile was a smearedtotem that followedhis body that night as it arcedover a cliff in a dream.
He's always flyingin his dreams and landson cruise ships or hoversover Atlanta with an erection.
He put me to bed and the drugs
wore off and I woketo cannibals at my extremities.I woke with a sense
of what nails in the palmsmight do to a spirittemporarily confined to flesh.That too was an accidentif you believe Judasmerely wanted to be loved.To be loved by God,Urban the 8thhad heads cut offthat were inadequatelybowed by dogma. To be lovedby Blondie, Dagwood
gets nothing rightexcept the hallucinogenicarchitecture of sandwiches.He would have drilledthrough a finger toowhile making a case for bookson home repair and health.Drilling through my finger'snot the dumbest thingI've done. Second placewas approachinga frozen gas-cap with lighter
in hand while thinking
Editor 1 Interpretation
"What Would Freud Say?": A Complex Analysis of the Human Psyche
Bob Hicok's "What Would Freud Say?" is a poem that delves deep into the complexities of the human psyche. It is a piece that explores the theme of self-awareness, and the way in which our consciousness influences our actions and perceptions. Through its use of metaphors and vivid imagery, Hicok's poem creates a powerful commentary on the human condition. So, what would Freud say about this poem? Let's dive in and find out.
The Beginning: A Journey Into the Unconscious
The poem begins with the speaker waking up to find himself in a strange and unfamiliar place. He describes the room as being "the color of cockroaches in moonlight", a vivid image that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The room is a metaphor for the unconscious mind, and the speaker's journey through it is a metaphor for the process of self-discovery.
As the speaker moves through the room, he encounters a series of bizarre and surreal images. He sees "a man with a hundred dollars in his mouth", "a woman with a teacup for a head", and "a dog with a telephone in its ear". These images are all representative of the various aspects of the speaker's psyche. The man with a hundred dollars in his mouth represents the speaker's desire for wealth and material possessions. The woman with a teacup for a head represents the speaker's tendency towards self-deprecation and self-sabotage. The dog with a telephone in its ear represents the speaker's need for communication and connection with others.
The Middle: The Battle of the Conscious and the Unconscious
As the speaker continues to move through the room, he encounters a figure who is described as being "the size of a house". This figure represents the speaker's subconscious, which is often much larger and more powerful than his conscious mind. The figure challenges the speaker, asking him if he really wants to know what lies within his own mind.
This is where the poem's central conflict begins. The speaker is torn between his desire to know himself and his fear of what he might discover. He is afraid that he will find something within himself that he cannot handle, something that will shatter his sense of self and leave him lost and alone.
As the speaker battles with his subconscious, he begins to question the nature of reality itself. He wonders if everything he has ever known is just an illusion, a construct of his own mind. He asks himself if he is truly in control of his own thoughts and actions, or if he is just a puppet being controlled by some unseen force.
The End: The Triumph of Self-Awareness
In the end, the speaker emerges victorious from his battle with his subconscious. He reaches a state of self-awareness, realizing that he is in control of his own thoughts and actions. He recognizes that he is not just a passive observer of his own life, but an active participant in it.
The poem's final lines are some of its most powerful. The speaker declares that he is "the magician, the audience, and the trick". He acknowledges that he is both the creator and the creation, the master and the servant of his own mind.
Reflection: The Importance of Self-Awareness
"What Would Freud Say?" is a deeply philosophical and introspective poem that raises important questions about the nature of the human psyche. It challenges us to look within ourselves and confront the parts of ourselves that we may not want to acknowledge.
At its core, the poem is a celebration of self-awareness. It reminds us that we are not just passive observers of our own lives, but active participants in them. It encourages us to take control of our own thoughts and actions, and to embrace the complexities of our own minds.
In the end, "What Would Freud Say?" is a powerful and thought-provoking piece of literature that forces us to confront our own fears and desires. It is a poem that deserves to be read and reread, contemplated and discussed. So, what would Freud say about it? Perhaps he would simply nod and smile, recognizing the depth and complexity of the human mind that Hicok has captured so beautifully in his words.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
What Would Freud Say? A Deep Dive into Bob Hicok's Classic Poetry
Bob Hicok's "What Would Freud Say?" is a poem that explores the complexities of the human psyche and the role of psychoanalysis in understanding it. The poem is a witty and insightful commentary on the limitations of Freudian theory and the ways in which it fails to capture the full range of human experience.
The poem begins with a series of questions that are designed to challenge the reader's assumptions about the nature of the human mind. "What would Freud say about the way we eat our cereal?" Hicok asks. "What would he say about the way we brush our teeth?" These seemingly mundane questions are actually quite profound, as they suggest that even the most basic aspects of our daily lives are shaped by our unconscious desires and impulses.
As the poem progresses, Hicok delves deeper into the complexities of the human psyche. He explores the ways in which our dreams, our fears, and our desires are all intertwined, and he suggests that psychoanalysis can only scratch the surface of these deep-seated emotions. "What would Freud say about the way we dream?" he asks. "Would he see the hidden meanings, or just the surface themes?"
Hicok's poem is also a critique of Freudian theory itself. He suggests that Freud's emphasis on the Oedipus complex and the role of sexuality in human development is overly simplistic and fails to capture the full range of human experience. "What would Freud say about the way we love?" Hicok asks. "Would he see only the mother and father, or the whole constellation of desire?"
Despite its critique of Freudian theory, however, Hicok's poem is ultimately a celebration of the human psyche and the ways in which it defies easy categorization. He suggests that our dreams, our fears, and our desires are all part of what makes us human, and that we should embrace these complexities rather than trying to reduce them to simple explanations.
In terms of form, Hicok's poem is structured as a series of questions, each one building on the last to create a sense of momentum and urgency. The questions are also designed to be provocative, challenging the reader's assumptions and forcing them to think deeply about the nature of the human psyche.
The language of the poem is also notable for its wit and humor. Hicok uses puns and wordplay to great effect, creating a sense of playfulness that belies the seriousness of the subject matter. For example, he writes, "What would Freud say about the way we Freud ourselves?" This line is both funny and insightful, as it suggests that even our attempts to understand ourselves are shaped by our unconscious desires and impulses.
Overall, "What Would Freud Say?" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that challenges us to think deeply about the nature of the human psyche. It is a testament to the power of poetry to explore complex ideas and to challenge our assumptions about the world around us.
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