THE SHRINK OF TRAUMA CITY

by February 6, 2010 0 comments

We come from darkness, and like the lost sparks
of creation, once contained in holy shells
called kelipot that shattered during
shevirat ha-kelim, “the
breaking of the
vessels,”

we are scattered across the
antediluvian
city.

We search for meaning.
We collect and gather
the sacred sparks
of divine
light.

We search for redemption.
In the midst of urban
violence and
atavistic
evil,

we pray to our mysterious G-d,
Hashem. Sometimes He is
silent. We lose faith.
Still, we need
help.

Lost in the wilderness of
New York City, we
search for and
find a secular
healer.

We go to a shrink.

I am a healer. I am a shrink.

You come from darkness and travel from the
ghetto to my underground, primordial
office, a dimly lit circular room
with an analytic couch, a
leather recliner and
one leather
armchair

facing it and a circle of eight leather
armchairs. Periodically, the
round room is bathed
in soothing white,
yellow, or
gold

light. In this surreal sanctuary,
you peel off the false
layers of your
psyches

and tell your New York
stories of trauma.

You were physically, sexually, and/or
emotionally abused. Beaten,
battered, molested, and
violated by phallic
intrusions into
your minds,
bodies,

and souls, you were stripped of hope
and severed from G-d. Your
souls were butchered and
you became ghost
ships floating
in a sea of

darkness.

Now, you are shattered vessels, almost
soulless, drifting in the pitch-black
Void. And you sail into my
subterranean universe,
perhaps by chance
or destiny,
or both,

seeking salvation, saturated and impregnated
with brain-cells flooded with suffering
flowing incessantly assaulting
bombarding imploding
exploding

obliterating your sacred centers
and you are dying;
all of you are
dying.

And so you come from the South Bronx
and Harlem; Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Brownsville, and Bushwick;
East Flatbush and East
New York; Red
Hook and
Sunset
Park.

You come from darkness and travel
from the ghetto. But darkness
is everywhere and you
come from

Bensonhurst, Borough Park, and
Crown Heights; Midwood,
Mill Basin, and Park
Slope; Sea Gate,
Sheepshead
Bay and

Williamsburg.

You come from Coney Island after
dancing on the cold empty
beach or in the barren
streets of winter or
after jogging
on the

Boardwalk during
a snowstorm.
The stark
reality

strips you naked.

You come from any neighborhood
in Brooklyn and from all the
five boroughs, upstate
New York and
Long Island.

You come to me. You confess.
You shed your masks and
reveal the dark,
murky

secrets of your obsessive-
compulsive lives, the
self-defeating
patterns;

the endless chains of self-destruction,
brutal concatenations followed
by insatiable cravings for
magical change,

sudden metamorphoses,
instant vibrant life
or a swift
demise.

But after the mindless cycles of
civil war, you discover
something else-

inside the broken mirrors
hanging on your
walls or in

your fractured souls,
lie dumb beasts
longing for
and

addicted to pain.

And so you come to me and tell
Your New York stories
of trauma.

I am a healer. I am a shrink,
the shrink of Trauma City.

You come to me from the darkness
and carry the city’s noxious
air with you. And
when you
exhale,

I inhale the ferocious miasma from
above. One by one, you expel
the rage and hatred and
multiple New York
traumas

in psychoanalytic exorcisms,
shooting the emotional
toxins into the
broken

vessel of my soul. I heal
you, but the poisons
of Trauma City
shatter my
spirit.

After you leave, I pray to Hashem,
my G-d, and ask Him:

Who shall heal the healer?

Who will shrink my
head and make
me whole?

Where do I go?

Alone, in the vast silence, beneath
the soothing lights of the
round room, I speak
softly and tell
my

New York stories of trauma.

I whisper into the Void
until my soul-vessel
explodes, and I
vanish in

the eternal night of creation,
during shevirat ha-kelim,
“the breaking of the
vessels.”

And I am one with Hashem.

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