Sunday, September 23, 2012

Poems about Bottoms.

They say that inspiration can be found in the stangest places.   Can I clarify that inspiration is not the sort of thing you can find by looking. It’s an uncontrollable force, that springs upon you from a dark corner, or a light corner.  Or a street corner.

That’s where I was the other day, this morning now I come to think of it. Minding my own business, alone with my own thoughts on a crowded street, fighting my way upstream a seemingly endless flow of commuter traffic when it hit me.  Not literally, or that would take this story in a whole different direction.  

By the time I arrived at work I had composed a poem about bottoms and it was bursting from me so that I had to rush my morning greetings, fumble for my keys, grab a piece of scrap paper and scrawl it down as fast as my fingers would allow, before words escaped me, or the similes grew legs and ran away.

When the light goes green
I look down,
and there in front of me
are two large white tuna fish
slapping back and forward inside
blue fishnet stockiings

Above them sits a corduroy covered bottom
Soft and round like a great
plump easy chair.
Overstuffed and bulging at the seams
Taut haberdashery, faded wear spots and
cotton fluff peeping out the sides.

Over there, an anorexic stool
in pinstripe trousers.
Tall, spindly,
more of a decorative piece than
a weight bearing device.

Behind him there’s a bucket seat.
thin grey metal rods topped
by a generous scoop
Voluptuous curves gently
boldy swiveling

That man is a chair in a governement bureau
Outside the Principal’s Office.
Hard, firm, and square.
Unforgiving, Unmoving.

There’s a reason it’s called ‘your seat’.

So then, of course, I came to the title and I was going to call it ‘if you don’t mind, I’m going to talk about bottoms’, but you see I wasn’t quite sure whether that was right- was I talking about bottoms?  Or bums?  or sweet derrieres?  There’s butt to throw into the equation too, and of course let’s not leave posterior behind!  Before i knew it – there it was.  Another blinkin’ poem.

It’s time to get to the bottom of this.

Butts  belong to men. 
Stocky, pudgy, hairy men. 
Who wear baggy trackpants with poor elastic waists. 
Half the time, you can see half the butt.  This is not nice. 
These men lean over to tie their shoes in the most annoyingplaces. 

Bums are what kids have.
Little,and cute, and object of jokes. 
Just say the name ‘bum’ and you want to giggle. 
It’s supposed to be less embarrassing to say than bottom.
 It also comes in handy as an insult.
You’re a pooey poo bum!

Bottoms are whatmothers’ have. 
Because they’re trying to educate their children to use proper anatomical terms.  and
not be ashamed.
 No, don’t call it a willy.
 Incidentally, bottoms also belong to babies. 
As smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Rears belong to farmers who have spent too much time with livestock
They are just so familiar with slapping the darn things,
they no longer give them the respect they deserve. 
In such places you my also hear use of the words hindparts, hind, or ‘hiney’.

Nethers are the possession of poets, people who love Thesauruses,
and those who grew up in isolated locations during the 19th century.
 Imagine if these people went to the Netherlands.
Tee hee hee.

Backsides are what grandmothers have. 
They don’t have to worry about anatomical correctness because it’s not their child.  
They’re polite and comfortable with euphemisms. 
Passing wind,passing away, and ‘little ladies room’.
 Backside slots in quite nicely.

Derriere’s are owned by naughtly children.  Especially in France. 
Now you just sit your derriere down in that corner and think about what you’ve done. 
Excuse my French.

Gluteals sit with the athletes. 
They are really nice to stretch. 
You have to contort yourself into all sorts of crazy positions, but it makes you look really hard out.  The gluteals are made up of three main muscles; Maximus, medius and minimus. 
Sometimes I think I have an over-abundance of maximus.

Hallensteins: It's good to be a girl

When I was growing up in small-town Levin, clothes shopping meant popping down to the Warehouse.  Or hitting up cardholders night at Farmers. This was after DEKA closed down.  Remember DEKA?  Those were the days, my friend.  

There was actually this one shop called ‘Clarks’ where you could get surf/skate wear with proper recognisable designer labels, but the only thing I ever bought there was my school uniform.  It wasn’t the sort of place you frequented unless both your parents were sitting on a 6 digit salary.

