EP&M Online Poetry

The Psychiatrists At The Cocktail Party

A Sequel


Frederick Feirstein 

The Psychiatrists At The Cocktail Party

A Sequel


Frederick Feirstein

N.B. This is the sequel to "The Psychiatrist At The Cocktail Party," which was published in 199l by Story Line Press and done on stage in New York, Cambridge, and Los Angeles. It was a play of interlocking dramatic monologues that form a plot and subplot. In it The Psychiatrist Ben brought his former student Joyce to a politically correct fundraiser for a Latin American terrorist group from a fictional country called Quistador. The Host of that party was Larry who ran off with Renee, leaving his then fiancée Joyce to Ben. Jane appeared there as the point of view character "The Old Maid." But now it’s another century.


Ben and Joyce – the Psychiatrists, married to each other
The Hostess – a fundraiser
The Host – Larry’s business partner
Larry – formerly the Host of "The Psychiatrist At The Cocktail Party,"
            married to Renee
Renee – formerly married to "Meato," once the Pom Pom Queen
The M. D. – a gene researcher, married to The Poet
The Poet – a free verse academic poet
Betty Crook – a deaf and dumb literary theorist
The Composer – a college composition teacher and a pianist
Jane – a.k.a. "The Old Maid" in "The Psychiatrist At The Cocktail Party"
Jim – a Neuroscientist
Jim’s wife
The Broker – A stockbroker, Joyce’s son’s boss
The Museum Walker – a famous clothing designer
Ms. Hilarious – the Guest of Honor at this fundraiser
The Lawyer – a divorce lawyer
The Social Worker – a downtown therapist, married to the Lawyer

1. The Hostess

Good evening, Ben and Joyce, dear Doc and Doc.
You’re not too late – for gossip and blank stares,
Not late to have you running down your clock
With us for free. Your coats are safe downstairs
Among this lawyer’s, broker’s overcoats,
Our composer’s who hits odd cultural notes
Jangling my brother-in-law, the poet,
And my opinionated friend from high school, Jane’s.
She’ll re-play all her Sex And The City pains,
Hidden in wit so no one sober knows it.

I hope you haven’t eaten, though it’s late.
Follow me in. The catering is great.
We’ll have a Guest of Honor, fireworks
Outside and inside these rooms. Come, Ben, I’m sure
You’ll have a busman’s holiday, the perks
Of listening with trained ears for what’s pure
Comedy of manners -- with a plot, subplot,
Fashionable, and cutting edge, and hot.
Where is my husband? There! Here’s Ben and Joyce!
And you’ll remember Larry and his wife Renee
(And you’ll remember everything they say
Unless you drink with us). The bar. Rejoice!

2. Larry To Ben And Joyce

He’s dressed like a mortician, dressed for shame:
Black suit, black tie, gray face, white frown.
He’s one of the top scientists in town.
His rhetoric and manners are the same.
He eats with his left hand and gulps his food,
Digesting what you say with what you should.

He was a college Marxist once, although
His father owned a factory where slaves
Rolled candied twists -- like dead men roll in graves.
They call him "Jimmy" -- Carter’s after-glow.
When I twitted how " Bush helps the world,"
He smiled and then his lips completely curled

And told me, "You must suffer from a mood
Disorder. You are crazy, manic, mad.
"Nope, I speak my mind, crazy as it seems
To you who lives in 1960’s dreams
But studies Neuroscience -- Puppet Lips
Who studies how Renee sashays her hips.

And here’s Renee, my wife, remember her
Who rubbed Jimmy’s left arm like it was fur
While he was talking of the brain and nerves
And charting carefully her drinks and curves?
(Don’t flirt with a mortician, Renee dear,
When your nerves have no tolerance for fear.)

Since 9/11 all her love’s for booze
And snacks and fur and scientific talk.
(I watched him watch the tippling way you walk
And watched his liquid eyes and how they ooze!)
She’s off, she’s gone, please give me some advice.
She’s all Defense, she’s Condolezza Rice.

