My Blakean Muse

Rouze up, O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court & the University, who would, if they could, for ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War.

William Blake, Preface to Milton

I have had some insight into a revision I need to make to my novel Hire Idiots. I’ve neglected to make clear the important role played by quislings.


Quislings are the reason the neoliberal effort succeeds. The hard-line zealots would get nowhere without them. They help normalise, apologise and internalise the reframing of education as assessment. Their efforts to ‘not make waves’ allow the system to drown in mediocrity. It’s always easier to ‘go with the flow’ in the short term, but the long term effects are deadly.

I’ve had more insight in recent years about my inability to conform to neurotypical conventions. Despite accusations, it’s not a pugnacious desire to ‘think outside the box’; it’s a kind of blindness. I can’t see the box.


William Blake: Apollyon Attacks Christian, Pilgrim’s Progress

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dream Poem for Sunday

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s our Sunday poetry offering by Wendy Goldberg; I think it’s got just the right touch of melancholy for an ending.

We’ve had a wonderful time sharing our writing, music and art. Keep dreaming, remember refill the well, and as the dames would surely tell you, make sure someone’s got your back while you dream. 


Perhaps it would be like no poem would ever be forgotten,
if we remembered every dream we ever had.

The day would be as surreal as the night,
populated with a memory that does not exist,
a narrative running counter to the light.
Would people say in the café, wiping sugar off the table
I am a flyer or I dream of water?
Would lovers whisper sexual non-sequitors
about images that abandon all sense of plot?

Perhaps those taboos would go silently unshared,
and if nightmares could not be broken with the day,
we might keep those secret yet.

But, we would remember all —
from an angel in the deep midnight womb
telling us the mind of God
to our last twilight vision in sickbeds
where dreams glide away like a grey sky
sliding its palms on an endless, still sea.
As we breathe at night, we breathe in day
like the way we dream
about the dead in that first year of grief.

Instead, mornings have merciful hands,
wiping a fogged-up mirror, and we see
the same story we keep telling ourselves.

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dream Music

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s tonight’s entry by singer-songwriter Julie Beman:

“Memory This” is a song about two dreams, but it also sounds dreamlike due to various production choices made during development and engineering.

The song opens with a mellotron, moody and wonky; its sound is a staple of both science fiction and prog rock and its “out-of-tune-y-ness” serves to destabilize. The piano brings in a feeling of being grounded, but only until the vocal, awash in reverb and delay, introduces a dream. After four lines the vocal splits into elaborate harmonies. As all of the parts are sung by the same person, there is a hall-of-mirrors quality to them; one person has multiplied into many. Strings are typical dream-fare. Panning moves the sound in space, denying it an opportunity to “land.” The song ends with an improvisation, an act of creation that will happen only once, much like a dream.

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dream Poem

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s today’s entry by Karen Ponzio in poetic form: find her as @kptheword on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook.

Ode to Dreaming

What do you do when you cease to dream?
Do you walk the streets endlessly,
Drink large quantities of wine, whiskey,
Or some other magic potion sweet
Search for a wild woman, make her your queen,
Feed her sugar fresh from your lips
As she lies back upon the green grass
Of your mountain bed,
Stir her guts up with promises
Of passion in pink and red
Comfort her when she breaks instead?

Is there comfort in anything if it isn’t taken
To its end?
Is death the only comfort left?
Must you pretend that life is the better choice
Knowing it is not a choice at all?
Must you fall over and over into the same hole
Hidden in plain sight
Or is the hole one of your own making
Where other worlds awaited you,
Jewels, gold, a dragon’s lair,
A sorcerer’s stone
A hiding place for an alien force
Though no escape from the torture of knowing
You were mostly alone?

Would you then try once again
To close your eyes at night
And see what transpires
Without judgement of what is
Wrong or right,
Without begging her to tell you something
Anything to keep you from hearing
The stories of your own plight
Buried deep within your troubled mind?

Would you let your queen get her beauty sleep,
or do you feel the need to wake her
And ask if she had claimed your love as well as
Your dreams?

How much do you expect her to take?
Do you even know what love is?
Do you have anything left to say?

Let what you love break if it has to
And love it anyway.

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dreaming as a Musical Practice

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Today’s entry by Lys Guillorn, singer-songwriter and all around great gal, can be found at her website. Here’s a taste:

I trust my dreams to reveal aspects of reality that I can’t access in waking life. The shuffle of influences, information, and stimuli creates new combinations in music, writing, and visual art impossible to activate with my waking mind. My dreaming self is my most constant collaborator… [read the rest here]

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dreamy Art

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s today’s entry by Stephanie Johnson, fab artist, who’s put together some images to spark your dreams.

