Posts Tagged ‘pornography’


a bottle of wine
on my kitchen table — waits
for the right moment
— Dionysus immanent —
without whom life would be shit

These poems get more and more difficult to write each morning. Mostly I feel I’m struggling successfully in the end, and producing something of value. None of my dreams last night amounted to much individually, but together they led me into some interesting areas of thought. I dreamed of Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s St Martin’s Lane, where in the seventies I saw the musical Godspell — which I thought of yesterday as I was passing the Apollo Victoria where Wicked is showing — both musicals were written by the same man, Stephen Schwartz. In my dream, the front doors of Wyndham’s were blocked up permanently, but I understood there was access at the back, where I found myself in a large cafe area, full of light, and people from the TV industry. I was working with them, but mostly intent on trying to access pornography online without anyone noticing. I finished reading The Bacchae of Euripides yesterday, in the CK Williams translation, with an introduction by Martha Nussbaum. I enjoyed the introduction almost as much as the text itself. There are almost too many connections to explore here, between dream and waking life. There really is a bottle of wine on my kitchen table. My sister did me a big favour yesterday and I promised her the bottle in return. I think that probably Wyndham’s theatre in the dream, stands for Westminster Cathedral in reality, where I attended Mass yesterday morning. Greek theatre was religious in intent. Catholic liturgy is mostly theatre.


personal history

my inner child’s heart
will preserve its innocence —
even should the world’s
evil speak using my voice
— act employing my own hands

We are all storytellers, and the inner child reveals itself by the stories it loves. It loves its own story of course, above all, and the story of its own innocence which it rehearses, in one form or another, constantly. These reflections were provoked by noticing how scared I was, this morning, by the memory of my last night’s dreams and by my latest pornography lapse (yesterday evening). In part, the dream itself contained this fear. I was handed some cake by a woman whose hands were diseased, and I was scared of contagion. But funnily enough, another dream last night involved my rescuing an MI5 agent who was drowning in a river — I didn’t feel as though the courage was mine, it seemed to come from somewhere else. So, unlike in the poem, it was good rather than evil which was acting through me.


describe a woman
as prickly or waspish —
and what have you said?
— the white-hot inner fury
only ever hinted at

Some things are much too close for us to be able to view them properly. Right under our noses every living second, issues around gender politics still somehow manage to escape detection or escape notice or escape acknowledgement. We all collude in this. My poem is quite deliberate in using the word patronising, with its roots in the Latin for father — pater — set against the women’s issues I’m pondering in the body of the poem. I dreamed last night of a much-loved colleague, who is passionate about social justice and women’s issues, and in the dream she was being scathing about someone’s use of the word ‘prickly’ — waxing rhetorical about some terrible irresponsibility or carelessness in high places which had had catastrophic results. How could such a mild word as ‘prickly’ describe this? Awake, I thought of the phrase wicked issue or wicked problem, which I came across on Wikipedia for the first time some months ago, and heard on the radio yesterday. We also talk of a prickly issue or a prickly problem. Not that that would normally connote the same thing as wicked problem. But some sufferings are so full of enormity and unthinkability, in a bad way, that we are reduced to understatement. I get that feeling sometimes when women are referred to as prickly or waspish. There also seems to be something of the same thing going on when academics invent a term like wicked problem. It seems likely my dreams are pushing in this direction in response to my failure to resolve the problem of pornography in my life. It’s my ‘wicked problem’ at a personal level.

mythical beast

the greatheartedness
God Himself symbolises
remains a distant
vision — I cannot make it
happen in the here and now