I try to reminisce to calm her down.
Since 9/11 she won’t watch the news.
She calls her deep depression just "the blues."
She lives on prozac, paxil, klonopin.
That’s why she’s frowning at me, why she’s thin.
Please help me with her, Ben, Joyce, help me please
With Manica, who’s helpless on knees.

3. The M.D. To Ben

I’m not a shrink, I’m just a plain M.D.
Who has her research, has no therapy
But what God gives me if there is a God.
You want some broccoli, carrots? Here are good
Cherry tomatoes, celery to dip
In garlic. These are marinated pods.
Let’s talk, but I don’t want to make a slip.
This French Merlot ages my head to wood.
I’ll try a white, maybe red-white-and blue.
You’re not a Muslim are you, or a Jew?

I study trauma in my bio lab
No parties come alive to me and blab.
I work on what we call the trauma gene.
It has to do with dopey dopamine.
Do you like this necklace, all black pearl,
These bracelets made of emeralds, rubies, gold?
(My mother didn’t want a baby girl.
She never hugged me and her voice was cold.)
Just keep your head down in your lab, my son.
You know I’m joking, I’m just having fun

And not an anti-semite. Unlike these Jews,
I do not read the New York Times for news.
I work on trauma, what I can control:
A gene and lab assistants and a grant,
My poet husband who will not recant
His love for Clinton and for what’s- her- name
Whose politics like marriage are the same
And cannot tell a penis from a nuke.
Direct me to a washstand or a bowl.
I’ve said too much, and think I have to puke.

4. The Poet

Hello, Ben, Joyce, this company is "smart,"
-- My wife who you were talking to, this Larry
Who’s married to the girl I’d hoped to marry
Renee who gave my poetry its start
In college where I learned free verse, what they call "Po Biz."
She was as bubbly as this seltzer’s fizz,

She was as tasty as this Scottish lox.
-- What do they call it? -- and these olives, green
As I, stammering with her the "Pom Pom Queen":
That’s what they called Renee. My stumbling block
Was "Duh, duh" – iambs -- and this nervous smile,

Before I learned free rhetoric and guile.
I hear we’ll have a guest – a comic, yes?
"Ms. Hilarious," I heard our hostess say.
Someone who’s witty, bawdy, deadpan, fey,
A female comic! Do you know her, Joyce? … "Guess?"
I need some laughs tonight, free verse is dying
Like freedom everywhere; it’s mystifying

How form, narrative, drama have returned …
"Expansive Poetry," that silly name.
Heard it mentioned, Ben, in your racket – game!
They all like Freud who, like the Krauts, we’ve burned.
I’m sorry, Joyce, I thought you were a Jew!
"A German Jew … Holocaust parents?" Whew!

Do you read Rilke? Never heard of him?
Putting me on? Angry? Pulling my leg?
I’m sorry, sorry, but I’m trained to beg,
Being a tenured poet, killed by the whim
Of editors, reviewers, vengeful friends.
Careerism in my art will never end,

Which means the art of flattery and "Peace"
At parties in the content of one’s speech.
Have you read Rilke, listen to me screech!
(Ha, ha, my dear, of course I’ve read your book:
Theory of Theory.) This is Betty Crook.
Meet Ben and Joyce … Joyce, give me a warming look,

You’ve heard, I’m sure, my marriage, like this drink
Is on the rocks – sex is all for Gene
Research. She won’t make a child – I’m sure my wife …
I told her, "Tell Ben how we lead our life."
She didn’t? Is that her, head down in the sink?
She blows our tenure up to smithereens.

