gray lightfoot

dreamer…poet…bus driver.



BowieI don’t usually get celebrity appearances in my dreams but when David Bowie, a lifetime hero of mine, made a short appearance in a recent one (a bit like his appearance in Ricky Gervais’ EXTRAS…see below), I had to record the event. Since his death, I have been troubled by the fact that I hadn’t written anything that recognised his part in my life. Maybe I was trying to tell myself something?

The poem (quite different from what I usually write) is my response to David’s appearance as I was woken at a pivotal point in the dream and had to get up and write down as much of the dream as I could remember.

The poem is really about creativity as I ended up researching the psychology of religion because of it. Let’s just say thanks to David, I ended up learning something…or then again…it was me that summoned him up, wasn’t it?





The first time I met David Bowie in a dream

Was alluded to in our second meeting.

I ask him if he remembers me

But he just laughs…a familiar laugh

Perhaps the one from the intro of “Andy Warhol”.

“Of course I do,” he says, “for me it was no time at all!”

Same night…a matter of minutes, apparently.


David is close to death and still working

On a film with Jack Nicholson; Old Nick,

Who had gate-crashed the first dream

While out on the lash with his mates.

This time it was just David and me.

He says Jack is great fun to work with

And I nod assured of the truth of it.

We are talking on a sunlit back street;

One side of which is lined with garages

Knocked together in post-war pride but

Now stifled by an aura of hot dust and oil

Uninvited weeds and furtive asbestos.

Familiar… (a childhood memory perhaps?)

David, sat in some large bespoke wheelchair,

Proceeds to unzip his protective body suit

And shows me his emaciated legs;

Rubbing at the conspicuous veins

With his long delicate fingers.

“Get on,” he says and the two of us ride

Through the city; (Sheffield apparently.

Being a dream; it has to be somewhere)

To a non-existent gentrified area of tapas bars

Undercover, all potted palms and star-clustered ceiling.

Staffed by locals, flat-vowelled with genuine smiles;

We are given a table and politely watch

As the chef, played here by the proprietor

Of a fish and chip shop in West Cornwall,

Prepares bread and oil at the table

In an act of communion before us.

His hope to create a wonder to behold,

A flower blooming from out of the bread,

Ends in disappointment; for him more than us

David takes the now-abandoned bread,

Breaks it, dips it in the chrism and eats

As though he hasn’t eaten in a long time.

The fall of a sleeve reveals a stigma;

Here a vein that once coursed with creativity

Now mars the thin white arm and…

It was then that my dream was disturbed

(Some person, from Porlock perhaps ,

Arrived and tapped at my perceptive door?)

Fearing that this subliminal experience may

Be consigned to the vortex of lost dreams;

I forced myself to rise and write like

Some latter-day saint or blazing apostle

Eager to tell others the words of his god

(Or at least his interpretation of it).


Only the other day I chastised myself

For not having marked David’s passing

With some lasting homage of my own.

How could I not pay tribute to this entity

That matched the strides of my waking life;

Touching it in places, yet ever changing?

How to honour…to worship perhaps?

And then he comes to me in a dream;

Crashing out from my Sylvian fissure

Like a crack in the sky and his hand

Reaching down to me, pointing…

Pointing to the creation of an idea

That might just be of some weight.

Jung informs and parades the worth

Of a magical travelling companion

Who guides us through the labyrinth;

Illuminating our dreamscapes and

Diffusing the shadows in our minds.

Light around dark. The lumen naturae

Conceals itself beneath a bushel yet

Recognises the darkness as its own.

A solar eclipse…veiling the sunshine;

Not a light to look at but one to see by

Like a black star…just like a black star


David appeared to me despite his death

Returned like some conjured up soul

At the behest of this extra large medium

Did he come to me in a dream because

I felt the need to draw on his muse or

To believe he’s alive and with me always?

A common fancy among the religious

But a dubious epiphany for an atheist…

One that tells me more about myself –

The one true god in most people’s life

(If they are being honest with themselves).

It’s me that requires guidance so I ordain it

And he comes unto me. Alive in essence.

Showing me his stigmata to prove it

His appearance enough to still influence

My thoughts, my psyche, my spiritual choice.

As the clerk in charge of data processing,

And ergo master of my own subconscious,

Should I take the credit for the realisation

Of this last incarnation of his genius?

Not all the dead are good at enduring

And it doesn’t take a god to tell you

That immortality comes through creation;

Whether a world or just the one poem

You must let your light emanate

And send it soaring out into space

In the hope one day they’ll say to you

You’ve really made the grade.


© gray lightfoot

Hear Gray read his poem at…


David Bowie makes a cameo appearance in Ricky Gervais’s comedy of embarrassment EXTRAS in which Andy Millman (Gervais) has finally made it as a sitcom star but feels he has sold out from what he set out to be. The meeting in a posh bar is excruciating for Andy as his casual conversation is turned into a song for the whole crowd to hear…he was much nicer in my dream. (Copywrite issues prevents the original video)

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