Shells

Last season’s sharp pecan casings littered the lawn. I wished the wind would pick up a little. The air was superheated, and dry as a splintered post. Jules and I moved the trampoline into the shade. Wisteria vines draped the fence, smelling like clean laundry on a line. We clambered onto the cool mesh and surrendered our bodies to its embrace. Clouds drifted miles above, where wind did thrive. I closed my eyes, folded my arms behind my head, and listened as my neighbors entertained noisy lunch guests. A Sweetgum seed fell from the canopy above. I cracked a lid, wincing as it collided with my leg and bounced. It felt like a clear message.
One of the neighbors made a joke. I caught the clinking of glasses. Jules grew bored of almost napping and stood, dipping her knee toward the ground for a slight bounce. Its vibrations traveled and I rolled with the motion, rising. We fell into our jumping routine naturally. We had recently become used to one another. The coiled, rusted springs creaked with each relief of pressure. I could smell sausages grilling, or steaks; some staple of an Oklahoma meal.
I had been recently practicing the art of the nonchalant front flip, and my results had not been disappointing. With force, I could get some air. It wasn’t easy to balance our physical masses, since we were different heights and weights, but I could estimate alright. Our trouble was, we didn’t clearly communicate. As I flew up and down, chattering about flip dynamics, Jules’ eyes began to wander toward the alley. A truck rolled over the pothole-ridden asphalt, dragging a heavy cloud of dust behind it.
Just when I required her attention, her effort, her bounce- my sister was distracted. I had already committed to the decision, and was mid-jump. I had no choice but to tuck and roll, as I would for any spectacular flip. Air rushed by my ears and the world slowed. I realized a horrifying situation had unfolded; I was a projectile with no self-control. My eyes had closed again, out of fear instead of tranquility. The springs creaked loudly. As I landed, my wrist struck the bar, ringing out a high-pitched clang. It wasn’t enough, I flew farther. My face buried hard into grass and pecan trimmings. The scent of blood filled my nose, then the taste filled my mouth. Julie was calling out, checking to see if I still had my marbles. I gave a quick thumbs-up, head still ringing like a bell. The truck’s dust had infiltrated the yard, and it was somehow in my eyes. Every sensation was grit and pain.
She helped me into the house, holding back the ornery wooden door. The AC helped to condense my adrenaline. A glass of cold water was placed before me. My feet were lifted. I had assumed paralysis, as all us hypochondriacs do; and, in a way, I was paralyzed. An hour or two was my estimated recovery time (actually about three days), and Jules was unrelenting.
“Want to go jump?”

Prompt: #6, a thrilling or anguishing event from childhood.

Government Property

Our laylow was his idea.

Visibility, check.

Seclusion, check.

Sweat dripped from truck men

In obscurity across the creek.

Docile, preoccupied,

Hefting with bitter resolve.

Fear fueled my fervent glances,

Losing light to rotation.

Every passing traveler, a warning.

Billy’s wide hands stayed steady,

Aiding inevitable ascent.

It was a simple setup.

The device glowed, full of sun

Ladies first, so it was mine –

Mountains of fingers stretch

Toward, away from, into

Caricatures of fragile faces

Arcs, cerulean lasers

Lines of action break and reform

Branches are electric vines

The creek whispers secret ballads

Gasp and clutch at awareness

Where’s the water?

Parasites devour us

Closed eyes grant no escape

Fabric is too textured

Ensembles of geometric fruit

Infiltrate once-private mental cabinets

Hexagon apples, triangle grapes

Swirling nebula cast out roots

Latch onto exposed skeleton

Sound is sight is smell is touch

Who? Where? Doesn’t matter

Neon leaves spiral, not aimless

Each tree, an instrument

Capable of creating intricate

Sensory lineages

“Is it too warm?”

“Nah.”

It was concrete in my mouth.

I began to gather objects,

Fumble for a cigarette.

We had come with so much.

Journal 2 Burroway’s warm up

Christian Gonzalez

ENGLISH 302A

ROCHELLE

10/29/2014

The burning hot sun shines bright upon her face as she carries a bag filled with all her personal items packed from home. She holds tightly the hand of her daughter as they both walk together across the dry landscape. Their shoes burn from the earth around them as they continue to walk through the dry oasis. Their feet covered with bloody blisters; scars from their long travel. It’s been a week now since their journey began and they have almost reached the border where Mexico and the United States meet. She desires the freedom and opportunity to fulfill her dreams and the dreams she has for daughter. She searches for a sanctuary away from the violence and deaths that surrounded them each day. Dead bodies lying on the streets, prostitution around each corner, and drugs surrounding their home, the horrific images that she did not wish for her daughter to ever see. The horrific realities of the life she is fleeing from that she hopes her daughter never has to endure.

