Friday, October 24, 2008

Growing Up Woodland (unfinished, perhaps), and another stanza

Growing Up Woodland

We climbed the boulders and grabbed fistfulls of pine needles
Cracked twigs with every step
Emily Callahan said she liked Old Blue Eyes
I told her I liked Sesame Street
at the edge of the woods right before the road
there’s a flower i’d never seen before
Emily says stop its illegal to touch it
it’s a lady’s slipper and why didn’t I know that

this was the greatest thing i’d ever seen
bright yellow and so shiny in the sun
it wasn’t so much a flower as
a drawstring pouch like the one dad keeps his fortune cards in
it stooped like an old lady
under the weight of what might be fairy dust
i wouldn’t touch it but i knew
it would give a wish to those who dared

Life is so beautiful, wonderful, so amazing and sweet. Sorry to post two poems in a row without audio, but I promise you that I could never let such behavior become habitual.

Oh, as long as I'm posting maybe-unfinished-but-possibly-not poetry, I should include-- what shall I call this poem?-- perhaps "Stephen", but then, there will be so many candidates for this title as I write more and more under the spell of love for my one and only.

I only regret the lack of rooftops
from which I can shout of my love
and that underwater, my mouth filled with rocks
in the trick of the old orators
my exaltation of a life in your arms
would be muted, softened by the tides

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Essay on Beauty

I always disapproved of bringing computers to class. This is Marlboro, not a thousand-kid university where you can play flash games during discussions and be met with indifference from your fellows.

However, having enrolled in a Digital Multimedia course this semester, I've had to refine my viewpoint on bringing a computer to class. Because, you know, I'm taking a computer class.

So now, when things in class get boring or begin to fly over my anachronistic head, I turn away from the lecture on computers and begin to spend independent time with my computer. And so this blog entry was born.

An Essay On Beauty

short hairs that form a crescent around the knee and curve towards the ankle like ocean waves, just barely overlapping each other, the color of earth.

dirt under the short fingernails of a gardener whose hands are thickly calloused in all the places that brush against hoe and shovel.

red lipstick that has been dabbed off to near transparency by the cloth of a thousand kisses from a lover

curls like ribbons, curls like boat wakes, curls like rosebuds

breasts the color of unpolluted coffee that slope like mountain peaks

breasts as heavy and pale as fog above the mountains that swing in dance and rise with breath after exertion

long male fingers with knuckles that stick out like adam’s apples, resting on the stomach of a woman with child

eyes like night skies, with the glimmer of a single star that shifts in a sped-up universe of turns of the chin

plastic pink nails with blue glitter, falling off the fingers of a little girl

uncompromised nature, where no changes are needed or welcomed, and the body born with is the body lived with and loved

fire hair, smoke hair, hair as black as embers and white as heat

tightly curled hair that runs down the vulva and reaches, like thickly packed branches, down upper thighs

eyelashes that are wishes and toes and fingers used for counting in grade school

the moon that holds the weight of a million sentiments

the woman that holds the weight of a million ambitions

and the god that holds the weight of expectations

and the arms that hold an infant who is sleeping

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Christian, you need not wait much longer for a second poem.

Even Satan from his grip did let slip a ribbon of promise
yelled from hills outside of schoolhouses, "let enough be enough!"
dusty light that slid in and out of the midwife's perception
as eyelids opened and closed in morning fatigue
before the chime of her alarm gave way to the ringing of station bells

promise, promise. ever heavy.
so many blankets in the armload

and to water do bovine hooves arrive,
every trembling, ever driven, ever promised relief of circumstance

children in the margins

I have been very busy today. The sociology prof performed Marx in Soho after my two classes this morning, and now I find myself rushed to get to town and run errands. The day has been kind to me, though, other than the student bank closing after half an hour.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Next Citizen cover

I'm editor-in-chief of the school magazine, entitled The Marlboro Citizen. I may link to scans of it sometime, if I ever find the time to contact IT about putting up a Citizen website. My staff and I are currently working on a November issue. A 4:30 AM collaboration with a school scanner yielded the beginnings of next month's cover, pictured above.

