Posts Tagged ‘integrity’

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.


γνῶθι σεαυτόν

being me involves
a very particular
and unique kind of
self-ignorance — it’s the most
daunting thing in the whole world

I think it’s the case that my blog wrings more soul-searching from me than is required to keep my daily poem going without the blog. There’s a dramatic quality to what emerges under the pressure of knowing that I’m going to be sharing it online — even if the number of my readers is admittedly few. It was interesting for me to realise, looking back at the blogs in November, that I have repeated myself. Titus Alexander featured in a blog in November (and again a couple of days ago). Likewise Max Landsberg (although I didn’t name him, the first time I wrote about him). The man I dreamed of last night might likewise have already featured in previous blog posts. He was a lecturer in English Literature at a university in the USA, and he also happened to be the brother of my teenage gay lover. I met him in 1975 when he brought a party of his students over to London theatreland. I liked him enormously; there was a solidity, reliability and integrity about him (qualities which perhaps his brother sometimes lacked). He also had a gift equal to his brother’s, for generating a good feeling in a group of people. Whatever the psychological damage done to me by his brother, I suppose you could say this university lecturer has remained in my mind as the image of the person I would have most liked to be, other than myself (if wishes like that were ever granted). So he carries the projection of my own idealised self-image. The point about the theory of projection is that it enables you to recognise, obliquely, clues as to the character of the self who is a complete stranger to you. I really do feel utterly daunted, and utterly tiny, against the mystery of this stranger in my life (me) who was presumably responsible for how much angst and joy I suffered in those days — and how totally, totally screwed up I was. Am.