Posts Tagged ‘bonding’


a lot can be solved
by physical affection
— coming together
in mutually confirmed
blind ignorance of being

There were some terribly difficult dynamics at work, between colleagues, about a year ago. I found one person in particular above all quite problematic to relate to. Last night I dreamed I was with her, and that we were just on the verge of beginning to touch each other in a sexual way. I suppose you could call it flirting. Then I was being like that with a whole series of female colleagues, in the dream. It felt quite liberating. Earlier in my life for decades I was extremely uptight about touching women, whether sexually or just socially embracing. It’s so tempting to imagine I have made ‘progress’ in being more confident now. The dream kind of confirms this point of view. But I wanted to challenge it in the poem.



I’ll never forget
— as a boy, the disbelief —
learning that Elgar’s
Nimrod is dedicated
to, and inspired by, a man

Disbelief is a revealing emotion: it reveals the subject of the feeling rather than the object of it. But I can still feel that utter disbelief. ‘Does not compute.’ Such incredibly tender and passionate feelings sweeping over me when I would listen to Nimrod, which I loved, for me indicated, even at whatever early age that would have been (roughly 9-12), that this was an intimation of sexual love. That meant girls — women — the opposite sex. How could it be that a man could have feelings of this nature for another man? Ironically I was to discover the answer to that question in my own life only a couple of years later. But it remains a mystery how Elgar himself was able to channel so much eroticism into a piece of music dedicated to and inspired by a purely platonic friendship. Two words erotic and platonic thoroughly Greek in origin. Eros and Plato. Both male. In my dream, I was involved in some kind of platonic relationship with gay composer Benjamin Britten, where I felt he needed my tenderness and support and empathy, and I was able to provide it. I am reading Humphrey Carpenter’s book The Inklings at the moment, and he makes a very good point about C.S.Lewis’s suppression of his own homosexual feelings. Lewis invested a very great deal indeed into his male friendships, but his attitude to homosexuality was that of a dinosaur.

small talk

how was your weekend?
— a polite enquiry thrust
like a wide bore shot
gun in my face, warning me
to back off right from the start

This is so unfair on the young lady who, in reality yesterday at work, delivered this routine formula for my benefit. And it really was for my benefit. I had complained a couple of weeks ago that I was feeling left out of the bonding going on among the three other members of the team, which has partly to do with the fact that I work in a different room. And so she had come into ‘my’ office specifically in order to be friendly. I just find the small talk formulae really difficult. Always have. The dream had me staring down the bore of a shot gun held by a woman.