(photo of David I Mayerhoff)



1. Denial

Denial most primitive

Of defense mechanisms

The most widely employed

For sure


It turns the cowardly

Into fighters

The dysfunctional

Into semi autonomous beings


It is singularly

The greatest invention of man

With the greatest effects on the course of human history

And has allowed man to deal

With the vagaries of life riding a false confidence


There is no better therapist

No more effective medication

It drives human dynamics

For better and for worse


We all know someone

If not many

Who employ this method of equilibrium

Just to tread water in their waking life


We seek endlessly, the noble of humanity

Who declare both inwardly and outwardly

“I would sooner face the truths of reality

Than be functional at the risk of seeing the lie”


Starvation for societal change

Parches the tongues of culture

When so many

Place their head in the sand


Side effects profound and abound

With virtual impossibility

To enter into debate

With those who practice denial so seamlessly

Those who by their own admission

Refuse to see reality as it is

But rather how they want it to be

And then proceed to argue shamelessly based on this foundation



If not madness

As it renders much opinion untrustworthy


Truth may be unpopular

As it threatens the many

With what they don't want to hear


The quest for growth

Must be joined by confronting our barriers

And enlarging the spirit


This requires much thought

Deep soulful introspection

Removal of technology as distractions

And reliable friends or mentors


“Where does one find that?”

You may ask?

Well first

One must open their eyes

2. The Fool's Genius

The fool

Makes the world go round

By sheer numbers alone


Never in car accidents

Draws no connection between events

Acts without consequences of actions

No causality between act and result



All the while not even realizing

His reliance on a Universe

That pays him no heed


This does not trouble him either--

He scratches his head in genuine sympathy

For those poor souls burdened

By the depth of their perception


Not because he can appreciate such--

Quite the contrary;

He assumes his reality is accurate

And the others--well, they are just poor souls.


One marvels at his

Happy-go-lucky attitude

His indifference

To the burdens of life


He walks

From one sweet just dessert to another

Readily looking forward

To suck the sweet nectar of life


He is not challenged in his everyday life

Except in the crevices of his own mind

An enigma

To the rest of us observing him

We ask ourselves


"What am I doing wrong?”

3. Potential

Is not potential

Greater than being

For in reaching our fulfillment

We have reached a ceiling of sorts


But in anticipation

Of our potential

We can climb towards the Infinite

Allowing ourselves to soar above limitations


This then is the essence

Of dreaming

To always say

We are in potential


Constantly growing beyond our limitations

Allows us to look back in disbelief

At how far we have come


We stand amazed

At how unrecognizable

We have become

To self and others


Is not the Prince

In potential greater than the King?

The King is defined and limited by what is

The Prince by what might be


Life does not always

Allow for the unfolding

Of this potential


But the day we stop dreaming

Is the day we lessen ourselves

And give way to those

That never gave up

4.  Saying the Wrong Thing

An ill-turned phrase most painful

Except for those who feel no pain

For they can receive anything

And only the other is pricked


Irony of human interactions

Lies a disconnect

Between the speaker who says

And the listener who listens


Civilization attempts to

Change the sensitivities

Of one and the other

So that there is harmony in our dialogue


Impressing on the clod

That once the word leaves his mouth

It is not retractable

And takes on a life of its own


Impressing on the delicate

That there are words and there are words

React with fire react with ice

Sometimes don't react at all


Reassuring the adept

That even the best of us

Lose hold of a word


The damage an errant word creates

Can reshuffle all of society

Lead the bear to hiker

The wolf to the lamb


Perhaps the adept was selected

To weather this destructive force

So that something can be rebuilt

In ways no one ever imagined

5. Disappointment

Never having strived and attained

Creates the Petrie dish of ignorance

For the possibilities



One's level of disappointment


In scope and affect

Like the squirrel that never suffered

Trying to solve algebra


Happy and serene

It eats its nuts

Goes on its way

Satisfied with the basics


But when one gains

Even a glimpse

Of what is attainable

Danger may lie ahead

On the highway of life



Un-chartered territory

Full of eddies and currents

The possibilities and pitfalls endless


To see just beyond one's grasp

Great treasures

And then to have it slip away

Can strain endurance


A failed transcendence

Of one's current limitations

One almost attained in their grasp

Only not to hold on


Filling the belly

Is well and good

Heating the house in winter even better

To pine for personal growth

Through expanding one’s horizons--the best

© David I Mayerhoff


BIO:  David I Mayerhoff is an emerging writer while being a practicing physician and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. His areas of specialty are in Graduate Medical Education, the chronic mentally ill, and academic research with a focus on the heterogeneity of schizophrenia disorders. Selected poetry of his can be found at drsyke.wordpress.comallpoetry.com poetry.com, as well as published selections at PoetryBay/Long Island Quarterly, the Paragon Journal, GNU, The Voices Project, various poetry anthologies and elsewhere.