The bottom of my palm originally read "Oct. 2008" (oh, my ambitions!), but Stephen edited it for me. I think the finishing touch will be a simple whitening out of everything behind my arm and hand. I could have Steve make everything transparent instead of white and put a layer behind it of a school building, but that would be too busy. I like keeping our covers striking and simple. Many people expressed thorough satisfaction with last month's cover-- a white-letters-on-black affair with a center-middle drawing of mine of an easily recognized dorm building. Of course, many people expressed thorough satisfaction with the whole damn thing.

I was nervous about running the Citizen when I first started out, but with the October issue being such a success I stopped worrying about things like not getting enough submissions. Well, apparently I just got lucky with the first one, because I've only received five submissions so far, and that's after extending the deadline for both staff and guest contributors.

Five submissions plus the two I'm expecting to receive is plenty for one issue, but there isn't a lot of diversity among the submissions, and they're mostly creative writing as opposed to articles. Creative writing is more than welcome, but really well-thought-out hard news and editorials is what I want to focus on this year.

Plus, my photo editor is in the hospital, and while the photo prof emailed all of his students, I haven't gotten a single photo submission. Looks like I'll be writing two articles, doing layout, getting people paid, making sure I get submissions, holding staff meetings, planning deadlines, going to the printer's AND taking my own photos. Luckily, I don't let myself get stressed-- allowing myself to get nervous about responsibilities won't help anything. Everyone should try controlling their negative emotions instead of letting things get to them. It isn't easy, but it's possible.

I think that maintaining a quaint little Citizen website might be a nice idea. I received an article from a staff member yesterday on an obscure genre of music, and I'd really like to direct people to a place online where they can hear examples of the music and find links to related websites. I should probably hold off on that idea for now though, considering how much extra work needs to be done for the November issue.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Art is Everywhere is oriented towards global awareness of the visual world. The linked post reminds me of a one-shot class I sat in on recently with my parents on Family Day. It was taught by William Edelglass, the new philosophy prof that seems to be adored by every student who has come into contact with him. Personally my appreciation of William is centered around the conversations we've had, on Buddhism and Oscar Wilde (not at the same time), as my only philosophy course this semester is the 6-credit monster of a workload that is RLP. Attending the class gave me evidence to his coolness in relation to his teaching methods.

My experience with the class, titled "Philosophy of Art", was very interesting. At the beginning of the session, William pointed out several different objects he had on display. There was a Buddhist silk painting that pictured deities which he described in detail, a Tibetan box he used to hold chalk, part of a tree stump that had been polished, a stick that a beaver had chewed on, a painting done by his friend, half of a used tissue that he had taken from the men's room earlier that morning, and my favorite, the other half of that tissue inside of a picture frame. He asked us which ones were art. I can see now why it is that he is so beloved amongst philosophy students!

The most amazing part of the class was that the group work wasn't treachurous. I usually abhor group work assigned during class, with group work outside of class being more bearable but not often appreciated. I prefer individual efforts mixed with optional but frequent discussions on the course material. I don't know if I should give William credit for the phenomena of beneficial group work, but the questions that he asked of us probably helped. I was paired with a wonderful older woman named Willow and Nathaniel Doubleday's lively mom, both of whom had wonderful insight on the concept of art. Actually, I wasn't paired with them per se, we were merely instructed not to pair up with family members. The questions we were asked to discuss after picking a piece was:

Is this art?
If so, why?
Does it give you an aesthetic experience?
What is an aesthetic experience?

The most memorable topic we covered, as a group and as a whole class afterward, was whether or not human effort was significant in deeming things "art" or "not art". The tissue was not so much art, for it was not intended to be so and no effort or statement was put into either piece of the tissue. But what of the stick that a beaver had chewed on? It was certainly beautiful and interesting, but it seems that no effort went into making it either one of these things. What do you think? What makes something art, and where does effort fit into the equation?

I brought up Dadaism, which often does not display a large amount of human effort into making pieces pretty, but has evident effort put into the statement behind the piece.

Link found through swissmiss.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

عيد الفطر

Here I am with Emily and Amanda during a celebration of Eid that took place in the World Studies Lounge. Eid, or Eid ul-Fitr, is the three-day celebration of a successful Ramadan fasting period. It was hosted by Ahmed, the Arabic language fellow, who gave an informative speech on the holiday that I scantly remember at this point.

