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I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

I have spent a lot of time reading about narcissism lately. I have my reasons I won’t go into here. An unexpected outcome of this research is the realization almost every politician in the Democratic primary is above average on the naricissim spectrum, some just as high as Trump. One in particular. The one who had to drop his bid in 1988 because he was exposed as a pathological liar and plagiarist. The one whose toxic masculinity led him to challenge someone to a fist fight recently. The one who has assured the billionaires “nothing will change.” And a relationship with a narcissist, my dear reader, only ends one of two ways: you wake up and leave or they suck the life out of you. The Democratic electorate has chosen the latter. It is narcissist versus narcissist in 2020 (it has been before, to be fair) . We will all lose no matter which one wins. If Biden wins, we are left with an America still under the conditions that created Trump and we will either get another Trump or …. Trump. Do you really think leaving the White House will make Trump go away? He has created a movement and they will follow him where he leads. The presidency,  my dear reader, may become significantly less relevant. The question is, will the movement Bernie is driving remain intact to counter it?



I think of the people most affected by all this and I cry. My addiction patients in rural Pennsylvania, their children. They don’t even realize just how different much of America is living. And most of America doesn’t realize how they’re living. If they did, I’d like to think things would be different. But narcissists are very good at gaslighting and projecting and lying. Lying especially. Lots of lying. And if you’re a decent, feeling, empathetic human being, it is hard to resist. It is hard for for you to conceive that such a person could exist. Someone with no empathy and no remorse. Entirely self serving with nothing to limit what they’ll do to get it. Try to imagine. It should scare you. Terrify you.

I believe most Americans are decent people trying to get by in the face of a lot of hardship. I see it in my office everyday. Not just my most vulnerable patients, my middle class medical marijuana patients too. The cop with PTSD who had to retire because of it and now has no insurance or income to pay for the therapy he so badly needs. The single mom of an adult son with autism, trying to get services that aren’t there, trapped in her house. Chronic pain patients that were abruptly kicked off their pain meds once doctors started facing consequences for over-prescribing, not offered any help for withdrawal or to manage their pain. And I see the upper middle class patients who benefit from the system but have so much anxiety and depression, the money does them no good. And still they hold onto it tightly, unwilling to see letting some of it go would not only save so many struggling; it would save them too.

Greed is an illness. An ugly dark emptiness that cannot be filled and will not stop making you hunger for more. Like any addiction. Are the heads of the pharmaceutical companieds just projecting then? Turning so many into addicts so they can see themselves? And Trump, who will never have enough cheering angry supporters or enough money. He pulls the worst from us, feeding off negative emotions and chaos as narcissists do. Projecting onto America the darkness inside of him.


I do not mean for this post to sadden you or leave you feeling hopeless. Indeed, that is exactly what a narcissist wants. I want you to see that once you know you’re dealing with a narcissist, you begin your steps towards recovery. Leaving is not easy. They will try to suck you back in. They will love bomb you, bring you flowers and tell you how wonderful you are. But if you stay strong, it gets easier in time. And the best part? The thing narcissists hate most is someone who heals and is happy and strong. Our revenge would be a healthcare system that takes care of us, universal childcare, a Green New Deal, a living wage, an end to mass incarceration. Our revenge would be joy. Like an army of Care Bears shooting out beams of love and kindness and hope from our chests. They would keep trying, but with no one to reflect their image back to them, narcissists wither. Like Narcissist himself, when the reflecting pool they’re so addicted to dries up, so do they. And we, America, will have won.


America, by Allen Ginsburg

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America its them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
Berkeley, January 17, 1956