We used to do the occasional shopping trip into the big city –the smoky metropolis of Palmerston North.  Ohmigosh, somany traffic lights, and people EVERYWHERE,and shops shops shops, and parking that required more than 10 cents per hour and WOW.  One day, jsut before my 3rd form mufti day, Mum and I set off on one such trip.

Mufti days at high school are a big thing.  It’s one of the only times in the year where you actually get to express your in-di-vid-u-a-li-ty.  Everyone would turn up in their flashest gears, their blingest bling, their coolest kicks.  It was a day to be noticed, to say “Hey, look at me.  I know where to shop.  I am cool”

I admit I was a bit of a tomboy and I wanted a hoodie – a red hoodie.  And some denim shorts.  SO we found this place on the square called Hallensteins.  It seemed nice, the salesman was friendly ( he may have been thinking ‘what the heck’,  but he held his vibes very tightly and I never picked them up).  I bought a nice baggy hoodie, my shorts, and even one of those orange belts which tightened with a silver buckle and are often worn by boys with their shorts around their knees.  This is experience speaking now.  At the time, i had absolutely no idea – I was probably overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of a city store.  All I knew was that I was shopping at a cool shop, Iwas buying cool clothes, and I was proud.

I clearly remember talking to two of the ‘popular girls’ in my form class.  We were talking about what we were wearing for mufti day and I just happened to mention that Mum and I had been shopping at Hallensteins for the big day.  Just like, whatever.  No big deally really, just casually.  They didn’t say anything, and it wasn’t till much later that I looked back on this moment with a flood of realization and a tinge of embarassment.

I enjoyed my moment in the sun.  Mufti day arrived in all it’s glory and I proudly paraded out in my Hallensteins gears. I felt good. and although this memory comes with a bit of cringe factor, it mainly comes with a laugh and a 'good times' factor.  It's good to be a girl. 

Did you call me?

Standing in the middle of a crowd before a concert, or in a crowded food-court dead certain that someone is shouting your name.  Turning to your friend and nudging them – “oi can you hear someone calling me?”

A number, hastily scribbled on the side of a Starbucks cup. Inky black pen, a giggle and a soy latte for the hot guy in the Armani suit.  Call me.

A marine – father of two, opens his orders.  He leaves for the Middle East in a month. He’s been called up.

The kuia stands proudly on the marae atea.  Moko quivering, green leaves shaking at her side.  Her voice rises and falls, breaks and crescendos.  Keening and wailing, she extends the spiritual rope, hauling the waka of manuhiri up the sandy shore. The karanga.  A call.

Ladies smooth the wrinkles from their crinoline dresses, pinch their cheeks to highlight their blooming youth and lift their embroidery as the butler announces the heir of the neighboring estate.  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that this young gentleman has come to call. 

Attention passengers on flight 53679 to Dunedin.  Please make your way immediately to board at Gate 17. This is your final call.

Hi Mum, just ringing to let you know we’ve had a healthy baby boy.  7 pound five.  We’ve called him Liam.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Have you found your calling?

Does anyone else remember Spelling Sentences?  It was somewhat of a ritual when I was ten.  Every week you would get your list of spelling words.  On Monday night you would have to write them out with their definitions.  On Tuesday night you would have to write a sentence with the word in context, and on Friday morning – you would be tested. 10/10 was the ticket to a successful day, and your name in the lucky star draw.  Any of you kids out there who have ‘calling’ on your list can help yourself to a sentence or two from the list above.  God knows I plagiarized a few of them myself (Jane Austen, and a big gruff fisherman by the name of Peter).

Does anyone else remember their final year of high school?  Every single adult you met – church, family gatherings, walking down the street, your neighbor, your mum’s friend – everyone wanted to know what you were going to do with your life.  It almost drove me crazy!   Was I supposed to know this?  Because, well (please don’t spread this around) but, I didn’t.  

The Calling.  It is so often associated with your job. At least, here in the West it is.  finding my calling = deciding on my career?   OR is it perhaps a task?  A mission of sorts that you were put here on this earth to do – what if you don’t?  What if you miss it?  What if someone else’s mission depends on you fulfilling yours?  Or vice versa – and then if one of you fails, the other one is doomed? 

