Sunday Sesh: The Joke

Well I am in Bali now. I packed up everything I own – all of which wouldn’t fill a Kangaroos pouch – and I’m here. What’s been on my mind since coming back, you ask? Well a lot of things. But mainly the cycle of an expat’s life. Stability. Fertility. And more.

It seems to me that there is a cycle of phases an expat or long term holiday-er seems to go through. In Bali in particular it goes along the lines of:

One: Wow, this is pretty. Welcome to Bali!
Two: Wow I am pretty. I love Bali!
Three: Wow I am the prettiest person in the whole world. Everyone loves Bali – and me!
Four: Oh no, they are prettier than me. Bali sucks.
Five: I am pretty on the inside and that’s all that counts. I’m sick of this island, I’m going to a new one.
Six: Get real! Get down! Bali is an island of Balance and moderation.

Bali is so fertile and I’m not just talking about the growth rate of the vegetation. I mean in personal growth, too. Someone recently explained to me, the concept of our emotions being much like the volcanoes that dominate not just Bali but of most of Indonesia. It is so fertile and intense that emotions, or lava are constantly rumbling and even being pushed to the surface, exploding all over everything and everyone around us. But what I took from this is that when lava flows from a volcano it reshapes the land around it, creating a new foundation. Make what you like of that, I say.

Stability seems to be, ironically, set in yolk. It moves in such a rubbery way without us even realising it and it only seems stable because we tell ourselves that. But everything has energy and everything is moving. Just like that house you built on that rice paddy before giving it the time to dry out it deserves. But who am I to talk about what’s right, about what is stable and about how to call something home? I am from the west where the idea of stability breeds insecurity, social security to the point where it sets dampers down on fertility.

Something like that anyway. So, it takes guts to let you in on this little poem I’ve written here; but, it is important to me because it reminds me of what I have learned about the many phases of living in Bali. But most of all, it taught me about a new “-ility” word: humility.

The Joke

Girl walks in to a bar:

Mouldy ceiling, sticky floor

Broken mic, hormones galore

Fluro lights, smoky faces

Man in the corner dealing aces.

The darkness awakens you.

Now they know your name

You’ve played the game

You’ve built a bed in the sticky nest

The sticky mess

They’re barely dressed

Smell the sweat, cloud of smoke

Everyone’s drinking, everyone’s broke.

But in the bar see eye to eye

Nose to nose; they never close,

Husbands away

Wife doesn’t know

Bartenders wink, alco’s drink

Background music

Slow on repeat

Sharing stories

About the loss, about the gain

About that girl, don’t remember her name

Cloud of smoke

Fogs your eyes

Mask the lies

Friends aren’t shy

Lounging in the dim lit corner

Lounging round without borders

Feeling warm, feeling home

The bartender’s friends are those alone

Take comfort in the nest, the sticky chest

Forget the rest.

Sun is rising music has choked

Leave your bill and grab your coat

Hugs to friends; their shift is over

Promise to return and do it all over.

Promise to dance

Promise to sing

Promise to ask how they’ve been

Promise with earnest

Promise for life

Promise the friendship isn’t just scotch on ice.

Bartender tells you your nipple is hanging out.

Girl walks out of a bar.

This poem was recited at both the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival last year, as well as at a poetry slam in Bar Luna. Hope you got a laugh out of it!

Peace out