Time has escaped the two slowly, and as the mother walks, with each step she takes forward, she reminds herself of what she has left behind. Her family, her life all left behind. She is reminded constantly of what she is letting go and giving up in order to achieve this dream. It is hard for her to keep walking but the smile of her daughter gives her the strength to push through it all. She closes her eyes for just a second and sees all the faces that have been left behind. A tear starts to come down her face as she continues to walk. She regrets leaving them all with out saying a word to any of them. Her loved ones, left with a note saying where they were headed and had gone to live life. Constant memories of her home, glimpse through her head as the heat beats down on her. She is covered with sweat, and stops for a drink of water that she shares with her daughter. She kneels towards her daughter and gently says, “We are very close, everything is going to be alright baby,” as she holds the jug of water up for her to drink. She looks into her daughter’s eyes and is reminded of her dream. Seeing her daughter go to school and graduate from college or university as a professional. Too be able to see her daughter not struggle through life like she has had to. She dreams that her daughter can be able to live life with ease and not worry about the financial things in life. America is the land of freedom and she hopes to fulfill the dream of her daughter succeeding in life as an individual.

She hopes one day that her daughter can understand the reason of why they left their home. The reason behind why they had to adopt a whole different culture and leave everything behind. She will never tell her the nasty part of life that they had to endure back home.  Before she can continue her thought process, she sees in the distance a barb wired fence, knowing the future is near, she puts her head up ready to take on this new adventure.

Bedtime Prayer

Bedtime Prayer

You tuck us in every night,
gently kiss our foreheads,
but after you slowly close the door,
we are left to face the nightmares.

“Now you lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Father, unto thee I pray,
Thou hast guarded me all day”

I hear the light rain
outside my window,
not even loud enough
for the pitter patter.

A low hum.
He hears in the quiet
the whimpers of those
who need a gentle hand.
Where is He who sees all,
hears all, and knows all.

“Safe I am while in thy sight,
Safely let me sleep tonight
Keep me every in thy sight;
So to all I say good night.”

The Remnant

The Remnant

Everyone is an artist—
each generation starts out as a blank canvas.

My generation paints a beach.
We are the footprints in the sand:
outstretched toes reaching for firm ground,
longing for purpose,
desiring guidance.

I am a grain of sand—a remnant
My generation walks close to the ocean,
the rushing water reaches out,
its fingertips touching some footprints,
and grasping others back to the dark blue abyss.

Everyone is given their own brush,
able to paint their own sand;
able to become,
a remnant
.

Bryan couldn’t do a Bridge to the Blog on Feminism so he’s posting about an argument he had about a month ago!

There is one thing I wanted to discuss about feminism that I never had the opportunity to, which is pseudo-empowerment. Once people discover feminism, they’re quick to see it everywhere, and it’s a good start! Looking for signs of hope is much better than shaking your head like a cynical jerk, but there is a lot of sexist media that is able to hide behind one or two fronts to pass their structure off as feminist. To discuss this, I’ll be focusing on an easy target: a video game character from League of Legends named Sejuani.

Sejuani is the leader of a tribe of nomads. They travel through the frozen tundras of their world, fighting multiple armies in a desperate bid to take control of a kingdom that had cast them out. Even without being a leader of powerful barbarians, the character Sejuani already finds herself in a position of power. Riding a powerful boar into battle with a giant flail that almost dwarfs her in size, she is a very imposing figure in the game. Most characters in the game have a written lore to try and make the player feel attached to the heroes in question. Sejuani’s story constantly boasts how powerful she is, constantly using words like “hardship,” “power,” and “command.” So far, the developer have pushed a very powerful female character onto their players. Unfortunately, there is one discretion that lead to a lot of players overlooking the sexism of the character’s design.

