IMG 2129 - Weeds
Painting by Richard Bargdill.

One of the things I have marveled at is how many humanistic existential folks have found art to be an important part of their self-care. I understand that we are “amateur” artists, poets, painters and musicians, but I think that in itself is beautiful because we are, in a sense, truly making art for art’s sake. Or maybe even better making art for our sake.

Spurred on by the idea of psychological growth, I feel that many H-E therapists, academics, and students are “opened” by reading philosophy and literature, and engaging in phenomenology. It is hard to believe that: a psychology that leads to artistry—in both therapists and their clients—would not be happily embraced by the larger psychological community.

Sometimes, I think that the Humanistic-Existential psychologists are intricate weeds, growing through concrete thinking cracks. If the academic soil was better, we might be abundant. But, we are always scattered all over the place by the winds. Rarely are we found in concentration and when we are, we can find ourselves fighting each other for light. There are just enough of us to “survive” the various poisons sprayed on us by the “mainstream.” I thought I would offer up a painting and a few poems about being a weed. Two poems are long ones with a shorter one appearing as an interruption; weeds interrupt—just to be annoying.

    We Weeds

It seems that I can stand
in other people’s shoes,
but I go barefoot.
I cannot step outside
of myself
to look back
from the observer position.
Should I look
I’d look with whips.
I’d speak with knives
I‘d listen to chains
that hold me near
the whirlpool of the past.
I have certain memories
that are clubs
which beat me
Wall memories that pop up
in time
for me to bang my head
like a gong.
Weed memories
that grow wildly in silence
then entangle and strangle
can’t free my breathing.
These memories are worth forgetting
forgiving, for

how to for
to free
for giving?

Turn your
self into a bore,
make a hole
make a door
make a hall,
make a wall,
cut the vines,
drop the club
drop the glove
that you catch
colds with.

Become a jack hammer
a shear, a shield,
a filter, a 7-second delay,
for the mind.
Unpack the attacks
of time,
dissect the defense
then clip its wires.

I don’t know where to begin,
I have to drop the guilt and the sins
I’ve committed against myself.
I’d have to teach myself
as I teach others;
I am always gentle with them.

You got to watch
what you swallow
when you eat
in front of the

Don’t throw up
or throw out your children
but puke up poisonous parents,
trade in gods
that glare, for gods that
love you-human.
then act like them.

Your shoes are of infinite size
blow them up.


 j e
 u r o
 st t
 pour poison



I went for a walk
wandering, wondering,
believing now
that walking creates spirit.
I saw some weeds growing
in a sand pile
at a cement factory.
Some grew quite well.
I was on a bridge
looking down as a
bird might see me
planes get too high
go too fast.
They fly
but do not glide
or soar.
A bridge moves at the
pace of life.
And life is
this weed trying to
grow in the dust gathered

waiting to be turned
into pavement
for my

Isn’t that life

trying to grow
only to be
When we blow up
this world,
and leave this host cell,
like all viruses do
after the feeding is done,
then this city
will be a place I want to
return to
in the past, present or future.
Over grown now with
trees and vines,
a forgotten place
of bridges and

What tells us more
about freedom than
a tree
which can not move.
A spot chosen, or not.
the struggle is up
against others above,
branches beckoning,
stretching, flailing, swaying,
in the search to find light.
That makes us grow


I am sure that art
is finding the unconscious.
in the trance of
walking, driving, forgetting
what one previously believed:
in fact, unbelieving
or unwinding.
in between
force and homeostasis
is a place,
but not a location
maybe a gap
or a hole
one can trip in,
where a poem can sprout
on its own will,
not concerned
about its making
not in contemplation
but in geste.

    In the early years
    I was a friend.
    In the late years
    I was a foe.
    In which years
    of service
    did I help you
    most to grow?

Imagine finding yourself
lost within you.


She walked with him
and looked right at
Her eyes did not leave
as we closed in.
He talked to her
not seeing
her face on me.
As I passed her
she mouthed “Hello”
in the most terrified face
I have ever seen

Every thing else
is speculation.


I could see the hole today,
sucking everything in.
I could not help unbelieving
that it was all due to
I went for a walk.

I believe that art is a freedom in the same way that a “thought experiment” is a philosophical form of play. We have to be able to try out various guiding principles without having to agree with them or own them. Poems are a form of communication, but only if they communicate with at least one other human being. It is wonderful that almost any work of art will speak to some other soul, even if that is only one note, one speck, or one line.

— Richard Bargdill

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