5. The Composer

Ben, Joyce, the New Year’s quickly coming on
Like history -- that fireworks, that con --
While Politics In Drag is playing here:
Among these sixties fools who’ll disappear
Once we see more of democracy,
Not Democrats! -- naïve hypocrisy,
Like poetry, these days, that anal world
"Free" verse toilet paper that’s unfurled
And hung on universities like flags
By PC pigs, and also used as gags
For poets who can really tell the truth
In drama and in narrative and rhyme
And meter, diction ear-right for our time;
Tonal composers wasting gorgeous youth
(Melodies censored, harmonies brought down
By Envy with its academic frown)
In what they call their composition classes;
Painters forced to look through broken glasses,
Made to repeat conceptual clichés
While their hands shrivel day after worthless day.

Why chit-chat culture? Let’s talk politics,
Mostly-- what do you call it? -- Leftist Tics:
"The Revolution" which they fought for thirty years
In Ivory Towers in their tenured gear.
-- While I’ve been forced to watch their madness grow
Like that flesh-eating plant in what’s that show?
"The Little Shop of Horrors," that’s right Ben,
For thirty years I’ve taught inside a Pen,
Pig Pen, Bent Pen, my music all unheard
As if I was an artificial bird
Whose spring was broken, almost from the start.
And now I have no swan song, have no heart
To write. They asked me here to pound piano.
You know the absurdist play, The Bald Soprano?

6. Jane To Ben And Joyce, With The Composer Overhearing

We’re under pressure here from rhetoric
To hate our Bush, America, and oil:
Philofascists meet the Middle Ages,
Fossil fuel and reptile leftist rages.
Should we be straight men for their crazy shtick,
Smiling accomplices for their ancient moile?
Look at the eyes shift when you tell the truth
About a Democratic trogolyte.
They move from right to left and very slow,
But never dare move here from left to right.
These elderly, these middle-aged, these youth,
All eyes a chorus in a Fifties’ show:
"McCarthy On The Left, Fossils Revived."
The 1950’s Joe, not Gene, remember.
Your hair’s gray, Ben, and I’m all December.
It doesn’t matter, we are all revised:

Our Host, Lawyer, that Neuroscientist,
His drunken jealous wife who has survived
Her father’s jealousy, her mother’s spite
--And what am I, an old fossilogist? --
Who isn’t here, made up, by time contrived --
That poet who is brother of our host,
A teacher who won’t read The Sun or Post,
That politician smirking in the mirror,
That broker who keeps quoting me Tom Lehrer,
These married shrinks who’ve gathered here tonight
To hear a little gossip, have a bite
Of shrimp and turkey, vegetables and cheese
Chopped veggie liver not mad cow disease?
That Larry silenced in a macho pose,
His slut Renee, fussing with her clothes
-- Her liberal politics are all striptease.
Is that a Woman, Man, or ancient Neither
Who gnashes but will never teethe, her
Cane for Democrats rattling on her knees,
This woman/man, Cassandra in reverse?

The more I listen to our party’s chatter,
The more free America seems perverse-
Ly "free": Freed in this "Poet’s" verse,
Freed by our broker late of SDS.
Remember that SNCC, what does that matter?
These ex-free radicals are conscienceless.
And Israel might as well be up in smoke.
This Jewish left is just a Weimar Joke.
Einstein warned not to pervert his theory
To cultural relativity
What’s the sense of culturing the soul
When all we’ve learned gets buried in a hole?
Remember what I said about myself
When I was young, relatively, remember?
"A dusty bottle on a dusty shelf?"
Your hair’s all gray, Ben, and I’m all December.

    N.B. Shticks are stale comic routines. A moile does the circumcision

7. Ben To Joyce

We met that plain Jane when she still had youth
To think of men as possibilities
And lived alone and simply told the truth,
As if she stripped her own life to the bone.
She is more bitter and her looks are gone,
Her smile is saying I’ve refused to please
By politics, manipulation, I’m Integrity,
Aging in this age of hypocrisy,
Her eyes both knowing that she dreads her fate.
The fireworks are coming much too late
For her. I’ll love them anytime or anywhere
Among the living, high on hope or dread.
We’ll parody the terrorists with red
White and blue fragments of godly light
While they plot death from land and sea and air.
Look at this city, shining from below,
Around, above, the daring and the dared.
Dear Joyce, we’re laughing though we’re scared.
Let’s drink to this dark comedy tonight.

