Archive for August, 2015

sometimes….

on a bus, I feel
so close to the symbolic —
the sacred, even
— otherworldliness a mere
breath away — next stop heaven

Not really so very pleased with this poem. Much too fanciful in a trite sort of way. But never mind. It does tell the truth. I do feel a funny thing about bus journeys, as though they carry some incredibly powerful symbolism in an incredibly ordinary way. A previous draft of the poem included the line ‘miniature community of pilgrims’, and it’s a shame I couldn’t find a way to work this into the final version. I know exactly where the Symbolic Bus Ride comes from: a novella by C.S.Lewis called The Great Divorce. Needless to say, I dreamed of a bus journey last night. Probably triggered by noticing a wedding bus yesterday.

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shared ownership

words, sweet like honey
— who can penetrate the why
and the how? — words from
nobody-knows-where, falling
sometimes heavy, sometimes light

Needless to say, ‘the shared ownership of words’ is only partially accurate as a description of how, as human beings, we are situated within our own language. Because it’s equally true and obvious that my words are mine and yours are yours. Yesterday evening in a restaurant with my partner and her daughter, I showed them an exchange of emails on my mobile phone, where I had written with some intentional verbal elegance, to thank a work colleague who had organised a work social event. She in her turn had written an appreciative email back. There was a sweetness about the whole exchange, and this appears translated in my dreams last night — as a dream where I was sucking honey out of my mobile phone. The mystery of that quality of sweetness, was what I was trying to get at in the above poem. Did I generate it myself? Was it a quality of the words themselves at all? Words are really the most peculiar things.

pornography

what a mess! — when I
look back over my whole life,
see such a jumble
of unresolved problems — small
wonder I seek an escape!

I want to thank whoever reads and appreciates my stuff online. I have no idea who you are, and very little idea therefore why it is I put my stuff out there. It’s like pissing in the wind. But I’ve decided to resume my blog as from a couple of days ago, and the motivation is very largely a matter of self-disgust for my apparent inability to overcome a pornography addiction. It could be much worse, but still, is bad enough. Rather than wallow in self-hatred I would rather make positive headway writing poetry and processing my dreams. Which after all is the dual purpose of my blog. In this way I provide myself with ongoing evidence that I am not a shit. Or not entirely.

Today’s poem states all this. It lacks any direct reference to what I actually dreamed though. I guess that is a weakness in the poem, but I’m pleased it’s so direct and plain-speaking. One interesting thing in the jumble of images in my dreams last night, is that almost all of them involved some kind of good intention on my part. I decided to wear snowshoes in order not to frighten off a polar bear with the noise of my footsteps. I wanted to befriend a lonely maverick guy. I wanted to thank an uncle of mine for a lesson he’d taught me. I also wanted to get down and dirty with the female consort of the leader of some kind of cult. Not sure how that can be interpreted as a ‘good’ intention. Probably not. Although, relative to what the cult itself actually believed, I was ‘doing the right thing’ by entering totally into the spirit of it.

finally

why shall I have lived?
there will be no post mortem 
— no revelation —
the void is empty — we die
knowing only that we die

This sad little poem hardly does justice to the dream on which it is based. I had died, but my sister was holding a post mortem, of some psychological or possibly spiritual kind. There was a lot of concentration of mental resources, looking into everything around the event of my death. I woke eventually in a state of great sadness and distress at the thought of my partner Liz having to continue on in life without me. I suppose in that sense the dream ended with a question mark, and that much at least is translated faithfully in the downbeat character of the poem.

timeline

the line’s straight (you’d think)
— we are born, we die — but God
uses it to draw
a crazy illustration
of Time’s circularity

I dreamed I was a character in a children’s book by C.S.Lewis. I had grown old without noticing, and was now an old man. My time had all but run out, while somehow I had been imagining it was only a test run. Or only a story.

gay

flirting with David
Bowie — showing off my best
camp moves — flamboyant
release of the hidden self
— my Undiscovered Faggot

A friend asked me to recommend some easily-digestible Jung to read, and I responded instantly: The Undiscovered Self. Last night’s dream (or at any rate the poem I have just written about it) seems to mock the slightly pompous ‘Jungian’ side of me with an image of myself as a flamboyant camp dancer. In reality I have always struggled to know what to do with myself on the dance floor. One of the miracles of the last ten or fifteen years has been gradually picking up an ability to enjoy myself in my own way — though there’s nothing particularly camp about my moves as far as I am aware. I do identify as bisexual: so it’s quite plausible that there is an outrageous faggot in me, hidden from view.

knife

his goodheartedness
surprised me — I don’t know why
— maybe kindliness
sits strangely with the function
of a sacrificial priest

There are no sacrificial priests left in the literal sense. Although any violent scapegoating, whether performed by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay or by Islamists in Iraq & Syria, carries something of the old significance of human sacrifice. And of course Christian theology & liturgy attests powerfully to the living memory of sacrificial logic. I was actually thinking of the play Equus (again) though in this poem. I dreamed of the analyst Fred Plaut last night, who was responding kindly to a situation where I’d missed an appointment.