This is Sejuani’s “splash art,” a pretty accurate depiction of what she looks like in game. There are one thing that stands out in this picture more than the boar or weaponry: she is going to freeze to death. The game League of Legends often suffers from over-sexualized champion design, and even their most “empowered” characters fall prey to this. However, most characters look at the role and lore of Sejuani and talk about how the design only emphasizes how strong the character is. Her lore even mentions this line:

Armored with absolute faith in her destiny, Sejuani pushed herself to extremes that would have killed anyone without her will to endure. She walked into blizzards without food or furs and trained while frigid winds raked her flesh.

People might argue that her design is perfectly in line with her character. Barbarians, even male ones, are always depicted as wearing a bit less armor than normal. Her decision to train and battle bare in the biting cold only shows how much more powerful she as a character, right? Unfortunately, these showcases of strength and independence are meant to subvert any accusations of patriarchy and sexism. If somebody were to argue that male characters were much more suitably dressed, Sejuani’s lore and design is meant to trick people into thinking there is a solid argument for why this woman is barely dressed in battle. The half-naked hero is not a symbol of strong feminism, but has been designed with feminism in mind so they may get away with showcasing sexism. It may be obvious to those of us looking objectively at the image and lore, but for those who have been playing the game and been bombarded with sexual imagery, Sejuani seems like a veritable Jane Austen character. It is an issue of the means justifying the ends.

As a bit of a postmortem, the designers eventually gave Sejuani a redesign. They agreed that while they were fine with the design of most of their characters, Sejuani in particular was a little egregious. Now donning actual armor, she is much closer to being a respectable female character.

This post was brought up by a mention of Pocahontas in class, and again on the blog. While analyzing Sejuani as a victim of “male gaze” is an easy task, I thought it was important that we recognize when characters are truly empowered or when their empowerment is just an excuse to more freely subject them to different types of sexism. While there isn’t much time left to talk about where you may have encountered this in modern media and literature, I would still like for you to think about it.

Theories of Time and Space

I wrote my Trethewey essay on her first poem in the book Native Guard on “Theories of Time and Space.” I also just wanted to say I had an assignment for English 355 American Romanticism in which we had to choose one of Walt Whitman’s poems to perform an oral interpretation and discussion from Song of Myself. I just wanted to say that I chose section 46 and I was wonderfully able to connect it to Trethewey’s poem.
The first line in Whitman’s poem is “I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.”
I immediately fell in love with this poem because I had just finished Trethewey and when I read the “time and space” I thought the two might be connected. As I went on to read the poem, he mentioned a “perpetual journey” and also saying how we “are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.” I thought this was so cool because in my essay I discussed how her poem was a metaphor for a journey we were about to take through reading her book of poems and how we might be changed in the end because of it. And here Whitman is talking about a journey and he will show us, but it is up to us to go out and see for ourselves and find out own answers and make of it what we will.

All this was a little bit of a short summary, but I thought it was cool and maybe it might be of interest.

Here’s the poem of Whitman if you want to check it out!

I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and
never will be measured.
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded heaven,
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs,
and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we
be fill’d and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.
You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you
with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.
Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.

Read more: Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 46 | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/lit/leaves-of-grass/ch03s46.html#ixzz2mq08SLsY

LGBTQ Quick Question!

Over Thanksgiving Break I visited my relatives in Pennsylvania and I was talking with them about a play I was practicing for one of my theatre classes. When they asked what the play was about, I told them that it was a Gay Fantasia called Angels in America. Immediately they were outraged and said that they were glad they never went to a “Liberal College.” [They are all devout Catholics]. Anyways whenever they saw me studying my lines for the play they would talk amongst themselves about how they don’t understand why we are studying that play of all plays or why our school is paying attention to “30% of the population.”
I started to think about this theory that we were studying [LGBTQ] and wondered what has changed that has brought this topic to be written about in Lois Tyson’s book? I don’t agree with my relatives, nor have I ever really been exposed to such hostility towards the subject, but I just became curious as to what has changed over the last 30 or so years since they were in school/college growing up and now for us? Is liberal colleges really different in terms of our openness than other colleges and their view towards this kind of theory or this topic, or allowing this to be a discussion at such a high level of education?

We’re Almost There…….

For anyone who goes to Professor Scanlon’s office hours as much as I do…..
Does anybody ever feel like they enter with their essay at….lets say 1000 words.
And when we leave to go home and edit, we end up with 1500 words. Then every time after that, when you see her the numbers just keep increasing…and increasing….and increasing.

Just me?
🙂