January 1, 2015


Mel Waldman, Ph. D.

Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer. He is a past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis and was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature. He is the author of 11 books. 



My father, where are you? I sit across from you, at the small table, in the Brooklyn coffee shop, and look longingly at your old dark brown eyes, behind cataract glasses.

My father, inside the Circle of the Void, your large wounded eyes contain all that is, and all that is not.

While I order breakfast for us, you grin mischievously, revealing ancient gold teeth. You are here with me, with your big fat smile on your bony face sweeping across my secret landscape, your son’s Garden of Love, encircled by a ring of peacocks and multicolored butterflies, and all your antediluvian sins toward your only son shatter and melt in this poignant moment.

And now, you are gone. You stare blankly into space. I wait for your return.

And so it goes, as the Circle of the Void quietly swallows you, and your fragile mind, and ancient memories of love and loss, trauma and death.

You come and go, vanish and reappear, and in our last days together, more than a quarter-of-a-century ago, I watch your sundry deaths and resurrections, and you know my love, and I – yours, and we are one, before the Circle of the Void devours you, and I kiss you on your forehead and whisper, “My father, where are you?”



Mother, I watched you die, almost 50 years ago, in the large bedroom, yours and Father’s, and in this vast labyrinth of life and death, a sepulcher of despair and a tomb of trauma, the final moment arrived, after your brief blackout, an evanescent voyage to oblivion and back;

& I observed your gold eyes staring at us after returning from the other side, for we gathered beside you, Father, sister, and I, to say goodbye, although I did not want to know such a fateful truth; I could not accept such a forced cutting separation, severed from you forever; I could not accept the final moment and the first emptiness and its vastness and horror and the oceanic waves of sadness in which I suffocated and drowned; I could not accept;

& with your last breaths, you cried out, “I thought I was dying!” and then, you were gone.

My vacant eyes swallowed your still body and the fake plastic cigarette on the night table resting against the impotent oxygen tank, and the room was suddenly bare and my soul, naked, an abyss swathed in a raw nothingness, covered with shattered glass dissolving into dust, and returning to the earth, as I watched with disbelief, and died with you, yesterday, almost half-a-century ago.


Inside the Healing Room, I listen to the silence of the broken soul,
the shattering,
the vessel,
the sacred vessel,
receptacle of light,
divine light,
overwhelming luminosity
a soul,
a human soul,
scattering the holy sparks, the lost sparks, dispersed and hidden in earthly shells;

in the Healing Room, I listen to this eerie silence, the voice that does not speak, the howl that does not shriek;

I receive the anguish and despair; I hold the unbearable sadness inside me; I possess it and it possesses me;

still, I receive, keep, own, and hold it until my patients take it back.

I am the healer and yet, I too am healed by them.
I wish to inspire them. Yet often, they inspire me.
And over the decades, most of my healing and inspiration has come from people with AIDS.

They are the music of my soul. With them, I hear songs of courage in the silence of the night.
I watch them fall and rise again, stand tall, seize the old pain, own and transform it into the gold of soul. I watch the magic of change- metamorphoses more beautiful than peacock feathers and multicolored butterflies.

I watch them move and they move me.
I watch them change and they change me.
I watch them heal and they heal me.

Inside the Healing Room, we rediscover our scattered sparks of divinity.
Inside the Healing Room, we heal.

~Dr. Mel Waldman

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