8. The Host To Ben, Then Joyce

I’ve heard a lot of anti-PC talk
From our composer, from our old plain Jane
Of who will be the President next year
You’ll never know on New Year’s who’ll appear
And who is right about the burning Bush
And what’s the right corrective way to walk
And what’s a nicer fuck, the bush or tush?
I grew up with the best, The Kennedys.
So Clinton, Bill, had someone on her knees.
Is that worse than fascist conspiracies?
Try this: How did our glass houses fall down.
They knew it, drew us in to seize the oil
Like Roosevelt had word the Japanese
Were to bomb Pearl Harbor. Doc, is this a boil?
I had a pimple that I tried to squeeze.

I’m trying to be light. My partner Larry
Who’s swung from left to right – around the bend --
Because crazy Renee fled with him to marry
When his last party had its crazy end,
When Joyce’s son, that revolutionary
Ran off with that gay tyrant way down south
Swishing Larry’s coffee in his open mouth …
Hi, Joyce, where is your son? On Wall Street?
That broker’s junior partner! I didn’t make
The right connection, Joyce, for goodness sake.
That researcher says my synapses are weak.
Was that a joke? Synapses are what again?
No silence, Joyce, no smiles, now tell me, Ben:
An insult, do I turn the other cheek?

And turn the other cheek on right-wing crap?
My pianist, his mouth shut, plays a great right hand.
Those trills are thrills, those chords are crisp and clean
Although his politics are, God, obscene.
But I must put my anger at his bitterness aside
And put our plain Jane later in his lap
And, as my shrink says, try to understand
His politics are metaphors for what his illness is.
The fool commits musical suicide.
You ever hear his own stuff? He’s a whiz
At tonal music which is coming back.
I’d back him if he’d give up his attacks.
But he won’t hear me, see where he’s overstepped.
And learn to wash his right hand with my left.

 9. After The Composer Plays The Piano

I’ve guessed the Guest of Honor, a surprise
Many of these here – Guess who? -- mythologize.
A goddess who will come a hungry guest.
These still religious think the lady’s blessed
With knowledge that they value, poor souls, most:
Even this poet here, the brother of our host.
At least it seems his politics are right,
Whoops, left, I’m drinking too much scotch tonight.
You know her name -- it’s glamorous:
Her nickname, Ben, is Ms. Hilarious.
But loyalty to siblings here comes first,
And though I think she’s pretty, she’s the worst
Symbolic hypocrite you’ll ever meet.
Guess who’ll kiss her ass, or kiss her feet,
Who’ll be seductive with his contacts, jokes
About fraternities and Coca tokes,
Who’ll be so flattering her knees will quake
And blurt "My gosh, of course, for goodness sake!"
But since his brother loves the great surprise,
I’ll keep their secret, Ben. But watch their eyes.

10. The Broker

Hello, Ben, Joyce – best from your son
Who tried to call you but your phone was off.
Your cell phone, sorry, it’s my 9/11 cough.
This pianist was great, so was that Jane’s
Singing spontaneously, that glissando run.
After a day of losses more than gains,

Although your son gains more experience,
-- As if the poor man hadn’t lost enough
During The Crash. He’s learning to be tough
And bilk his clients – did I add a "k"?
I mean he’s learning steady indifference.
In Quistador he learned how to obey

Or disobey. There Ms. Hilarious!
Blink, blink, that can’t be her. I’m such a fan!
She’s genuinely female Peter Pan,
And that is what’s- his- name with her – drool, drool.
I’m such a Queen, I’m so ridiculous.
In front of "Royalty," I’ll play the fool.