In my dream, I felt inspired to take a stand on a high place, seizing a pestle (or is it a mortar? anyhow the phallic component of the mortar and pestle) from out of my pocket, and brandishing it as a makeshift self-defence against several different wild animals all at once. I was really just hoping for the best, with no idea what I was doing or why or how. Down below me in the sea there was a whale, and it was seeing the whale which had somehow given me the idea of taking a stand. My poem is really a kind of meditation on the symbol of the whale. In the dream, the battle with the animals ended when an ordinary domestic cat got through my defences and clung to my breast — turning out to be a friend rather than an enemy. Awake, I am reminded of a scene in The Horse and His Boy by C.S.Lewis, where Aslan comes to a frightened young boy in a graveyard in the middle of the night, in the form of a domestic cat cuddling up to him. Our own domestic cats were very important to me as I was growing up and this was one of my favourite passages in the Narnia books. Maybe the reason the poem reflects so sadly on the difference between the me I would like to be and the me I am, is because I continue to struggle so unsuccessfully with the pornography habit. I should really call this blog perhaps: Pornography and Poetry!

levels of transgression

here’s to the battle
between pornography and
poetry! — it’s real
sibling rivalry — sisters
slugging it out to the death

Both activities involve my laptop. Both are vehicles for experience of that realm of being for which there is no other word than archetypal — not that it’s a satisfactory word. Both can be related, at least within my own habitual channels of thought, to the idea goddess. Both demand a willingness to transgress some kind of boundary or prohibition. I’m not sure what exact prohibition as such is being transgressed in the case of poetry — but the boundary it transgresses, is arguably that between sanity and madness. Poetry tips the balance of consciousness consistently just slightly over into the direction of madness. As do all art forms in fact. And this is a good thing and wonderful. Pornography expresses in a different way, the underlying insanity of society itself. I felt concerned halfway through writing this poem, that I was promulgating some vision of pornography as being equally dignified and valuable as poetry — when in fact the battle between them is more like a battle between the valuable and the valueless. So that was how I decided the battle must be ‘to the death’. At the same time, the idea of them as sisters, speaks for itself.

I dreamed I was singing the final few bars of the John Lennon song Nowhere Man. The sheer sadness of it was heartbreaking, and connected for me upon waking with my having dallied yet once more with online pornography yesterday evening. It’s a sad thing.


the goodness of God
is non-negotiable —
this is a problem

Church Christianity tends to have a moral rigidity about it — born from the same place, probably, (whatever place that may be) which gives birth to the strange phenomenon of tabloid journalism. Something to do with herd instinct. The self-righteousness of the crowd. And yet, when the idea of a church trip to Rome crops up in my dreams, as it did last night, it presents as an immensely attractive symbol. Something within me yearns to belong to the Church. It’s as unaccountable and mysterious as the yearning in my loins which leads to viewing pornography. The pornographic had a place in last night’s dream. I was wearing a dressing gown, open at the front, and nothing underneath — wondering vaguely what the Catholic priest thought of my display of genitals. In the final analysis, I am very alone indeed with the Gnosticism I’ve picked up from Jung. Plenty of intellectual-types — but few others — know or care about gnostic dualism and the part it plays in Jung. It was a very serious problem for Jung, how to integrate evil into the godhead, and also — at a less abstract level — how to integrate the evil in oneself, into one’s wholeness. I can hardly think of any other issue which grips me in such a passionate way, except maybe climate change. Both issues seem absurdly ‘niche’ and negligible, in mainstream society. We flourish collectively on an inane optimism. I do not understand this. I feel very alone.


the stupidest part
of being me is when I
realise just how
stupid I am — self-knowledge
— it’s the best thing in the world

This strange little poem came (somehow) out of a dream in which (yet again) I was struggling with the temptation to view online pornography. The main thing in my mind as I wrote it was the relief at discovering myself not tempted in the slightest upon waking. I wanted to write something about how the mind alternates between self-deception and self-revelation, endlessly by turns. I certainly feel deceived by my own mind, and a little confused, in the sudden transition from a threatening dream situation to a much more comfortingly secure waking consciousness. A couple of times in the past I have woken from similar dreams still feeling tempted in reality. What controls these things? Certainly not ‘me’. Hence I am left in the end just feeling stupid. For what it’s worth, I have learned to embrace that feeling.