Aug 19, 2010

Robert Wrigley, "Do You Love Me?"



I’m aware of some dog lovers sniffing around Banjo52. For that matter, I’m a dog lover too.

Displacement is the psychological operation by which we go home and kick the dog because we cannot kick the boss at work, or various other actual targets of our anger. That misdirection is one of the ego defense mechanisms—and “ego” here means healthy self-esteem, not arrogance. However, one wonders how much ego is left to defend if it requires kicking the pooch.

I wonder if Robert Wrigley would agree that that bit of psychology is one of the things going on with the child in his poem, “Do You Love Me?” I came across it a couple of years ago, loved it, yet forgot about it until I went to the trusty Poetry Foundation, looking for a love poem to suit my recent photo-capture of these youngsters, engulfed in themselves on a pier beside big water.

I find some awkwardness in the middle parts of “Do You Love Me,” but its knockout conclusion makes me forgive that. If you’d like to hear Wrigley reading it, go to Poetry Foundation as well as this site. Whatever you do, don’t kick the pooch (unless he deserves it).

Touched By A Monkey: "Do You Love Me?" by Robert Wrigley


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5 comments:

altadenahiker said...

Agree with everything you said. That last part gave me shivers.

Let me chew on this for awhile.

Paula said...

A twelve year old girl is easily in the throes of early puberty, beginning to explore all the feelings that can induce. As a father it must have been quite disconcerting to see that kind of passion AND control in his baby girl. I got the most out of the poem from Wrigley's reading. A great choice.

Brenda's Arizona said...

I agree with sista cousyn. I gotta think of this awhile.
Has the child watched too many soap operas or dramas on TV?

Susan Campisi said...

Altadena Hiker pointed me in your direction. I've sniffed around before but it's been awhile.

At first I thought the pictures were too sweet to sync with the poem but after closer examination I could sense something menacing. The last part of the poem was a kick in the gut.

A belated acknowledgment, but I appreciated your Johnny Cash reference on My Life with Tommy.

BANJO52 said...

Paula, he read well, didn't he. That's not always the case, IMHO. (gotta show off the bit of tech talk I know).

Brenda, I'm not sure why, but the daughter's excess in Wrigley seems realistic or at least plausible to me. I feel sure I've seen that attitude in the young and the not so young, but don't remember the particulars. Of course, there's always Lady Macbeth, but do we need to go there?

Susan, welcome. Hey, I feel some guilt, or at least shame, for turning that scene of young love/lust/adoration into something dark. But I do think it also has "dark potential" or some such thing--something willful in the girl's body language, and she has a real live boy in tow, instead of her dog. I have to think she COULD be saying, "Say you love me." Haven't been back to your place for awhile, but I will. Thanks for pitching in.

Lovers' Lane