Under Willie and under her we thrived
On hi tech, on our clients’ one percent.
That’s when we had a broker’s government
And, for once, the middle class felt rich
-- Until that Greenspan, Inc. connived
To prick the bubble, what an Ayn Rand Bitch!

Congratulations on your singing, Jane,
On your piano, on your steady hands
-- What’s that a Steinway? -- on that Baby Grand’s
Rich resonance. I love your ruby ring
You trilled with on those octaves, on those sharps.
As if you shuddered every windowpane.
You trembled both your vocal chords like harps.

Angelic! You both were sexual, yes!
I’m off to worship Ms. Hilarious
Before she hugs and kisses all of us
Goodbye, quickly takes all promises to vote
For her, campaign for her, and takes largesse.
A pause, she’s snacking and I’m off to dote!

11. The Composer To Ben

I never thought that I would feel again
Stirrings of sexuality, life unexpected
Lighting my senses one by one by one
As if a black hole reversed itself and sun
Flooded a universe. I’m resurrected
Despite my cancer and depression, Ben,

Because I’ve days and weeks and months to live
Out possibilities of love, as if they’re chords
In vital organs that are tentative,
Their harmonies fragile as our Lord’s,
Because this Jane ignites my self-esteem,
As if we’re soul-mates speaking in a dream

Among this tribe of what they called The IK,
Selfish and shameless in envy and in spite,
Speaking with her among these "intellectuals"
Who aren’t free but hide in conventional hells
And feed there on misfortune and on fright,
On signs of terrorism. They’re all sick

And with this chemotherapy it’s hard to see
-- The colorful embodiment of String
Theory, angelic alternate universes
With tonal music, passionate verses,
Paintings whose human values sing
Of joy, sorrow skimmed from bravery.

I came to music like a young romance
With widespread hands, my fingers tingling
For what my soul in good faith still is bringing,
In what I quickly saw was frail insousiance,
Undermined like we are by Islamist France.

12. The Composer To Jane

Jane, when I played and you were singing,

I heard your soul and saw it in your smile
And watched you listen, wisdom in your eyes.
I haven’t talked like this since I was young.
You make me free my censored, embittered tongue.
You are my Guest of Honor, my surprise.
You’re pure among this chatter and this guile.

13. Jane To The Composer

You made me speechless when you hit your notes.
I’m speechless now. You heard me in our song.
And now I will accompany – I’ll go along
With every word you say, your passion … God, my throat

Feels as if there’s years of stones I’ve swallowed,
Each word seems now a jewel I’ve heard you, like
I’m stoned, like grass is in my cookie, like
It’s 1968, and like, you know

-- And though my social specialty is wit,
Keen observation, pithy sayings, stings,
You make me corny, think of wedding rings,
And flowers, fireworks, and gold from shit

They’re saying – they’re all masochists, these Jews.
My God, while you were playing once I closed my eyes
And thought, He is The Prince, surprise, surprise.
He’s found my slip-hers, that is, my glass shoes.

14. Jane To Ben And Joyce, Echoing The Composer

Now here’s the Guest of Honor, our "surprise."
Whom many of these stunned mythologize,
A goddess grinning like a well-stuffed guest.
These still religious think their Lady’s blessed
With magic, knowledge like our stricken Host,
The free verse Poet nibbling oysters on toast ...
Except we’re half-believers and half heretics.
Didn’t the hostess check our politics?
Hilarious how she smiled at two you shrinks,
Has she seen either of you without your drinks?
You know her secrets, Ben, come on; no, Joyce,
And why she still stayed loyal to that choice
Dunce. Your loyalty to patients’ rights comes first.
Celebrity makes them, right or left, burst
With narcissistic gloating, self-deceit.
We’ll guess who’ll kiss her hand, or kiss her feet.
They’re lined up, trembling to apostrophize.
Look at those pursing lips, their bulging eyes.
We’ll make our comments quietly and snicker
Until the guests, spell broken, start to bicker.

