Monday, November 10, 2008

Elections Over, Now What?

Campus has returned to a sense of normalcy after Obama's victory last Tuesday. All the tension and build-up in the days running up to Election Day have evaporated. You wouldn't know if the election even happened with the way things are now.

The campus erupted within seconds after CNN announced Obama the winner. The mood on everyone's faces—and I mean everyone—could only be described as euphoria. I could here chants of Obama's name and the now infamous "Yes We Can" from outside my window.

An hour later some friends and I went to the White House to get people's reaction there. The front gates were surrounded by happy—and drunk—pedestrians who were not afraid to speak their minds to still-President Bush. I still remember the scent cold air, sweat, and beer a week later. Hundreds of people joined to sing "Nay, nay, nay, hey, hey, hey, good bye" and—to my surprise—the Star-Spangled Banner. Whether this was genuine patriotism or just the booze singing I still can't figure out. But what was certain is that, if you were there, you had a feeling the entire District came together to celebrate their contempt for the president and the hope for something new. One man captured best the nation's feelings toward the still-President. Staring brazenly at the White House he yelled out, "You fucked up this country for eight years you bastard!"

But now that the celebration has dropped to a minimum and people are more focused on their pocketbooks, I am slightly worried about how the public will scrutinize soon-to-be President Obama. Many people expect him to fix the economy almost overnight. Conservative Republicans are crossing their fingers hoping that he will crush under the pressure of expectation. I have faith that Obama knows what is asked of him, all we can do is sit and watch how he handles his new job.

Pictures from both campus and the White House:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Night (Sonnet)

Here is another poem that I wrote for my poetry class:

Mama Nature's breath eases through my room,
filling calmly the space with boon.
weaving best through nightly loom,
twilight wrapped in a crickety tune.

No moon in sight of my glassy view,
only black versus street lamp light.
My mind relaxes in this colorless hue,
when Silence traps all in its quiet might.

At times I lay on velvety green,
pointing toes and fingers at myriad stars.
The endless dark absorbs my being,
listening to Night's soothing moon guitar.

Mama, keep Night longer in your earthly clutch
since your sun mocks all with his burning touch.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Arse Poetika™

For my poetry class I had to read a poem called "Ars Poetica" by Archibald MacLeish which is a poem about what a poem should be. If we wanted to we could write our own satirical poem about the poem that talks about what a poem should be. The original work can be found in this link: Read he orginal poem first so it makes more sense.

A poem is useless yet invigorates,
like fresh cow manure
to the growing plant.

The words of the poem
buried in the gooey jelly
of a powdered doughnut.

A poem walks aimlessly through time
mocking the Old Man.
Leaving the moon behind
While each night the moon asks
‘Why are you still here?’

A poem should be equal to:
Hell No!!!
For the griever,
the bloody-eyed raven screeching
‘I told you so.’
For the lover,
the skin-enticing leather and the cracking whip.
And the casual onlooker would say,
‘I don’t get it.’

Friday, August 22, 2008

La Vita Nova: Part Two

Coming back to DC offers a strange transitional period to someone who has lived in a small town for almost all his or her life. The first time I stepped onto this campus I felt like a small fish that was suddenly taken from his humble pond to a massive ocean full of strange yet wondrous creatures. When I came back to North Carolina I felt restrained by the smallness of my former pond, being used to the almost limitless reaches of the ocean of the District. And now that I am here again I feel a strange emotion that I can't explain. The scenery is familiar, I know where most of everything is, but I still feel sense of novelty towards my surroundings. To be honest, I will never feel that I truly belong in the District as I feel that I will never feel that I belong in North Carolina as I was born and raised in the murky streets of Baltimore until I was ten (and not feeling like a belong there either). Nonetheless, I am once again the small fish now looking to retrace my steps and swim to new places in the ocean.

But getting back to my baseline was for some reason more trouble than when I moved here the first time. I had trouble connecting to the school's internet (which took me almost an hour), I left a chaotic mess of near-empty boxes all around my room. And to top it all off I dropped my bookcase on my right foot when moving my things around (it hasn't felt the same since). In my mild frustration I was compelled to stop all that I was doing, get some food, and go to bed early. But I knew that I couldn’t do since I hate waking up to a bedlam of a room (just ask my last roommate). So I soldiered on one foot and finished unpacking everything two hours after my injury.

Fate would give me a reward for my patience and resilience. As I was on my way to the bathroom I meet up with a spunky freshman who was trying to get people have dinner in the school's cafeteria. Her efforts paid off as she brought about a dozen people with her for our dorm. In the cafeteria I was reunited with the semi-fresh smell of food as well as the large crowd of people that I constantly had to dodge to avoid crashing into while filling my plates. I returned to my college staple of a heap of salad, a handful of fries, a bowel of honeydew and cantaloupe, a toasted bagel, and a glass of orange juice. I was the only upperclassman so every asked me questions of the best places to eat, watch a movie, and go clubbing.

After dinner me the freshman did what every other college student does in DC after eating, go to the National Mall. I was honestly surprised that these newcomers would be more willing to see a bunch of monuments rather than go out to the ever-pervasive frat party. When ended up taking the metro to downtown DC and walked to the Mall. Night filled the sky and the lights of the area gave the monuments more aesthetic than what could have been seen during the day. We did not get a chance to see all of the Mall but made the best of what we did see (laying on your back up close to the Washington Monument makes it seem like you can walk on it).

All in all, my first day back helped me realize the limitless possibilities that this strange place has to offer. I honestly have no plans on what to do here, but I now that Fate will guide me to whatever I set myself up to. I am looking forward to starting my new life…again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What Do You See?

Today I was looking at Benetton ads on the internet for a class project. Some of the highly controversial advertisements that appeared on Google Image included a priest and nun kissing each other, a newborn straight freshly out of his mother's womb (umbilical cord still attached and all), and a male model's mid section in profile with the phrase "H.I.V. Positive" tattooed on his left arm. There was one particular ad that grabbed my attention: a picture of a black woman breastfeeding a white baby with only her exposed breasts in arms in full view with the child. Beside seeing the clear racial overtones of the photo I tried to see a deeper meaning in the work.

This powerful photo reminded me of my time in art class when we had to paint a female nude model. We had sketched three other models beforehand (two being men and another being a mid-aged black woman) so we were used seeing nakedness. But this woman was different, she was a young white woman in her early twenties and had a level of attractiveness higher than all the previous models combined. Both male and female students initially were uncomfortable painting this pretty white girl, giving off signs of nervousness but trying to keep their composure for the teacher. Half way through the class we would all get into painting and we started to loosen up. Students would talk to the model and advice what would be a better and more comfortable pose for both the painters and for the model. Sometimes we would even joke with her, but kept it to a minimum for the professor's sake. Her nakedness was no longer an issue. We did not see as someone naked and out of place, but something natural and accepting.

That is what I saw in the Benetton photo pass the initially shock of seeing a woman's breasts for a magazine ad. I did not see a woman posing in a controversial manner but someone committing the beautiful god-given act of breastfeeding a child. When people think of breast we firstly think of the them as pornographic, perverted, and mundane. Social etiquette, television, and conversional wisdom tell us that they should be covered up for the sake of decency. The Benetton ad shows something different, it shows the female body as something unabashedly normal. If we tear through the social stigmas of certain subjects we can see them for what they naturally are. And once we see these subjects for what they are, as with the female model, we can appreciate them for their natural beauty.