Hartly House, College


Yesterday 3:16 AM

Hey Arabella….are you up?

Yeaaah, why?

How is life back home? I miss u! ❤

Awh me too! Are u not having a good time at school?


Yeah? How so?

Okayyy everything is soooo different from high school and being back home

I get to just do anything that I want. The campus so beautiful in the fall because it’s packed with autumn leaves. The air is so fresh as if I were at sea. Walking around campus is so peaceful with people walking around trying to get to class or just simply hanging out

Oh but the classes are so fun

Like in one of my classes there is like a gazillion kids, it’s like a frat party but in the day time

Ehhh sounds gross. Everyone being jammed packed like sardines

Yeah but I don’t mind because the are some caaaayute boys in there



Totally different from high school boys JUST gonna say that

What do u mean?

Like they’re just different. If you were here you could just see the differences. OMG I wish you were here! We could be dorming together and going to parties, but u just had to stay home. U would love college parties, sooo different from high school parties for sure.

Yeahhh…but I had to put off school for bit to help out 😥

It’s just so great here. I know you would have loved it!

Like there’s this guy who lives across my hall and he sooo caaayute and the other day I saw one of his friends and I just know you would like him too!

Yeah that sucks 😦

Yeah I know 😦

College has just been such a good experience

I feel so different, but in a good way

I’m just freer ya know?

There’s just so much information to take in

And so many people to meet

Picking a major

I don’t think you have to worry about that

A lot of people say to worry in ur 3rd year

Everyone knows what they want to do

And they love their major

I just want to like what I do

You’ll find something

If you could pick a major what would it be?

English. I love English!


I forgot to tell you about this guy

I only remembered because you mentioned English

Well he was an English major

I think a second year

And OMG he was so cute

Like Ezra from Pretty Little Liars, caaayute 

Ooohh that’s so cute!!

What happened?!?!? Are u dating him?

No lol

I’m barely a first year

I just wanna explore

College is about being selfish, ya know?

Yeah I can see that

Hey but ttyl

I have to get back to my assignment

I have a creating project due tomorrow 😥

❤ ❤

Dear Reader,

In Hartly House, College, I attempt to parody Sophia in the contexts of a first year college student. In Hartly House, Sophia addresses her letters to her best friend Arabella who is in Britain. Sophia informs Arabella about her encounters in India and what “that” place is really like. In my version, I changed the format in which Sophia and Arabella are having a back and forth conversation. Instead of sending letters, people send texts, we text everyone, especially our best friend because you would want to be in contact constantly. In this modern representation they would be talking to each other, rather Sophia being the only one talking. However, I still tried to capture and maintain Sophia’s personality throughout the texts. For instance, as seen in Letter II, Sophia starts off the letter by describing the “splendor of the house, as it is modestly styled, is of itself…sufficient to turn the soundest European head” (Gibbes 7). In Hartly House, Calcutta, Sophia had a superiority complex, so college Sophia also feels superior because she is in college while Arabella is home. Also, throughout her letters, Sophia jumps around from thought to thought because she is informing Arabella of the events. I tried to capture that as well with her jumping around subject to subject, such as classes and boys, while still being able to capture a few detailed moments, such as the details of campus. Sophia was also snobby so she would always end up making the conversation about herself and what she is doing at college. If Sophia were a teenager in our time who was entering college, a different environment that is considered to be a different world (like Britain and India); she would be very vague on some of the things she would talk about because she is somewhat naïve. She treats the idea of the “perfect” and stereotypical college experience as if it were common knowledge. For instance, she tells Arabella that “college is about being selfish ya know?”. Here, Sophia comes off as if she knows what she’s talking about in a vague way because she’s not even sure herself, which is why she says, “ya know?”. Although she attempts to appear like she knows it all in comparison to Arabella, Sophia is just a teenager. Thus, Sophia is privileged teenager who is lucky to attend school, which a lot of people can’t do because they don’t have the means due to class status.


-Nancy Sanchez


The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Mohammed Alfassa, or Amadeus Matthias, the Syrian, Written by Himself.

This is an excerpt from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Mohammed Alfassa, or Amadeus Matthias, the Syrian, Written by Himself:

I walked beside my mother and sister in an alleyway that I grew beside playing ball, no longer familiar to my precious memories, by collapsed houses and overwhelming rubble accumulation. Today, I could no longer support the white-helmets, those who rushed urgently to the dire need of air-strike afflicted individuals, because I must attend to my mother and sister who grow increasingly frail in the absence of once copious street vendors bustling the streets endorsing a variety of vegetable and scrumptious meats. We search for a roaming trader, to disperse his valuable consumables, but we receive nothing but looks of consternation amongst waves of individuals in the city of Aleppo. I encounter a child not yet of five years who in an exchange of optic conversation, delivered to me a countenance of dejection and confusion. My soul continually grows weary, as I discover corpse after corpse of unidentified disfigured remains, bloodied and maimed by relentless ballistic destruction. We finally come across a luscious patch of grass and unravel a bundle of newspaper, boiling the conjunction into a warm porridge. The twilight shade engulfs the firmament, and we set our blankets on a bed of rock and pray for the sun to rise tomorrow.