Astonishing Dream

Alan Alikatuktu – The Astonishing Dream


John Henry Fuseli- The Nightmare


Lajos Gulacsy – the Opium Smoker’s Dream


Leszek Andrzej Kostuj – Dream Messengers


Katsushita Hokusai – Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife



Australian Aboriginal art – Seven Sisters (Dreamtime)

Ione’s Dream Festival: Rebirth of the Beast

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s today’s entry by Sturm Hawke:

Rebirth of the Beast 

It awoke with a start.

Light streaming into familiar and yet unfamiliar surroundings. It knew this place, and yet it seemed… different. Reflexively, it curled up for protection, and comfortingly felt the soft gentle caress of fabric against fur. It realised that it was under some sort of covering. As it struggled through the fog, hazy memories started to emerge… trying to escape; a desire to protect. Anger, rage, instinct. Being held back, trapped and not knowing how to get free…

Still hazy, it stretched out it’s paws, and realised the movement was awkward. Limbs weren’t moving how they should.. and then it realised what was odd. Why things seemed so different.

It was seeing from a different perspective. It was no longer looking out through the eyes of the spirit it inhabits from a place further back, it was seeing things from Her perspective.

It was no longer being held back and subdued. It was no longer overpowered by Her.

It curled back on itself again, and savoured what this meant. Had it become truly dominant over Her? It forced itself to think back to whether there’d been a struggle and realised there hadn’t. There was no victory here. Had She given up? That would be something new, certainly, but it had the sense that would also be bad. That wasn’t it, either.

This meant only one thing. She had set it free. It didn’t remember how it had been placed into submission again, but it did remember the last time it had broken free.

Then, She had been unable to cope with the Outside AND it. Before then, it had seen her struggling, and wanted to help. It knew that it could help protect her and mask her from the pain She felt. It knew the reason it had been buried so deeply within her spirit was because of the Pain. It came from the outside a long time ago, and had hurt her badly. She had hidden within herself, and the only way she could cope was to seal herself away. She hadn’t known that when she did that, of course, that she’d sealed herself away from it as well. It wasn’t affected by the Pain in the same way that she was, but without Her, it was lost, and didn’t know what to do, so it slept.

It slept for a long time, until it felt a stirring in the Pain. She was beginning to fight the poison that was stopping her from being whole!

It knew it could help her with that, if only it could get back to Her. It fought hard to let Her know that there was more to Her than She realised, but She couldn’t sense him. All She could feel was the Pain. She gave it a name: The Beast Within. She thought it was the cause of it, and it didn’t know how to tell Her that it was there to help, that She IS it, and it IS She, so it fought harder, until one day, She heard it. One day, She stopped fighting, and stopped trying to keep herself hidden from everything.

It was free!

It couldn’t make Her better, but it could start to chase some of the Pain away, and protect her from the Outside. It had been separate for so long though, that it didn’t know how to tell her. Slowly, over a long time, She came to realise it wasn’t Her enemy, and wasn’t behind the Pain, and she acknowledged it was a part of Her, even if She didn’t know how to talk with it, or deal with it, She was grateful that it was there, and she felt more able to deal with the Pain, and began to lick clean the wounds she had suffered so they could start to heal. It couldn’t stop them from hurting as She did it, but it helped Her to keep them together, and reminded Her that they were stronger when they were together.

It doesn’t know how much time had passed, but She had come to rely on its instincts. It was able to shield her from the Outside when it became hostile, and when She was alone, and had time, She had begun to wonder exactly what form it took. She knew the ‘beasts within’  take many forms. She had met some who were at peace with their beasts, and they dwelled on the outside, as well as within, but she had never really considered her own, even though she had imagined stroking it’s fur, and it being known on the Outside, to other beasts.

It wasn’t sure what to say to Her about what it was, it was something that She would need to see and discover, not for it to say.

But then, something had happened, and the Pain came back, and opened the wounds she hadn’t managed to lick clean yet so they could heal. She couldn’t stop it, and she did the only thing she knew. She retreated from everything. This must have been when it had been pushed back into submission. She didn’t mean to, but she didn’t know how not to. It could feel her own pain mixed with the Pain that was attacking her, but it could do nothing except watch, as the Pain went deeper, and She began to lose the fight. She hadn’t needed to fight for a long time, and it wondered whether she remembered how to. It watched as She began to form a leathery bubble, and knew that it couldn’t let Her finish. If it let her finish then she wouldn’t survive, and neither would it. So it did the only thing it could, and buried its claws into the bubble and ripped at it. She couldn’t trap the Pain inside herself again, even if it had to hurt her to stop that.

