In high school my psychotherapist called me

a spoiled brat, and when he didn’t get a rise

out of me, admitted he was trying to see

what I would do after being insulted by

an adult. Don’t even get me started on

negative capability, I thought, while I told

him that I understood that even the most

helpful of us sometimes need to entertain

ourselves with the misery of others, comedy

and erection addicts that we are, but that I

would make sure he’d no longer have the

opportunity to stick his thinking into me and

return to hiding at the way back of his

subconsciousness cave. Empathic young man

that I was, I even said I realized that might be

hard to hear, being the big, long-fingered man

that he was, but that I’d be moving on to a

more humanistic psychotherapist who knows

how to listen to others at least at the level

of a kindergartener, or perhaps a mean older woman

with a huge hat who’s been embarrassed by

a younger one without a bald spot. I remember

returning to my bedroom after that tank of a

man raising his heavy cannon load of dogmatism.

I remember picking up my guitar and practicing

a few chords until my fingers couldn’t take it

anymore, at which time I picked up my journal and

began writing a spiritual I could sing without

accompaniment until my guitar playing got

good enough. This song will put things right,

I told myself, while I imagined a lion overlooking

his big blue-sky territory, and for a while I think

it did, the song I mean, though I couldn’t tell

you how, other than to say that after singing

I felt a sense of empowerment and forgiveness

I now know I wouldn’t have felt had I just picked

another psychotherapist, one that knew how to

actively listen to me or not.