Some years ago I asked myself the age old question– what if I had decided to become a physiotherapist?  Would I still have been on the right path?  If that’s possibly right, does that mean I’m on the wrong path now?  Could God have used either path to bring about good things in my life?  Is one better than the other, and if so, once you’ve chosen one way, is it possible to get back to the better way?  Ive heard people say that ‘God doesn’t care what you put on your toast in the morning’.  I totally get where they’re coming from.  But at the same time where does that logic lead you?  I mean, if he doesn’t care about your breakfast spread, does he care about what sweater you choose?  If he doesn’t care about that, does he care what subjects you choose at school?  If he doesn’t care about that, does he care about what career you choose?  If he doesn’t care about that, does he care who you marry?  Where you live?  

Is your brain tired just following this wild string of thoughts?

The conclusion I have come to is that most of these questions are irrelevant.  Because I look at my life through the limiting perspective of time.  this happened and then this.  That came about because of this.  and then this led to that.  god doesn’t see it like that.  Standing outside of the bounds of time and space, he sees my life beginning to end,choices and decisions.  He knows what choices I’ll make and he has worked it into his Master plan before one of them has even happened.  So, he sees and knows his ‘Call’ on my life even as I am just discovering it....Yeah I don’t really get it either.  I started to think I did, and then it all exploded into mind-blowing craziness. It’s like when you have a word just on the tip of your tongue and you almost get it, and then it disappears.  I have an understanding on the tip of my brain.

The following are not from any sort of dictionary, so I wouldn’t use it for your Monday night homework ( I doubt that any 10 year olds have made it this far through my post anyway, sorry guys!), but these are a few thoughts about the use of the word calling.

1. Calling in the sense of a name.  Something you are endowed with, something inherent.
      Actually this happened quite a lot in the Bible (like when God was creating and he called the darkness night and the light day, or when people called a place after a significant event that happened there. God has spoken names over each one of us-  chosen, loved, known, created...To me this speaks of the value of every single human being.  Each one designed to reflect a different part and perspective of the beautiful multifaceted character of God.  Every one of us is called – inherently endowed with value simply because we are.

2.      Calling in the sense of a direct clear summons.  An order.  Accompanied by authority to carry it out.
I think this is the possible one of the more common ideas of calling (especially in church circles).  The question is:  Sure, God did this for Moses, or Paul, but does he do this for every single one of us?  You know what – when I look at the world around me, the way that a cell is set up, the complexities of DNA and reproduction, at the wonders of astronomy, and the incredible detail that cloaks something as simple as a centipede, I can’t believe that God would take anything for granted in our lives.  I cannot believe that anything would be too small a detail for him to take notice of (I’m pretty sure he’s a peanut butter man, myself). So yes.  yes  God does.  I’m not promising that God will use a burning bush or a blinding light  It might be something as simple as a deep unshakeable desire, or a timely piece of advice from a friend.  One thing is for sure – what God has planned for you will not be missed.  Paul was busy murdering Christians and Moses was an exiled outcast from the royal family when God got their attention, they didn’t even WANT to fulfill his call on their life and yet they really had no choice!

3.      Calling in the sense of being set apart.  Chosen, standing out from the crowd.
The Bible talks about being called to be free (Ephesians 5.13), called to peace (Colossians 3.15), called to inherit a blessing (1 Peter3.9).  Our ‘calling’ is found living differently –radically –and yet at the same time, in a way that makes so much sense.  This is how we were made to live.

I don’t like the idea of calling as an endpoint.  A conclusion that you should aim to find, to reach, to fulfill.  If you asked me today whether I’ve discovered my calling I would have to say “ No, but I am discovering it”. I’m discovering it by taking one step at a time - if I continue to take the small steps that I know I need to take now, I will be ready when ‘big moments’ arrive.  My direction might change – because I’m not pursuing a moment, or a career or a task of some sort, I’m pursuing God who seems to take us on funny little tiki tours that don’t make a lot of sense until we look back on them in hindsight.

I have a feeling that this blog post is going to be like one of those late night essays that sounds really awesome when you're reading over it and makes absolutely no sense when you try to read it again in the morning.  

Better go now, sleep is calling.