Crispy Bacon – The Thought That Prompted an Hour-long Conversation

Recently, I worked with a Muslim child to develop a prescription poem in a creative writing workshop. This was one of the things I did in as a part of my social work placement. Prescription poetry similar to what a medical doctor does, prescribes something (medicine usually) to make a person feel better. The kids were tasked with writing lists of things that made them feel good, and you bet there was a lot of fortnite on their lists.

An example list of some eye-catching feel-good every day joys included the sensations linked with smell, spending time with someone they loved and my favorite, sleeping.

On this example list of the class’ feel-goods, was the listing of ‘Crispy Bacon’.

The Muslim child instantly reacted when he saw that listed, citing that he thinks it is disgusting and he’s not supposed to like that. This interaction made me think about whether or not such a workshop, which was presented to a pretty multicultural group of kids, should have had named Crispy Bacon. I sympathised with the kid by saying “Yeah, I can see how you wouldn’t like that. Don’t worry, this isn’t personally for you but rather something anther student wrote.”

This brought up a few interesting ideas, on one hand I thought this listing could be omitted so that cultural safety for the kid could be ensured in case there was offence. On the other hand however, the child will undoubtedly be exposed to this idea in multiple avenues in their life and will need to learn that other people life differently from their own culture. This also touches on issues of censorship within practice.

I came to the conclusion in a school that had a higher percentage of Muslim students, omitting Bacon would probably make a more relatable list. However, omitting it from a group of student’s might make assumptions on their cultural practices. While I myself am not Muslim, I know some aspects about Islamic beliefs and cultural practices. With that said, I am no expert and would always treat whoever I am working with in a social work/human services space as the expert, and I simply the facilitator of their knowledge.

This goes with a workshop like this, which specifically focuses on what the children most enjoy in their lives. This inherently is subjective and even though not eating bacon is a collective cultural practice, it still occurs on that individual level that I should not ever assume. But if they didn’t take part, knowing that others do is a powerful tool to help show diversity of cultural practices in small, every day ways. Since my supervision session and after the workshop in particular, I think it ultimately helped showed a different way of living life, although briefly.

Yes, that supervision session was an hour-long. As a social worker, I feel like being able to unpack micro-interactions like that are a powerful tool in critical reflection. Focusing on a whole interview in reflection is just too much, but focusing on one particularly moment in a client interview helps inform the rest of the interactions and shows how little mirco-skills inform client dynamics. This is something I wish to further explore, how to really think critically for potential other social workers reading.

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Deity – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #8

Today we breakdown ‘Deity’, the 8th poem of the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection. ‘Deity’ ponders not ‘who made the universe’ but rather, ‘who made me’. This is poem is in the Autumn that is the construction of my beliefs, values and my spiritual identity.

You can find Deity here before moving on!

Before I delve further into what I am rambling about, I have recently signed up for a fundraiser where I will will be writing 6 poems over a writing filled weekend to help get young people who are disadvantaged get into creative writing workshops! Donations of $15 will get you a PDF version of the 6 poems as a thank you!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

But Onto Deity!

In my Author’s Comments section, I talk about how these religions have moulded and constructed my values. However, in here, to continue with the theme of different interpretations of the same poem (as mentioned in ‘There, We’re Whispers’), I am actually using the deities named as representations of events and figures in my life.

“Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.”

The allusion I reference, to the compliment of the face and the reference to Cronulla is my boyfriend. Where all the trains meet is allusion to Central/City stations where me and my boyfriend have tended to meet up at. I liken it to God (shout out to Ariana Grande who does something similar with ‘God is a woman’) as God has been a consistent influence in my life.

“I found Buddha once in the closet of my mind.”

This is a reference to developing calmness to override instinct in my daily interaction. I have become more inclined and reflective in daily interactions since, and many of the typical values expected of Buddhism I have grown to appreciate.

“My teeth were hot and I was sick of faded rainbows.”

The comment about Vishnu and Hinduism, is a comment on polytheism which is an allusion to me emerging on the gay scene and experiencing the community. The faded rainbows imagery metaphorically represents the transition of acceptance from straight to queer.

“In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.”

In honesty, I have never considered adopting any other spiritual belief apart from my current view point, which is kind of agnostic. I have critiqued how western society (‘White’) has been so exclusionary towards Islam. The broken encore is a reference to how I will try to remain an ally for religious freedom, but how western society has probably heard my arguments before and engaged in this debate numerous times.

Are there any lines that piqued your interest? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below!

Other poems of the collection:

The Penelope Complex
There, We’re Whispers
Leviticus

Deity (Poem)

Website Version with Author’s Comments Here

By Christos Floratos

 

I happened upon God once where the trains all meet.

Some untethered opera,

Some backwater near Cronulla.

Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.

 

I found Buddha once in the closest of my mind.

A certain harmony followed my shut eyes

Where charity chanced my unsullied temper.

A gleam into a thought that was most aqua, and of eucalypti.

 

I thought I saw Vishnu by the pond on my street, once.

Their gaze, of all of them, critiqued my bones.

My teeth were hot, and I was sick of faded rainbows.

But they all accepted… eventually. Smiled… forever.

 

I once pondered Allah,

In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.

Five pillars untouched yet unfound.

I had only a broken encore to share, nothing they hadn’t heard.

 

Once, I was one with the dream time.

A flurry red and black dots that

linked me from Dharug, Eora and Ku-ring-gai.

Some stories weren’t mine to keep, but mine to know.

 

I concluded, upon a time.

Sitting on dragonfly-ridden fields,

That a singularity was never enough to consider.

How these worlds birthed a supernova,

 

A conflux now limitless, enshrined in shine.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019