15. The Composer To Ben, Joyce, And Jane

Yes, Ms. Hilarious, her hair blown out,
Her fingernails as pink as babies’ tongues.
Her legs determinedly gym slim.
You wouldn’t think that she possessed such clout,
Such power in her uncontaminated lungs,
Or that she still is married to that Him.

Her escort is that General – his name
Escapes me while this fine St. Thomas rum
Reduces memory. He has no shame
He stood, pants down, full of come.
So we are gathered here to raise their funds,
Sans patent leather and sans cumberbunds.

Here’s Ms. Hilarious and this Mr. Straight,
His medals missing but his smile is firm.
His hair is army trim and his eyes are clear,
Although his hand is shaking as he holds the plate
Of teeny bagels and creamed cheese shmear.
Ask them personal questions and make them squirm,

Ask them about the U.S. on her knees
Or how they closed their eyes to mass attacks
And how while we said Mass, they broke our backs,
How all they said was, "Thank you, Ma’m" and, "Please."
Ask them about the secrets that they kept,
How we were blown down while she, eyes closed, wept.

16. Jane Takes Her Composer Aside

Suddenly I feel sorry for her pain.
Suddenly I just want to talk with you
Seriously about … nothing, as if Jane
Is "Janey"… What’s in this brew!
I want to take you down to Central Park
And make our fireworks light up the dark

Before the public fireworks begin.
I want to take you down, take down this gin,
I want to take this pack of cigarettes
And smoke – you too? – with no regrets.
And you will call me "Janey," squeeze my hand
As we ride down, as if I’m blind. You understand?

Don’t speak, I see it in your boyish grin.
Your hand is warm, hot with adrenaline.

17. The Walking Museum

Remember me? You shrunk me years ago,
Years, years when you were starting out …
My father was an impresario,
My mother had City Hall castrating clout …
You know me inside out, despite my dress.
You’re squinting at me, smiling … almost, Guess!
You’re Bob Pidillo, with the dyed blond hair,
Custom-made jackets, and inside you’d wear
Iconic silk screens – "The Walking Museum:
The Case Who Lived Inside A Warhol Dream!

I wore a t-shirt with the face of Mao,
Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O. And now
I’m wearing what I’m squiring tonight:
This politician pop star, this pop art
With an "I Love" emblem of Manhattan’s heart
In orange, pink, gray, powder blue, and brown:
The colors of the flares over this town
In fabrics and explosives – the same sight.
I’m here to hear the folks go, "Fuck!" and "Wow!"
Politics and fashion, Warhol redux …


So hear ye, gather round and hear me teach
By demonstration what our Warhol wrought:
Voila! This box of t-shirts that I’ve brought
Have all been autographed for checks and bills!
Sign -em on your laps, on Monica knees!
And here she is in person, Hill from the Hill!
Yes, Weimar Cabaret fans, Viennese
Strudel munchers who’ve had high carbs, Binge
While sipping wine and vodka, scotch and gin.
Tomorrow you’ll have New Year’s Day regrets,
Resolves to diet so your t-shirts fit,
Diet your wallet, open your handbag’s hinge,
And make sure nothing’s rubber, counterfeit!
Ms. President in silk screen, place your bets!
Let’s feast on fame. Tomorrow you’ll be thin!


Tired, Ben, from promos all these years.
Yes, now I have my company "Pidillo."
You’ve seen me in the New York Post’s Page Six.
You’re squinting, so I know you know.
Scandalous still, and in the same way sick.
But I’m "Success," The Impresario,
Oedipal Victor, and your other shtick.
And how you helped me with my penile fears,
So I can squire our Great Mom – although
I’m still her "squirt," her "little man." The show
I’ve put on was "her puppet man’s" – your phrase.
I have my good nights and depressive days.
Can I come in to see you? I have AIDS …
But you would guess my careless escapades
Would make me tragic, though I force a grin,
Like this "great lady" … So we’ll begin
Again -- to help with my death as when
You helped me with my silly life, back then!

