Posts Tagged ‘lust’

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.

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solidarity

sex…..gender…..woman….
….man…..desire — who in the world
has the foggiest
understanding of these things?
— or I am alone with it?

I like this poem for its angst, which I think comes across transparently. The answer to the two questions is that we are all united by the same ignorance, and that we each face our ignorance alone. I dreamed last night of a girl named Anna who was my first unrequited love. I fell in love with her when I was nineteen and remained in that state for about six years. Now at the age of 59, I want to know what is that force — call it sex or love — which controls us so mercilessly? Billions and billions of human beings, since the species began — each one, in some way or another, forced to ask the same question. Do we all get the same silence in reply? Voi che sapete

pencil scribblings #8

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I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that, back in the eighties, I used to consider the idea in all seriousness that I might be a reincarnation of the French novelist Stendhal. My other fairly-serious-contender for a past life was John the Baptist. Of course, for me to cherry pick famous figures from history in this way, was both illogical and vain. Even assuming I could believe wholly in the principle of reincarnation (which I couldn’t), chances are several billion to one that my past lives would have been inconspicuous and anonymous. Not John the Baptist or Stendhal. So I tended to nurture these fancies in quite a vague sort of way. Rather than believing literally in reincarnation, I thought probably there might be some special link of some other sort between these historical figures and myself. Maybe their discarnate souls remained discarnate, but were taking an interest ‘from the other side’ in the events of my life within time and space.

I remember feeling quite strongly convinced that John the Baptist, because of the way his life had ended, might, in the afterlife, be particularly interested in exploring the female realm and learning about feminism in the 20th century. In life, he had been some kind of hermit and presumably celibate. In the afterlife, he would want to make good that one-sidedness, and maybe use my 20th century life on earth as some kind of learning curve for himself, even though he remained ‘on the other side’. He would want to understand what made Salome tick. I felt that in my own life I had been victim of repeated random acts of cruelty by women, comparable (psychologically) to Salome’s cruelty in demanding the Baptist’s death. What had women done to me? Well, mainly it was simply a matter of their saying ‘no’ — either to sex or to marriage. Why this felt like such an incomprehensible cruelty, is quite difficult for me to recapture, in writing about it.

In April 1985 I met and fell in love with a girl named Petra. She took some interest in me, but explained patiently that there were some men she lusted after, others that she didn’t, and unfortunately I fell into the second category. I never quite believed her, and thought she was lying for the sake of the pleasure to be gained from denying me what I needed. Some months later, I came across a picture in a book about Stendhal, which was a painting of Salome by Bernardino Luini in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. This painting had been a favourite of Stendhal, because the looks of the model reminded him of the great unrequited love of his life, Matilde Dembowska. To my eyes, there was also a resemblance to Petra: so I felt this one painting affirmed my connection with both of my ‘previous lives’ at once.