Going to the Gynecologist With My Mother

Going to the Gynecologist With My Mother (and Oedipus)
by Carl Josehart

Going to the gynecologist with my mother
and Oedipus
after vanquishing my father
over a decade ago
with a random thought
(I wished him dead once)
I never entered her bed
And once being pushed out
from a womb
never sought to re-enter
but now
the gynecologist
with diagrams and sketches
invites Oedipus and me
in for a tour

in the waiting room
my mother answers pages of questions
about her medical history
Oedipus shifts uneasily in his seat
when she gets to the questions about her
sexual history
she giggles
her cheeks gently blush red
and she whispers
in our mother tongue
when the form asks about
pain with intercourse

in another room
they take out her uterus
place of our birth
homeland of our clan
doctors dance in circles around her
while products of her now diseased womb
wait patiently nearby

“source of all life”
“creator of all flesh”
a womb
from which was born a
chosen people
protect her now

Going to the gynecologist with my mother
and Oedipus
the rhythm of life
beats loudly
like the pounding of my heart
the doctor’s words
painful intercourse
about prognosis
and cure

watching blue lips
struggling to form words
labored breathing
clutching at the air
he whispers
mocking her words,
“ich vet keynmol fargessen!”
(I’ll never forget)

The Gift of Presence

“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”
– Martin Buber

“Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.”
– Carl Jung

A Baby Cries

by Carl Josehart

“A busy night in the Emergency Room?”
Asks the janitor as he sweeps the floor with his broom
On each bed, separated by a flimsy curtain
Lies a life in the edge, so uncertain
Suspended, it seems, between life and death
Waiting for a verdict while holding their breath
Hoping for mercy while time flies
And in the background, a baby cries

A man dies
A wife cries
A daughter rushes by me in tears
A family sits and struggles with its fears
With each passing moment you feel the tension rise
And in the background, a baby cries

Nurses and doctors work in tandem
Tragedy seems to strike its victims at random
Sometimes the news is good and there is relief
Sometimes the news is bad and there is grief
Each person, like an actor, plays a role
And we all collude in the illusion that we have control
Through the mask, you see the weariness in their eyes
And in the background, a baby cries

And when the shift comes to an end
The play is over, no more need to pretend
It’s off to lovers, families, and friends
In the time away the soul breathes and the heart mends
Hope seems to spring anew each time I watch the sun rise
And in the background, a baby cries

Listen to Me

Listen to me
Hear me
   Hear me
      Hear what I say

Listen to me
Hear me
   Hear me!
      Hear what I say!

Listen to me
Hear me I pray
It matters not what you say when I speak…
Just that you hear what I say

- Josehart, 1984


Open Hearts & Open Minds

“I want to love you without clutching,
appreciate you without judging,
join you without invading,
invite you without demanding,
leave you without guilt,
criticize you without blaming,
and help you without insulting.

If I can have the same from you,
then we can truly meet and enrich each other.”

– Virginia Satir

I Understand

by Carl Josehart

“I understand,” she says with a reassuring nod
To a disheveled man who is acting quite odd
In fact, she does not understand at all
His inner world in which voices echo their unending call

“I understand,” she says with a self-confident style
Speaking with a calming voice and a pleasant smile
She sees his world in terms of illusions, delusions, and identity diffusion
He sees her world as uncaring, unresponsive and as a frightening intrusion

“I understand,” she says her decision already made
The wheels now are in motion, the course is now laid
She is confident what she has done is for the best
He’ll get the help he needs and plenty of rest

“I understand,” he manages to mumble
As he feels his world break apart and begin to crumble
She smiles having received his informed consent
He wonders why he is being punished, and how he can repent


The Five Freedoms

There are five freedoms:
The freedom to see and hear what is;
The freedom to say what you feel and think;
The freedom to feel what you actually feel;
The freedom to ask for what you want;
The freedom to take risks on your own behalf.

– Virginia Satir



by Carl Josehart

How right is right?
When can you be sure that justice is on your side?
How much certainty and confidence masquerade as pride?
Are the rights of the one always second to the good of the many?
Can you ever say no more; enough; she’s suffered plenty?

I’m, trained
I have experience
I know my job

They’re vulnerable
And confused
Some sit quietly and sob

When is an adult not an adult?
How can you take away the right to choose?
Is there a choice where no one will lose?
How can you maintain her dignity and show respect
And still abide by a decision you know is correct?

They’re homicidal
And suicidal
And hearing voices

I’m constrained by legalities
And treatment modalities
And limited choices

When is finished really finished?
How do you turn off the questions that dance in your head?
How do you put it behind you when it’s time for bed?
Do we ever have the luxury to know our choice was for the best?
If I err will my conscience forgive me and allow me to rest?

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