KNOTS
by R.D. Laing

 
 
 


 

it hurts Jack

to think

that Jill thinks he is hurting her

by (him) being hurt

to think

that she thinks he is hurting her

by making her feel guilty

at hurting him

by (her) thinking

that he is hurting her

by (his) being hurt

to think that she thinks he is hurting her

by the fact that

da capo sine fine

 


 

Once upon a time, when Jack was little,

he wanted to be with his mummy all the time

and was frightened she would go away

 

later, when he was a little bigger,

he wanted to be away from his mummy

and was frightened that

she wanted him to be with her all the time

 

when he grew up he fell in love with Jill

and he wanted to be with her all the time

and was frightened she would go away

 

when he was a little older,

he did not want to be with Jill all the time

he was frightened

that she wanted to be with him all the time, and

that she was frightened

that he did not want to be with her all the time

 

Jack frightens Jill he will leave her

because he is frightened she will leave him.

 


 

Jack is afraid Jill is like his mother

Jill is afraid Jack is like her mother

 

Jack is afraid

Jill thinks he is like her mother

and that Jill is afraid

Jack thinks she is like his mother

 

Jill is afraid

Jack thinks she is like his mother

and that Jack is afraid

Jill thinks he is like her mother

 


 

Jack wants to devour his mother and be devoured by her

later, he oscillates between wanting to devour her but

not wanting to be devoured by her, and not wanting to

devour her but wanting her to devour him.

 

Later still, he does not want to devour her and does

not want her to devour him.

 

Jack feels Jill is devouring him.

 

He is devoured

by his devouring fear of

being devoured by

her devouring desire

for him to devour her.

 


 

He feels she is eating him

by her demand to be eaten by him

 

Two people who originally

wished to devour and be devoured

are devouring and being devoured

 

She is devoured, by him being devoured by

her devouring desire to be devoured

He is devoured by her being devoured

by him not devouring her

 

He is being devoured

by his dread of being devoured

She is being devoured

by her desire to be devoured

 

His dread of being devoured

arises from his dread of being devoured by his devouring

her desire to be devoured

arises from her dread of her desire to devour

 

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