Archive for March, 2015

futility

if I had to sing
the fact of my existence
to the universe —
and the universe declined
to listen — would it matter?

In my dream I was one of a team of three men (the Holy Trinity?) and, between us, we had a plan for saving ourselves — or perhaps the planet. We would broadcast our existence to the listening alien civilisations, using three different artistic media (e.g. dance, poetry and music). The dream was really more about honesty of expression than about futility. I was very hopeful in the dream. I apologise for my pessimistic streak which always creeps into my poems.

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wrongheaded

however hard I
try to be friends with evil
— it never quite works

Not only may it well be wrongheaded of me to try. It’s also wrongheaded to use the theme of ‘friends’ (which does derive from my dream last night) in order to write about ‘evil’ (which doesn’t). But obviously I’m still thinking about yesterday’s gnostic demiurge.

demiurge

subvert the Good, by
pursuing the Beautiful –
it’s how the world turns

The first draft of this poem was about light and dark. I prefer this version, but it’s still worth pointing out that darkness and light are natural phenomena, whereas good and evil, beautiful and ugly, are secondary constructs which we create ourselves as human beings. Nevertheless there is some irrational compulsion hardwired into us, whereby we associate goodness and beauty with Light, and evil and ugliness with Darkness. This basic orientation is just a fact about being human, pointless to deny, no matter how much I may enjoy trying to turn good and evil upside down (for instance by identifying God as evil, which occurs with the gnostic demiurge). Behind this morning’s poem lies a dream where I was embracing someone I’ve known ten years and whom I’m really fond of: but she always makes me think of a Sunday School teacher or a Women’s Institute stalwart and so I always find myself battling a temptation to dismiss her as just too mainstream and twee. It was satisfying to embrace her in the dream, and to allow myself to dwell upon my tender feelings towards her. My poem kind of reacts against that, and tries to bring into focus my belief that Sunday School morals are hopelessly inadequate to this universe. This belief corresponds to the part of me that always wants to put her down.

baggage

too much guilt, too much
fear — oh simply to dump these
burdens here and now
— become what I truly am,
a giggling imbecile

Yesterday I was at my mum’s. Her living room has books lining the walls. It’s very strange how my intellectual curiosity always flares up when I’m left alone in that room: I feel the desire to read books which I know I’m never going to read. Yesterday I started at one end of the top shelf, examining each title and deciding whether I would keep it or chuck it, supposing I had to make that decision. I was pleased to find myself tempted to say ‘keep’ only once or twice, for the whole of the top shelf. Dumping baggage was a theme that appeared in my last night’s dreams — in a literal sense. I was on holiday and realised that I had acquired quite a lot of stuff which I needed to ditch before packing my bags to go home. The giggling imbecile image derives from Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus — and also possible from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Don’t know why it cropped up here.

The Family Man

so I went mainstream —
without ever the slightest
real idea why
— a straight exchange of darkness
for darkness — who pulled that deal?

I dreamed of a ‘typical middle class’ wife and husband and small children. The whole family was determined to help me in all kinds of unexpected ways. I felt like an interloper. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into their lives. Couldn’t quite understand why they seemed to love me. The Family Man is a movie I saw by accident on telly a good while ago. It was a glossy Hollywood product with a facile message and I loved it. There are so many things wrong with the way we glorify heterosexual family life. Despite feeling so utterly alienated from all that up to the age of about 45, through it all I never lost sight of the fact that I knew it must contain an enormous amount of value that deserved to be affirmed, and that I wanted to experience for myself. Partially, I have achieved this. I have no children but look likely to get married. My poem is saying that even though the mainstream me and the alienated, marginal me look and feel so different, they are both just different forms of self-ignorance.

whatever my mind
is — has the gentleness of
a liquid ripple

all

large chunks are missing —
the whole of me amounts to
a Sappho fragment

I wonder if I’m getting more than a little jaded with this blog of mine. The blog’s title sciencegoodmagicbetter is meant to be a bold assertion that, somehow, I’m going to prove with my poems that magic (i.e. poetry) surpasses science as a way of understanding and processing one’s own dream life. The Dionysian is supposed to win out against the Apollonian. But so often in actual practice, my daily poem relies heavily on my internal psychoanalyst (i.e. scientist) for inspiration. And I use the word inspiration loosely. I had a very colourful dream last night, involving a sort of Frankenstein’s monster, an outcast, possibly a Jew or someone with learning difficulties. He was very intelligent and was managing to outwit a Nazi officer. But only because the Nazi had a streak of kindness which was temporarily dominating. I knew for certain that his cruel side would reassert itself in the end and the Jew would be tortured to death. None of this appears in my poem at all, which is more a kind of arid platitude saying that, without the input of the unconscious (i.e. without the input of our dreams) we only have half the story as to who we are. I have this intensely ‘love-hate’ relationship with psychodynamic theory. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.