The New Century

Vienna revolts outside; in,
an addict is bent
over everything ever written on dreams
and hating it—but it has to be done,
to write the book, and he has to feel
a little unwell to write well.
Janus, his grubby old god
with the two faces—
no example extant,
Roman or Gothic,
possesses a third—
weights his writing down
while his hand,
under auspices that conflict,
riddles into plots
where Schliemann
had just been digging,
or so he thought,
deep as Mycenae and Troy.

Freud takes care, in his spare time,
what little he has, after walks
with his family in the park,
to avoid thinking. But the thing
that keeps taking his time
and making him think
is not that all the dreams
he's reading annoy him
with their dreamers'
insufferable cleverness,
or that he himself,
an insufferably clever

but shabby old Jew,
jokes of going to Rome
for Easter,
but that the new century,
whatever else it manifests,
is latent with his death—

which is intriguing.
But he's worked a little too
tremendously to bring forth
what, like most revelations,
is not so interesting
as the possibilities
discarded along the way—
to which, somewhat shaken,
he now returns.