That was all that it really remembered before waking up this morning. And then it realised if It was seeing through Her eyes, then She must be letting it.


She awoke feeling somewhat confused. This wasn’t really anything new. She’d been pretty confused for the last few days, as she’d tried to make some sense of everything, and why she couldn’t shield herself from everything that had happened recently. She’d even considered just lying down and quietly giving up. She’d felt like the fight had left her since she’d realised that recent events had actually really hurt her, and she’d just been in denial. She knew that she needed to deal with them, if she was going to keep going forwards, but she hadn’t expected the dam to break when she had allowed herself to acknowledge the pain, and she had no idea how to deal with it.

It had beaten her down, and worn her out, and she felt like it was all her fault. She’d never learned how to do anything other than bury it, so she tried that, but it didn’t work. Something wasn’t right. She withdrew from the world as she didn’t want put people at risk if she couldn’t contain things, and realised they were happy to oblige. She also realised that suddenly, she was alone again. Her ‘other’ wasn’t with her. She’d known about it for a long time, but only recently had she begun to seriously explore this part of herself. She’d once mistaken it for all of the shit that she’d bottled inside and buried, and never quite forgiven herself for it.

She felt like she’d alienated or destroyed everyone else she cared about, so it would have made sense that it was gone too. She felt bad that she still wasn’t sure what to call it. She wasn’t even sure what form it took, aside from having brown fur and legs. She’d caught glimpses of it in dreams occasionally, but never enough to see. But it didn’t really matter anymore. Nothing really mattered anymore.

She’d failed, as far as she could see. She hadn’t managed to keep things at bay, she’d destroyed everything she’d worked so hard to build since she’d finally stepped out of hiding.

She was helpless and powerless, and she’d shown weakness. Those she cared about and trusted wouldn’t accept that. She was only good to people when she was strong, and she’d lost the respect she’d earned over that time as far as she could see.

It had taken someone to make her angry to realise that maybe all wasn’t lost. A stupid fool of an idiot. A late night phone call baiting her to massage his ego. He needed someone to tell him they wanted him. She didn’t Lonely though she was sometimes, that had ended for a reason and she was NOT going to be cajoled into stroking his ego by saying she wanted him.

Nor was this something that could be solved by a mediocre fuck.

The more she’d thought about this having happened and the disrespect, the more it began to rouse her sense of being worth more than that. Ironically she should probably thank him for letting her access the spark of strength she needed to begin to climb back up onto the battlefield.

She started to fight, and to question things, and had gone to bed that night wondering about something a friend she respected a lot had said previously when she had finally been able to admit how lost she actually felt,: “People are drawn to strength” Her last thought before falling asleep was whether or not displaying such weakness had meant that she had truly destroyed the bonds she’d fought for and worked so hard to form, or would those she numbered as her good friends see that there was more, and something worth fighting for, even if she couldn’t right now? And if that was the case, that all was lost, could she find the strength to start again, especially knowing the outcome could be the same?

So when she awoke that morning feeling confused, she’d assumed her brain had tried to answer the question while she’d slept…and entered the Dreaming but as the moments started to pass, she realised that wasn’t it, and she felt rather depersonalised. She panicked, some, and curled up, instinctively, to protect herself.She’d been there before and didn’t want that again, but as she did so, she realised that she didn’t really feel depersonalised. She felt a little bit *more* connected to herself. Then she sensed she wasn’t as alone as she’d previously felt, and began to wonder whether her brain had managed to find a way to bring the other back.

She sensed the animalistic instincts rippling as an undercurrent, and smiled, as in her mind’s eye, she looked down and saw the brown fur covering her once more. She flexed a little, and realised that somehow the connection between the two had grown stronger.

She curled up, feeling the comfort of knowing that she felt a little more whole, and a little more able to begin to try to get back to where she was before things went wrong, as well, as knowing she had her other part looking out as well, and she slept.


It could feel her sleeping, or more accurately, it could feel her dreaming. In a lot of ways, She was like a young pup, especially when She slept. Her guard only ever truly came down then, and it was the only time that it was able to fully feel what She was feeling. This is how it knew She was… haunted.. by the Pain, but it was in Her dreams that She was able to begin to lick the wounds that hurt the most. This was the time it was able to protect her best. When She dreamed, sometimes it could join in with Her dreams and try to chase the bad things away.

When She slept without dreams, it was free to explore.

It felt a dream pass, and She let out a sigh, and uncurled slightly. It began to realise that it was no longer hindered when exploring Her thoughts, and realised that the barriers that were once there, were no longer there. Could it be that She was finally beginning to embrace her ‘beast’?