The sun had yet to rise, but an incineration of foul venom suffocated me and terminated my slumber. I gasped for air and inhaled a deep dosage of the most painful breath I had ever experienced. I glanced to my side and witnessed a heart-wrenching scene of my sister grimacing in agony. I turned to my mother whose condition appeared far more dreadful as she winced an unconscious pain. I helped my sister up as she stumbled to keep her balance, and I carried my mother as we proceeded to a walk a path of chaos. Distant shrieks of agony and visible sights of convulsing children of a mixture of red, blue, and yellow complexion beside contorted figures in unimaginable presentation, the devil’s interpretation of yoga, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. My mother shook her head and waved us ahead a mixture of white and yellow froth oozed from her mouth. My sister and I carried on, as tears began to befall my eyes incessantly before I came across a overpacked caravan of half-dead children and groaning parents. I began to hope for moments for an end to my miseries, but I glanced over at my sister and held on to my last bit of hope.

O, ye fanatic terrorists! Might as you would men should do unto you? Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friend to suffer for your lust of power? Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your bloodlust? Why are children to lose their parents, parents their children, brothers their sisters or husbands their wives? Surely this is a new refinement in cruelty, which has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of war.

To my dear readers,

I choose to emulate Oladauh Equiano’s captivity narrative in a contemporary manner of entirely different circumstances. I wanted to exemplify the situation of the Syrian civil war and specifically showcase the recent usage of sarin gas attacks by using Equiano’s  tale to relate notions of grievance and suffering. Honestly, I have not spent enough time keeping up with the crisis every day, and I often forget the disparity of our living situations in the U.S. and the horrific scene in Syria. I think about refugees in the past, and I feel intertwined with their fates, as I am practically a refugee product of a seemingly oppressive communist regime during the Vietnam War. The United States is a nation of immigrants and has offered a hand for those in critical need, but in the 21st century’s bloodiest conflict, the United States has hardly stepped up to the plate that they once have. In researching for this creative writing project, I saw some incredibly graphic images and unbelievable scenes of destruction. I can’t possibly imagine how people continue to exist in this current state of affairs, but I saw a good deal of footage of people persevering and aiding each other in such a disastrous scene. I used actual narratives of those experiencing the crisis to reinforce my writing. The images of children who were under ten made me ruminate of their lives, as all they have seen is death and destruction. I tried to emulate Oladauh Equiano’s style which is not as difficult as some of the other readings assigned in this class, but some of his vocabulary is intense and somewhat antiquated, nonetheless, I incorporated some of this older vocabulary.  The last paragraph is very identical, and nearly a quotation of from Oladauh Equiano’s novel, that seems to be a call to those who possess the power, questioning their ethics. Although slavery and the situation of war in Syria are completely different scenarios, I felt that Oladauh Equiano best captured emotion-invoking imagery, and I felt it would be the best representation of the current state of affairs. I thought heavily about the prospects of journalism after working on this creative project, something I’ve considered since I was young. Thanks for reading.

Thomas Pham


Rime of the Young Reaper

The Rime of the Young Reaper [Rime of the Ancient Mariner]

Sailor went to sit down and relax down at the bar,

And listen to the old man’s tale,

His drunken eyes brightened under circular lens,

His skinny hand tightly gripped on his fifth ale.


He declares he was once a sheriff of sorts,

A man of law, nicknamed Grimm,

For all who crossed the law,

Would speak their last words to him.


One particular day, he says,

A young man moved into the house next door,

After an odd series of events,

The family of four was found dead on the floor.


The sheriff kindly greeted the man,

Who silently nodded at the welcome,

But never spoke, his lips only parted,

To whistle an odd hum.


So the young man and the sheriff lived along one another,

A friendly relation began, without needing to speak,

As it turned out the young man had sharp interest,

For the justice of authority he seemed to seek.


The young man accompanied the sheriff,

Later employed as his lawful companion,

Together in his patrol car they rode,

To catch all the criminals on the run.


Grimm one day was forced to fire,

One day he was forced to kill,

Rapist and murderer of three,

His bloodlust was yet to fill.


So Grimm did as he always did,

With the scum of the world in his sight,

Attempting to flee and continue his acts,

Grimm had to do what was right.


Once more, twice more, and yet another,

Soon the fiend fell under,

And his lifeless eyes rolled back,

Grimm had only began to wonder.


