In Captivity [Free Verse]

bars at your back,

and their stripes
 permanently etched 
  into one's field of vision.

so much so, 
 that you feel they're 
  a ubiquitous feature
   of the world beyond. 

the cage should be a hated place,
 but one can grow to love the cage.

the cage is shelter.

the cage is delivery address
 for food & water disbursements.

the cage forms rollbars --
  like on a dune buggy --
   protection in the event 
    of a sudden & unexpected crash.

the cage offers one a range --
 narrow as it might be --
  of distances at which one's captor
   may be kept,

and, as long as the cage is shut,
 that gives one a delightful 
  illusion of control. 

what a hated place a cage should be,
 and yet how conflicted are the captives?

Music Appreciation [Free Verse]

Not by hearing or listening,
     but by feeling the rhythm,
     body / mind resonating to it, 
     being effortlessly attuned to it:

That is how the music transports one --
            how it changes one's mind. 

Jung Limerick

There was a psychiatrist named Jung
 who thought the Unconscious was far-flung --
  like Sandman's "The Dreaming"
  that you've seen on streaming:
 farfetched and fictional -- with heroes, unsung.

Freud Limerick

There once was a psychiatrist named Freud 
 who thought all were obsessed with filling a void...
   a void in the pants!
   Though some looked askance,
 and those whose cigars weren't cigars were annoyed.

The Most Important Lesson in All of Human Living [DAILY PROMPT]

Describe something you learned in high school.

A Psych teacher told us a story of what he called “a gestalt of expectations.” A man from a city in the East is driving out West, and he passes a gas station – despite being low on fuel. (He’s used to gas stations being everywhere.) Anyhow, he runs out of fuel. He can’t see anything around except desolate desert bisected by a line of asphalt. He decides to walk back to the gas station he passed ten miles back. There is no one traveling on this remote stretch of desert road. As he’s walking in the intense heat, it comes to his mind that the employee at the service station is really going to gouge him on the price of gas and a jerry can. As he walks and walks, skin prickling with the heat, he keeps thinking about how he’s going to get screwed by the gas station attendant and also how he’ll be chided and ridiculed for running out of gas in the middle of the desert. He imagines it in great detail. Finally, bedraggled and with heaving breaths, he arrives at the station. The gas station attendant rushes out to help this poor man, and the man punches the attendant square in the nose (for all the offenses taking place solely in the man’s mind.)

In a broader formulation, I think this is the most important lesson any human can learn. Our personal perception of what we experience is not equal to what it is that we experience (the exterior world.) This is why some people dealt a crappy hand can turn it into a wonderful life, and also why some people who seem to have it all commit suicide in the prime of life.

I could be angered or dismayed that the single most important lesson I learned in secondary school was via off-curriculum ramblings during an elective class, but I choose not to. Instead, I’ve been trying all my life to make that bit of knowledge into wisdom.

Cave Monster [Common Meter]

I sit within an empty cave.
   It's empty, that's for sure.
 It's dark, so dark that nothing shines.
   What sound is that? A purr?

I'm in this cave, and not alone,
   but with what I can't say.
 It's in the back where it's jet black --
   a predator? Or prey?

I'm walking now; I don't dare run.
   the ground is all cockeyed
 with stalagmites and stalactites.
   I grope, in need of guide.

And feeling through Stygian space,
   I bust open my head.
 Warm blood, I feel, run down my face.
   I'm squeezed by rising dread.

I hear a squeak, a mouse strolls through;
   then silence is restored.
 If only my mind were so rid
   of its outsized horrors.