Part of the celebration of Eid involves wearing new clothes and eating sweet foods. The idea of treating oneself after a month of strict restraint struck me as delightful, and although I had hardly been refraining from food or drink that past month I allowed myself a few treats as well. Ahmed's pastries filled with honey, nuts and coconut were magnificent, and judging by the swarms around the tables the Lebanese food from New York was great as well.

The most wonderful thing about the occasion was the gathering of a community far larger than Marlboro. In addition to staff, students and faculty of Potash Hill, there were many guests, wearing their new Eid garments and toting adorable little children. At Marlboro there are about 350 students, and seeing unfamiliar faces on campus is a strange phenomena that should be embraced.
This poem should be prefixed with the honest assertion that I do not consume illegal substances of any kind. This is not to say that I have never done so, though it is indicative of my decision to never do so again. Incidentally, when I wrote this poem (in November 2007), I was prescribed a form of Ritalin for ADHD.

Little College on a Hill

here i am at my Little College on a Hill
i’m not in good spirits as my first semester draws to a close,
but at least i am well provided for.
i have a good friend who loves ceaser and ancient greek
i have enough acquaintances to keep me company
(even if i always, always feel alone)
i have cigarettes i bought at one in the morning
when two people I admire intensely and I
drove to price-chopper during an all-night study session.
i usually have coffee to drink and
i have a dealer
who yesterday was inspired spontaneously
to read six chapters of
moby dick to me
and i have
good grades and
plenty of ritalin
and i have some talent and i have my health at least

i walked down a hill from class to my dorm
and saw esther playing in the first snow she’d ever seen
i am not surprised by the weather
half of all my years have been white
(but i have those childhood memories at least)
she frolics like a little kid
the right thing to do when vermont replaces ecuador
i remind her to make a snow angel
she doesn’t want to get wet
but the seed has been placed at least

i’ve new experiences of my own at least
experiments become habits
everyday i utilize my lungs
but these things keep me going at least
i hold on to a lucid reality

i’ve been trying to change my reality at least

i think of marlboro college as my home
i call it my home
it is strange to call anywhere else home
so i still remember that i have loved this place at least
winter break is coming
i hope i miss this place soon
either way
i have a family and
i have this place to come back to
and i have some talent and i have my health at least

All-nighters I have known

I searched for and found an old post of mine on Nook. There are words and concepts expressed in the following blog entry that, much like Nook, is unfamiliar to people who are not associated with Marlboro College. It matters not; I will catch you all up to speed in my posts to come.

It's reaching the brink of Wednesday, and I am one among many students sitting here in the Rice-Aron library amongst textbooks and tins of Bali Shag. My many nights of academic mastication have brought me close to the fruition of a successful school year, but I still need to complete a Geraldine Paper (oh, that iconic concept!) for a class just half a day from now. If I finish my 25-page defense of an unpopular tragic heroine before the darkness dissipates into cold morning, perhaps I will sleep. More likely, I will dilute my time spent studying with internet forays and distracted conversations, then finish and print with just enough time left to eat breakfast with friends who stare ahead with sober eyes at the exams awaiting them next week.

I've never seen the sunrise look as pretty as it did from the first floor of the grand quiet room on the morning of my first Marlboro all-nighter. Writing requirement was two days away, a full night's sleep about three. From the table furthest from the window one can see the rising sun from both floors, all the stereotypical colors associated with the daily turning of the earth glowing from behind the mountains.

Last night I left the library before the sun rose (but not before Jon Sheehy did), my body addled with the various health problems that sleep deprivation has been known to cause. Before I unplugged my laptop and resigned myself to an early rise, I dreamily watched the Gushee creation suspended from the library ceiling spin dreamily around and take shapes that only a college student on the verge of hallucinogenic fatigue can see.

When studying at night, one's perception of late and early relies on the amount of work that needs to be finished. A glance at the clock: it is 11:52, nearly always an "early time". Eleven fifty-two... it is getting late. This Nook post, a testament to my bouts of dedication and a record of my current procrastination, need finish here.