Wilhelm Reich in Lewisburg


Mark Kerstetter



Idylls of the pasture:
a pat to Mama’s ample rump,
my silky pony’s frolic near the frigid pond
past a bovine fuck,
then to studies by the hearth.

Papa, there are no fish to be caught.


The day the Russians stormed
took what was left
of Home.

Who am I,


A digger in the hard earth.
Laying my man’s body down
where nothing grows
out of tears and blood
planted by brothers
in arms.


Dr. Freud, help me.

I have lost everything
and know nothing
but my strength,
my will,


A new world will be built,
through the libido,
links in a chain,
by neurotics—
              feel my touch.


Ah, ladies:
look at those goose-steppers!
Aren’t they fine?
You know they are, even as they strip you
of the little
you have left.
And when you have nothing
you’ll beg for more—
look at those goose-steppers!


Dear Mr. Einstein,
why have you not answered
my letters?
Surely you are not subject
to the irrationality of physicists,
to Kafkan assistants who run hot
                                          and cold?
Mr. Einstein?
Why not shove a thermometer in my ass
                      and turn me over?
I’m done.


Looking through the bars
to the Liberty torch in the harbor,
hands useless, yet wanting to reach,
to reach far, farther even
than this torched hand:
through the blue to a far off generation

where children are not born cowards.


Unarmored Life will have a home
where escape from freedom is not an option,
where solitude is justified
and the birth of knowledge
will resound in joyous communion
amongst the lake and mountain pines
and the cosmic wellspring
of Orgonon.


Come and see
my cloud-buster shake
the desert sky
wringing God’s tears
on so many crucified
Christ bones,
bleached white.


I have lain.
Too long
and burned the hand
of love
too strong
for little men
and little women
like you.

I am indifferent now.
You are too offensive.


Do you think that by burning my books
you can stop the Life Energy
That by prohibitions and injunctions
you can stop one baby’s tear
or laugh?

Coda: Lewisburg

Cows in the yard, corn in the shuck,
clit clat of Amish horses;
the sun rises and sets on a dead tree
in a forgotten field.
The Susquehanna River flows cold
and dark
               in the valley.
Boys take to the White Deer woods with guns,
and girls play house.

This is the Bible Belt, forget what
you’ve heard about the South.
Here the bands of religious intolerance are drawn,
and fear of the Other is forged.
And the buckle
—like the Inquisitor’s noose
and the crucifier’s spike—
surrounded with buckshot Baptists,
Nazarenes and Pentecostals, lies
near fallow fields lined with
electric fences.

I am captured
by naked steel
and the dead flesh
of a gun.