18. The Social Worker To Ben

My hair is cornbread, shaped into a loaf
Of rye, white and brown, half-a-joke, half-a-crown
That students of mine, social workers, want to seize.
But I’m the Tammany of therapy downtown
Because I backstab when I seem to please.
My hubby there’s a drunkard and an oaf

-- That divorce lawyer (!) working this crowd.
See him now with Ms Hilarious,
All six-foot-two and muscular and charming,
Though when alone, his psyche is precarious-
Ly balanced between outrageous and alarming.
You hear him? –

19. The Lawyer To Ms. Hilarious

            These days everything is allowed:

"Sacraments" to young boys on their knees,
Video sex that babysitters turn on
While they go at it in the other room
With boyfriends, girlfriends. Everything’s a con,
As if we’re Sodom, and that Baby Boom-
Er dropping his pants, put terrorists at ease.

Don’t you think we’ve lost our freedom in our sex-
Uality? Ask my wife, the shrink
Who shrinks in darkness, though she bloats in light
By drinking seltzer, her I’m-potent drink,
She’s here to give out cards, gossip, and spite.
While your fundraisers shill and circumflex.

20. The Social Worker Again, To Ben

At least our Ms. Hilarious had sense
To leave him mumbling when The Oaf said "knees."
Rambling to that old hag with two hearing aids.
She was that famous analyst’s main squeeze,
That Communist Doctor? … Memory fades.
She’s hearing Breathing. He hears Flatulence.

So I’m a drone, and you are … Eminent,
And work with such as Ms Hilarious.
Are you what brings her here. She’s here for money,
And I am sorry, petty, and unscrupulous.
You’re here for fun, and I’m now most unfunny.
I’d like your card and tell you what I’ve meant.

The bastard’s impotent and always Right,
And heading right back to Hilarious
And grinning at her so lasciviously
You would think he’s Mr. Cunnilingus,
Mr. Fuck. He’ll ask – innocently --
"Why does my teasing make you so uptight?"

He’s going to turn this fundraiser to trash.
Her head’s thrown back at him – shock and whiplash!
She’s whispering to The Host to throw him out,
And he’s appealing with his cutest pout.
I know his tactics, how my nut betrays
Everything he says, everyone he lays.

21. Ben To Joyce, Escaping The Social Worker

Bang go the fireworks – white, red, and blue.
She’s punishing her lawyer husband. Whew,
We’re lucky. As our Hostess toasts, Rejoice
That once we made our excrutiating choice
For you to leave your son and me my wife,
It saved your son and saved my private life
Despite the scandal – that’s my wife’s lawyer!
-- My God, that Oaf was hers, his name is … "Boyer."
Look at him sneer at Ms. Hilarious.
He’s wobbling on the balcony – "Precarious!"
My God, he’s jumping, that is what she meant!
Now his wife is screaming, "Our government
Drove him to this. That Cheney and that Bush
Unbalanced him, gave him the Final Push!"


Joyce! Sit down, there’s nothing you can do.
The wife is screaming, threatening to sue
The Host, The Hostess she’s calling Dirty Jew?!

So now The Host is calling 9/11 to pick him up.
Let’s go back in and fill these paper cups
With more scotch, gin, and watch our colors soar
Despite that crazy Boyer, Mary’s whore
Who took my money, took my "World Renown."
And boxed it in the titters of this town:
"Ben the Bad Mentor to his fawning Joyce,
Ruined by the meanest lawyer since the Earth
Was run by reptiles. Prick’s lost everything he’s worth."
Remember this call: Ben, you worthless bum,
You’re now reduced to just a smear of come
On Joyce, your intern’s" (sic) "communion dress?"
He nearly killed us with hi viciousness.
Our nemesis is gone. Drink up, rejoice,
Not for his fall but for these fireworks, Joyce,
Our fireworks. We’ve survived that shmuck
Taking half of everything I’d earned.

