begging — he hates it
— my spiritual brother
holding his empty
cup like a gun — eye contact
excellent but I am blind

Sometimes, occasionally — I can see exactly what moment in waking life has given rise to a particular dream. Yesterday on the way home from the tube station to my house, I stopped off at the local supermarket. I noticed a beggar sitting directly opposite the entrance. Anyone exiting the door was confronted head on with an empty paper cup thrust directly towards them. There was something distinctly non-passive about this beggar. He was approaching the whole matter with a certain energy as though it were a business. A desperate business. I am always interested to observe my own reaction to beggars, and depending on my intuition, I sometimes give money. Today I was in no mood though. Mainly because I know already I am going to be several hundred pounds overdrawn at the end of the month. I was still curious in this man, despite knowing I was going to give him nothing. As I exited the shop, there was a moment where he looked up at the same moment as I looked at him. I saw how intelligent and resourceful and proud he was. Almost angry. It was quite unusual. Also quite unskilful in terms of engaging the sympathies of the passerby. Was I anything like this back in the nineties when I used to beg?

Last night’s dream showed me a Muslim cleric being filmed covertly with a hidden camera as part of an anti-terrorist operation. I was viewing the image in real time, and felt quite spooked because the Muslim was staring directly into the camera — almost as though he had twigged that he was being filmed. And yet in fact the deception was preserved, and although his eyes and mine were engaging perfectly, nevertheless he had no idea at all that I was watching him.

I realised quickly this morning that the dream depicts that moment when the beggar’s eyes and mine met, and I chose not to see him. The image of the gun in the poem comes directly out of another dream I had last night where a machine gun was trained on my bedroom window.


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