Dick Bentley


There are countries of the spirit,

Where the villages are lit by torches

And the bears weigh 700 pounds.

The clocks are sad

And strike the wrong hours

While park benches are as empty as the sky.

The tyrannical government

Lies about the weather,

Lies about the sun, moon, stars,

Sex and the mists off the river. The

streets are named Liberation Avenue,

Redemption Boulevard, and Square of

The Sixteenth of January.

This is the world we ran to from the world

While storms of cursing exiles fled the other way

And a father loomed above us all—

Loomed like a mountain range.

A Carpathian father ready to drink the blood of humans.

Seeking counsel I ask,

“Can my father really

Be mastered through

The interpretation of dreams?”

The therapist replies,

“According to Cornell Medical School’s

Malaise Inventory, someone who is disturbed

May also have a genuine complaint.”

The doctor has a pleasant if inexpressive face

And a disarming manner.

You can see

A fine lucid intelligence in his eyes.

“You must be very confused,” the doctor says.

You nod.

“How lonely it must be having your condition.

How baffling and troublesome and unfair.”


You bow your head silently in acknowledgment.

Like most educated people,

You are conversant with the basic

Tenets of the therapeutic relationship,

Issues of transference and countertransference

And so forth,

So you do not wish to acknowledge

The fact that you wish with all your heart

To embrace the man, to clamber up

The cliffs of his soaring Carpathian lap,

And remain there


Dick Bentley has published fiction, poetry, and memoir in over 260 magazines and anthologies. His books, Post-Freudian Dreaming and A General Theory of Desire, are available on Amazon. His new book, All Rise, contains, along with poems and short stories, samples of his inventive “wall poetry” —- poems that are displayed as part of paintings and graphic art. Dick has served on the board of the Modern Poetry Association (now known as the Poetry Foundation). He’s a Pushcart Prize nominee and was prizewinner in the Paris Review/Paris Writers Workshop International Fiction Awards. Before teaching writing at the University of Massachusetts, Dick was Planning Director for the Boston Housing Authority. He is a Yale graduate with an MFA from Vermont College.