Posts Tagged ‘ownership’


my shame of owning
this brand new iPhone 5S
— reveals my inner
monk/puritan — quite distinct —
a sub-personality

Well, microchip technology is quite something after all. Conversely, I experience a swell of pride that I successfully weaned myself off a mild addiction to Twitter and Facebook (I’ve deleted both). The film Steve Jobs was, for me, a useful prod to the imagination to help grasp just how momentously computers have changed all our lives. Computers somehow engage our emotions whether we like it or not — which is quite some irony given they are totally emotionless themselves. Since a couple weeks ago I now own my first ever brand new iPhone. Prior to that, I had been using my sister’s cast-offs. I dreamed last night that I was holding my iPhone 5S under a stream of running water, trying to wash it clean. Then I realised with a jolt that I was supposed to have waterproofed it first. There was some quite  specific procedure for waterproofing, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember if I’d already carried it out or not. This was an anxiety dream and a wake up call to realise I care far too much about my iPhone! But the poem focuses upon the figure in my own unconscious who seems to be always whispering to me how much better off I would be if I owned nothing at all.


gender boundary

white underpants flecked
with blood — somebody’s severed
penis on the bed
— too late — my own sacrificed
manhood begging to be claimed

My best effort with an impossible subject. Gender reassignment was something I considered seriously for about six months in 1990 — finally letting go the idea on the basis that, as a woman, I would look ridiculous because I’m six foot two. The poem describes the dream. The blood on the underpants implies menstruation: so maybe in the dream I have become a woman in some way that goes beyond the gender reassignment available in reality. My main worry, awake, is that in the dream I felt nothing. So the literal severing of the penis seems to find a parallel in the splitting off of my feelings (dissociation). Yesterday somebody described to me his experience of witnessing, as a twelve-year-old, a variety of gruesome scenes involving dismembered limbs and massacred bodies. Oddly enough, although I might normally worry whether I’m capable of showing enough empathy in such a conversation, I felt on this occasion that my empathy had been good. Maybe the dissociation in the dream relates directly to the situation described to me — where, as a twelve-year-old, he said he had shrugged it off as best he could. For me though, the question raised by both dream and poem has to do with my teenage gay experience. Did I become feminized by it? Or was it on the contrary, an encounter with the essence of maleness? Did I sacrifice my manhood, or own it even more than before? Both at once, I expect.


words like ownership
and empowerment — words like
laptop — make me wish
with all my heart for a state
of utter destitution

I dreamed my laptop was buried under a pile of other laptops. I felt very attached to MY laptop as I hunted for it. Awake, I realised how much my laptop means to me, both in the abstract (a focus for my sense of ‘ownership’) and practically speaking (e.g. no laptop, no pornography). Ownership and empowerment are supposed to be positive things in the context of mental health. I do go along with that, and yet to another part of me these words sound like drivel. That part of me is sick of my current life, and my job in mental health, and my leisure time spent on emails and iPlayer and blogging and pornography — and believes I was better off spiritually in the eighties and nineties when I had nothing. There’s another part of me again however, thinks literal poverty is no escape. There would still be issues of ownership and empowerment to grapple with even if I had no laptop, even if I had nothing. Even if we lived in a society without money. The disjunct is between my current life and my previous life: I have never reconciled them and still feel like two people.