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Naked Faces

A Poem by Dr. Barry Lubetkin

I dreamt about them last night, fitful sleep I wonder if I do every night, Ambien slays the memory They stare at me and I feel old, unprotected, Naked, like their faces. And then I awake, night still owning my eyes, I power walk without power, but the doctors insist, Down Second Avenue, alive with nothing but the noise of naked faces, They, yearning for release from Covid prison. Joyful and free, laughing and drunk, Masks stuffed in shorts, hanging from ears, No masks anywhere, ever, Parents, grandparents, blurred by tequila. I shift to third gear, no sidewalk clear, Is the breeze blowing for me? Against me? Watch for the car, the bus, the truck, Naked faces party on, I don’t exist. A sea of danger looms ahead, Oblivious to storms in lungs, scars in brains, dying Moms, dying friends, Lifetime therapy to sew up guilty souls, Don’t they read? Don’t they care? I turn right and right again, I shift gears, must get home, a cough scares me, weaker? Nonsense! the breeze was with me, Door closes, my face now naked, safe.


Barry Lubetkin, Ph.D. is the co-director and co-founder of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in New York City. He is the author of numerous academic and popular articles, as well as two popular self-help books, Bailing Out and Why Do I Need You to Love Me in Order to Like Myself. The Institute for Behavior Therapy is the oldest private cognitive behavior center in the United States.



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