Charlie Brice

Advice from the Couch

Woman in Yellow by Max Kurzweil

Today, they say, is the first day
of the rest of your life
unless you’re co-dependent,
then it’s the first day

of the rest of someone else’s life.
Co-dependent: a shibboleth of the
Therapeutic Industrial Complex (TIC)
itself a complex of psychobabble—

the reductive shorthand of
the terminally unimaginative.
What is an analyst, asks St. Aubyn,
but a former patient who couldn’t

think of something better to do?
Dr. G was so scared of cats
she had to stand up
when one came into a room—

so frozen, standing there, that our kitties
couldn’t tell the difference between
her leg and that of an armchair. Another
analyst, Dr. M, insisted that everyone

from serial adulterers to those with ADD, to
people with social anxiety who couldn’t pee,
pined for the opposite gender’s genitals.
Want to guess what fantasy drove poor Dr. M?

You don’t need a Ph.D. to know that he wanted
to be a she. Whether you’re bi-polar I or II,
a malignant narcissist or spiritual arsonist,
an anal, oral, or phallic personality, have

major depression or anxiety in a minor key,
it comes down to this: You have your problems,
I have mine. Our tenure on this planet is
perilous and doubtful—ours alone to fix.


About the writer:
Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (forthcoming), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in over eighty publications.

Image: Woman in Yellow by Max Kurzweil (1867-1916). Oil on canvas. No size specified. 1907. Public domain.