Posts Tagged ‘fate’

no choice

the gut argues for
sexual congress — never
such raw compulsion
as now — two bodies wholly
determined to do their thing

In 1969 Ian McKellen toured playing Marlowe’s Edward II, which I saw at the age of thirteen at the New Theatre Cardiff. Ironic, given at that point in my life I was oblivious to any homosexual feelings — nevertheless I was profoundly impressed and moved by the representation on stage of the historically fairly-accurate love affair between Edward II and his court favourite Piers Gaveston. Twenty years later, a dream told me that that particular couple had had ‘no choice’ — it had been fated — and I knew immediately, awake, that this had been my own feeling about my own gay love affair on which I embarked in 1971. Some decisions come from such a deep place that they can only be right however much misery and heartache they subsequently bring.

In my dream last night I was embracing another man’s wife. My poem describes the dynamic between us quite well. She was Judith whom I knew in 1977 by her maiden name of Everard. I was thoroughly smitten, but she was out of my league. Not in any carnal sense, for I don’t think she would have been interested in ‘sex before marriage’ in any case. But morally out of my league. She had a strength of character and integrity which I lacked. She has stayed firmly on a pedestal in my memory for the last forty years. It feels momentous to dream of her now as another man’s wife amenable to being seduced by me. I have dreamed of her reasonably often over the years, but cannot recall any similar dream where she comes down off her pedestal so decisively. In the dream, I was mainly concerned for my own unfaithfulness, not hers. I knew I’d betrayed Liz, and was looking desperately for ways of remedying the situation.



my death — closer now
with Bowie gone — the abyss yawns
— the moment explodes

Not much to say about this. I dreamed I was about to die. Maybe not immediately, but there was some kind of powerful fate at work which had decided my life was forfeit. It was futile to resist, but I tried to put off the moment as best I could. All the time I was aware of a very powerful Chinese deity, or collection of deities, hunting me down — they would take me in the end — that much was completely certain. They were something like a cohort of Kung Fu fighters. Bowie’s death has affected me deeply. During the eighties I used to think of Bowie, Elton John and Freddie Mercury as a kind of trio who summed up my positive feelings around my own homosexuality. Bowie was the least talented musically, I always felt. But psychologically the strongest and most interesting.

strange fate

a man with a past —
how does he live with himself?
— only by striving
never quite to remember,
nor properly to forget

Huge issues here. My dreams were haunted (more than usual) by figures from my past. The reason is clear. Yesterday I told my story of ‘recovery from mental illness’ as part of a Mind in Camden training. I do this often and it can sometimes feel like a performance which lacks authenticity because the traumatic events are so long ago, more than twenty years or as many as forty. I wanted it to be fresher this time, and I succeeded — but at a price. I felt very drained afterwards, because I had gone so deep into myself for it. My ongoing struggles with pornography were at the front of my mind as I wrote the poem. In particular because I dreamed last night of the stripper referred to in my post here (whose name was Stella) and I guess that post was what made me think to myself: ‘I’m a man with a past’. It’s both dangerous and necessary to churn up the past. It’s both dangerous and necessary to insulate oneself from the past. Thinking about the dream and writing the poem made me realise what an impossible choice it is, between remembering or forgetting. You would expect (or I would expect) remembering to be always better, but the more truly you remember, the more precarious you feel.


Fate, Destiny, Shame
and Guilt — to feel their touch is
to pray for release

The gods are still with us, and maybe monotheism is to blame for encapsulating the divine aspects of our all-too-human nature into a supposed single truth (the existence of “God”), which constitutes an open invitation for non-believers to throw out the baby with the bathwater. For me at least, polytheism, compared with monotheism, seems much more amenable to interpretation as being that “the gods” are our own drives. Human beings go a little bit crazy when they start talking about the One God. Hardly surprising, since by definition, nothing can be said about Him. My dream last night, which has given rise to these reflections, entailed my being rejected by the family of the gay lover I had in my teens. In reality his family were welcoming to me, while it was mine who were rejecting of him. All very traumatic — hence the sense of fate, destiny, shame and guilt.


the equipment costs
too much — no choice but to give
this adventure up
— choice? who am I kidding? we
left choice behind at base camp

A walking route, where the road merged with a river. The water was the route. Before setting out with my partner Liz, I was contemplating the £300 which I didn’t have, to buy myself special waterproof shoes. There were also knee length boots for her, which cost even more. In real life we belong to the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Ramblers Club, but I suspect the knee length boots are a reference to a striptease show I once saw, where boots were all that was worn. Two completely opposite associations. But I’d like to think the symbol of water — and hence the trek — is equally both spiritual and sexual in meaning.