WestWords Perfect Pair

I’m a huge fan of American poet Sharon Olds.  It’s her honesty, humour and humility I find so appealing.  I sometimes can’t get through one of her poems without surrendering to sadness or joy.  Her poetry is known for its free verse style, characteristic of Walt Whitman, and she is the author of one of contemporary poetry‘s best-selling volumes The Dead And The Living, at more than 50,000 copies. Childhood, family life, femininity, eroticism and politics are just some of the topics vividly described in her collections which include Satan Says, The Gold Cell, One Secret Thing and Stag’s Leap, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. An unforgiving self examination here in:Campagnola---backs-in-art-009

© Giulio Campagnola

SELF PORTRAIT, REAR VIEW
By Sharon Olds

At first I almost do not believe it, in the hotel
triple mirror, that that is my body, in
back, below the waist, and above
the legs – the thing that doesn’t stop moving
when I stop moving.
And it doesn’t even look like just one thing
Or even one big, double thing
– even the word saddlebags has a
Smooth, calfskin feel to it,
Compared to this compendium
of net string bags shaking their booty of
cellulite fruits and nuts. Some lumps
look like bon bons translated intact
from chocolate box to buttocks, the curl on top
Showing, slightly, through my skin. Once I see what I can
do with this, I do it, high-stepping
to make the rapids of my bottom rush
in ripples like a world wonder. Slowly,
I believe what I am seeing, a 54-year-old
rear end, once a tight end,
High and mighty, almost a chicken butt, now
Exhausted, as if tragic. But this is not
an invasion, my cul-de-sac is not being
used to hatch alien cells, ball peens,
gyroscopes, sacks of marbles. It’s my hoard
of treasure, my good luck, not to be
dead, yet, though when I toss the
main of my ass again and see,
in a clutch of eggs, each egg,
on its own as if shell-less, shudder, I wonder
if anyone has ever died
looking in a mirror, of horror. I think I will
not even catch a cold from it,
I will go to school to it, to Butt
Boot Camp, to the video store, where I saw
in the window, my hero, my workout jelly
role model, my apotheosis: Killer Buns.


Music from spoof English heavy metal band Spinal Tap there, Big Bottom is from the soundtrack to the 1984 film satire This Is Spinal Tap, documenting the exploits of heavy metal rock bands of the time.

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