• The Psychologist

    by Lawrence Haggquist

    The social experimenter cogitates
    over lurking variables
    that threaten to slip like shadows
    past the fortress of his experimental design.

    Outside the walls of his intellect,
    rain soaks sidewalks
    where students,
    having escaped random selection,
    scurry along brick walkways,
    past the ivy beards
    of buildings,
    to their classes.

    Below,
    in the cool basements of Psychology,
    teams of rats huddle in cages,
    like prisoners at Auschwitz,
    awaiting their assigned torture
    by electric shock, or brain lesioning,
    or perhaps starvation.
    Sad to say,
    but maybe they have it better than Zimbardo’s human prisoners,
    who cower in cells
    on cold cement floors –
    dehumanized, naked, and shackled to one man’s wild hypothesis –
    or Seligman’s puppy,
    shivering alone in his corner cage,
    having lost his will to even move.
    It’s no wonder
    that Harlow’s chimp
    doesn’t think his wire
    mother loves him.

    Still,
    the experimenter cogitates over hidden variables,
    the ones that sneak up
    from beyond consciousness
    and attack
    the black mystery of ink blots,
    stifling all the troubled screams
    that reach out
    from inner-darkness –
    from beneath layers
    of hidden pain.

    Today,
    the scientist cannot even be certain
    that puddles of rain
    will not,
    in some unknowable way,
    smear the contours
    of sadness.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 29, 2013

    Topics: Young Writers' Corner

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