When you start fireworks you’re sometimes burned,
And those you’ve dazzled into darkness with some luck
Survive. And now the Wheel of Fortune’s turned
And all I’ve seen and suffered, that made me hard
Is gone. That bitter woman with my card
Will blame herself for wishing that he’d fall.
And ask me to her, as I help them all …

So here’s the Grand Finale to the year
And drowning out the ambulance we hear
Off in the distance, drowned in New York cheers,
And now New York is singing with Old Blue Eyes
That we’ll survive the terror in our skies.
For now we’re showing off our colors, look!
And taking back what 9/11 took.

22. Jim, The Neuroscientist’s Wife

You’re the shrink who talks on trauma, Ben …
You’re watching fireworks while we’re all on oxygen!
Renee is in the bedroom with my Jim
Thrilled by Ms. H. who patted, smiled at him.
Larry is in the kitchen with a knife
To slash his wrists, slash Jim, stab me his wife
While trauma’s snuffed out by these fireworks:
That lawyer flipped from the balcony, berserk,
Ambulance sirens tearing up the air.
While terrorism grips us in despair.
We’re living terror in these fancy rooms
And you are silent, grim as Doctor Doom.
We wanted to help raise money, have some laughs.
It’s tragedy mixed up with social gaffes,
Or tragedy as gaffes while there’s mass death.
With every cluster opening, they gasp
At what is red, white, blue. And not the dead
Man breaking like my marriage in that bed,
But falling like 9/11, he became
Animation in a video game
With fireworks distracting quickly, Trauma Doc.
Are we so numb we’ve just re-wound the clock
To just another New Year, Auld Lang Syne
Which Jim is singing with Ms. Serpentine,
And Larry’s rushing like her butcher Ex-,
A terrorist eyes bulging at her sex …
And look who’s stopped him at the bedroom door!
Our Ms. who should have stopped that sexless Gore!

23. Ben’s Epilogue

These fireworks were what we came to see,
Lighting the darkness of this comedy
Manhattanites play out, though terror’s struck.
Their psyches like their politics are stuck
In neutral – left, right, clunk. They’re traumatized
And fighting for a life’s that’s been revised,
As Jane said before she revised her own
And left with musical Testosterone.
(Our dying Courage will not say a word
About his end in Theater Of The Absurd,
The Bald Soprano with his fragile brain.
His life span’s infinite for our Jane.)
And this M.D. might find the trauma gene
And turn our politics to good hygiene,
And Larry’s still funny with his wild Renee,
Though I warned him not to veer off that way,
But marry you. Thank God he didn’t hear me.
And that lawyer who domineered me,
Perhaps he’s found a heaven made of cash.
We’re all fireworks till we turn to ash.
But till then, Joyce, we’ve gossip and politics,
How did Jane put it, moiles with comic shticks?
Ms. Hilarious barring the door to Larry,
Think of all the cash and checks she’ll carry
Out of this party when the drinks are tossed
When everyone walks out in this chilled town, lost,
Looking for comfort in their sleeping pills,
Their fancy, isolating domiciles
Where hungover husbands, headachy wives
Resume next year in convoluted lives,
With rhetoric about that villain Bush
Their memories of Clinton and his push
-Ing power in to some fat girl gasping, "Please
Help me become a Celebrity on my knees."
And she became one, everything’s TV.
Nothing is real these days but you and me,
Your hill of heaven -- blessed pregnancy
This is the growing blueprint for our genes
Despite last year’s that’s blown to smithereens,
Our baby who will come here upside down,
Like everything else in this survival town.


"The Psychiatrists at the Cocktail Party"
copyright © 2004 by Frederick Feirstein
and may not be reprinted or distributed without permission from the author.