Posts Tagged ‘poem’

silent witness

merely to hint at
whatever I imagine
amounts to my truth
— is already more than I
am capable of saying

I dreamed I was witnessing the birth of a child — except the whole thing was a dramatic simulation. I kept wondering how the actress felt about how close she was coming to having her vagina exposed to the audience. She was delivering the baby standing up, facing the audience. In the end, it seemed that professionalism had won out, and they managed not to show any vagina. I had great difficulty writing a poem about this. The poem ended up being a poem about the difficulty of writing a poem. I guess writing a poem is something like delivering a baby.



to be in your arms
— your eyes so deeply troubled,
filled with suffering —
self-sacrifice with you is
as natural as dancing

I am very fond of this poem already and I only wrote it a few hours ago. Liz is a naturally talented dancer with real flair, and if I was going to touch on the subject of self-sacrifice, I wanted to find some way to lighten it. I forgot all my dreams last night, but wrote this anyway based on the look in her eyes shortly before we fell asleep. I climaxed to pornography twice earlier this week and physically this means I had little left to give Liz last night. Our lovemaking went OK for a good while but then I lost my erection. It’s not just that my libido was already exhausted, but the whole experience (of the pornography) had somehow lifted me away from feeling totally in tune with Liz. It was clear as we settled back to go to sleep that she was troubled. I confessed my pornography habit to her back in January but she took it so badly I have felt unable to seek support from her for the continuing problem. So everything last night remained unspoken as far as whether she guessed the reason for my impotence. I could see in her eyes that she did. But was astonished to see almost nothing of accusation in them (the accusation that had been very verbal back in January). Along with her own suffering, there was just incredible gentleness, forgiveness and love.


calling my own name —
John — this simplest of all acts
— this spontaneous
ordering of the world — this
narcissism — this ego

In my dream I was calling my own name and expecting it to have an effect, on a bunch of people down in the well of a balconied courtyard (probably based on having visited the house of Cervantes’ birth in Madrid, which was just like that). It hit me, awake, that calling one’s own name is an act of narcissism. Yesterday I attended a talk about Sikh spirituality which I enjoyed greatly, and there was talk of ego as something bad, albeit something bad with a good aspect. When Jeanette Winterson’s book Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal came out a few years ago I seized eagerly on her mention of a psychoanalyst named Neville Symington whose books had been part of her ‘redemption journey’ (my term not hers). But then I drew a blank when I tried reading him. From Wikipedia I got the idea that Symington’s ‘thing’ is narcissism. This did chime with some elements in my own journey way back in the seventies. But for me narcissism was something positive, while Symington believes it to be the cause of all our problems, apparently. For me, the narcissism of the ego is probably what enables it to hold itself together in the face of all the other disintegrating tendencies of madness. At least, that seemed to be the lesson of a particular dream of mine, in the seventies, which was very helpful at a time when my life and ego were well-nigh fully disintegrated. My dream of calling my own name last night brought all these issues back for me.


this world — so bloody
miraculous and strange — please
don’t let me perish
from the infected wound of
my own rationalism

Written in some haste, and it shows. But there’s a thoughtlessness about it which I quite like. Why is rationalism anything like an infected wound? I’ve no idea, and it has nothing to do with my last night’s dreams, except that I woke after only six hours sleep feeling quite awake and yet held by the spell of the sexual dream I had just woken from. Very, very odd — to feel so wide awake and yet so influenced by another world, another me. It was this that led me to reflect just how restrictive and poisonous mere rationalism can be. The known world is such a tiny, infinitesimal part of the whole. I suspect the form of the poem (as being a prayer) is influenced by reading yesterday a blog post by the Nick Baines who is the Bishop of Leeds and whose blog comes to my inbox on a regular basis. Every single post is always worth reading. Incidentally I disagree with the content of yesterday’s. Advertising is too poisonous a phenomenon, intrinsically, for the Church to be thinking of trying to make use of. The advertising industry has guidelines which make perfect sense, on their own terms, and I applaud the consistency of sticking to them. It’s the Church which is dallying with trying to have it both ways, using the tools of hard business for spiritual ends.


my paranoia
and my writing — both come from
a desire to play
the hero — look! pen in hand
posing for posterity

Actually the extremes of paranoia — for example, in the early nineties, where I imagined the whole of society to be engaged in civil war based on defending or attacking my ideas — is a pretty good cure for heroism. But rationally it’s possible to see that the imagination must be motivated by a desire for it all the same. In my dreams last night I was furiously engaged in constructing some kind of literary or academic masterpiece. At the same time, I knew I had to be in a classroom at a given time, for an ‘A’ level English Literature class. I kept going in the wrong direction and getting lost in a maze of school corridors and school grounds. When I tried to ask for help, I began to suspect I was being followed by secret services. I like the poem for the distance it has travelled by the time of the last line, from the original dream. Oddly enough it feels authentic even though it is all about posing.


three selves, two of whom
oppose each other always —
good, evil — black, white
— the third is skilled at simply
being with the other two

I attended a Dance Psychotherapy workshop at the 7th Hearing Voices Congress in Madrid a fortnight ago. I have been in touch with the workshop facilitator. She is a research postgraduate at the University of Durham, and made passing reference to her research when she emailed me back. I replied with a longish explanation of my feelings around the whole idea of research, saying in the end that I must have a rebellious right brain which complains when required to assimilate academic research. I dreamed last night of an attractive boy with three bright green glowing eyes. The eye on the right, as you were looking at him, had a further eye to the right of that, which appeared much more three-dimensional, deep, and ‘human’ than the other two. My poem is really clumsy, but the best I can do. The only good thing about it (for once) is the title, which I like because it is so hugely ironic. There is nothing harder in the universe than ‘being with’ the opposites. But it has to be approached as though it were easy.


…..and this is why I’m
not a pacifist — last night
I dreamed I possessed
Hitler’s passport — Hitler’s face
— Hitler’s identity — ugh!

Actually in the dream, I had the passport and the face, but not really the identity. I still felt myself to be me, and was curious how it was possible that the face I displayed to the world was Hitler’s. In real life this morning I am curious how I am going to be feeling at the end of the day’s work at 5pm today. The last two weeks on a Monday at 5pm I have been feeling pretty low. That is, churned up and upset. I work at a different job on Mondays, from the rest of the week, and there seems to be a new work relationship which, as yet, I am finding difficult to negotiate. This colleague asked me at the end of last Monday as I was leaving, was I OK? I failed to register the genuine concern behind the question until it was too late and I had already erected a barrier to further questioning by saying ‘Fine!’ or some such. I wrote an email when I got home, thanking them for their concern, and explicitly referring to the fact that it wouldn’t have been remotely apparent from my face at that moment that I had felt grateful. The colleague’s reply to my email made use of the term ‘game face’, saying it was understood and appreciated how, at work, one wears a ‘game face’. My dream certainly carries that idea to its logical conclusion, doesn’t it? Also, Hitler was a warmonger: so I think I’m justified in discovering, in my dream, a kind of child’s caricature of ‘the opposite of a pacifist’. My blog is grounded upon the assumption that dreams carry messages which, potentially, enable the conscious mind to discover its own unconscious roots. Having claimed to be ‘a pacifist’ in yesterday’s blog, last night’s dream expresses just how incomplete a self-image that would be.