It was only now he noticed,

The young man next to him began to speak,

His eyes fixed upon the fatal wound,

That from which blood continued to leak.


Grimm asked if he was a being of faith,

A prayer is what he might be chanting,

But Grimm was wrong, and now in tears of the memory,

In sadness of the events that have led to his current ranting.


The young man denied Grimm’s judgement,

And told him nothing more than the following:

“I am only here to follow your acts,

All these lives to someone are oweing.”


“And who might that someone be?”

Grimm asked in confusion,

But the young man refused to continue,

And left the sheriff in exclusion.


A few days later, Grimm’s child fell sick,

A cancer, ravaging her poor life,

The family was devastated, drowned in tears,

But most of all, the sheriff’s wife.


The mother who had so happily birthed,

The first daughter, her first daughter,

But now illness had come to take away,

And her happiness was for death to slaughter.


The young man came to the sheriff’s home,

To leave his silent blessings with the girl,

Or at least, this is what the sheriff assumed,

For he trusted this man with his beloved daughter Pearl.


When the doctors came to give their final note,

The sheriff and his wife were torn apart,

With only weeks to share with little Pearl,

A girl whose life has only begun to start.


In her last days, the young man stayed by her side,

Murmuring his inaudible word,

Grimm had allowed it as a way to keep peace,

Until days later, he finally heard.


Grimm pushed away the young man,

Violently picking him from below,

What was it he heard?

“You can die now, no need to be slow.”


Grimm cried out in anger, what could this mean?

To which the young man answered, “I am the Reaper,”

For days and weeks your daughter has fought,

A war on illness that will never stop for her.”


Grimm paused, took a moment to see,

His daughters feeble hand straining to reach,

Their hands met and with a saddened look she said,

“Daddy, Reaper has a lot to teach.”


“He told me some people die because they are fools,

Others die because they were victims to fools,

But me, I’m special you see,

Now is my time to be free,

I’m in pain, it’s really bad,

But I’ll be ok soon, I love you Dad.”


The old man’s story was soon interrupted,

As his eyes widened and he grabbed his chest,

He fell to the floor and coughed and wheezed,

And soon fell dead to join his daughter’s rest.


The sailor looked around for help,

Only to see a young skinny man by the window,

But from his lips the sailor could swear,

He could hear hum ever so low.


“Lawful, evil, innocent and guilty,

All will be met with the end of a life so cruel,

Evil men can no longer act, young little girls no longer suffer,

I am your saint, your deaths are for me to rule.”


“I will take my leave, but soon you too shall grieve, as all men should.”


In writing my own creative work, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and write a ballad, something I have very little experience with. I tried telling a story while attending to the system of ABCB quatrains, and likewise involved death as the main subject of the poem. Just as Coleridge, there was a moment in which I broke from this system. I was heavily influenced by my own interpretation of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, one that was somber, saddening, and even intimidating – I felt unsettled by the tale. And as such, I tried to mimic that feeling whilst adding my own personal touch regarding the plot. Instead of the mariner spinning the tale, a sailor must listen to the words of a drunken sheriff, beginning off as odd and bewildering and later becoming more sentimental, dark.

What I did change about the ballad was how death and supernatural forces may be depicted, instead of massive powers capable of raising the dead, I aimed for a simpler rendition of death. My Reaper was simply a man that allowed the dead to cross the bridge from life to death, but at the same time I aimed to keep a certain abnormal air about death. Death is silent and ignored until things like illness or fatal injury comes, only then do we remember death, and only then does it begin to speak to us.

I wish I had more space to continue the ballad, and I think my inexperience may have been the most difficult part about its creation – I’m much more used to writing longer works, and feel that shorter creative assignments are my weakness. Even so, I’m somewhat pleased with how it ultimately came out. This story isn’t something meant to please or give a comforting ending: Grimm dies before he even finishes his tale, as the Reaper gifts him death as he pities the once prideful sheriff to reunite him with his daughter. It’s not a particularly happy ending, but death in itself is not a happy ending, and I think I accurately depicted my interpretation from what I felt from the original.

Emperor Trump, and the Conquest of North Korea.


The Media critiques! All our elected officials.

None are sparred, not even the President, whose actions are either horrible or beneficial.

The president wants to take action against North Korea, either by force or diplomacy.

A young leader also wants to show his strength and keep supremacy, and most of all protect the Kim legacy.

The president faces backlash abroad and at home, even ignores the UN and congress, the media and his own team.

Yet without hesitation, the President invades Korea and within six months of a bloody war, the US topples a regime.

Outrage from the mainstream

On the bloodshed and the bloodstream.

The president must decide what steps to take,

Let the dictator live or have his head on a stake.

All are watching his next move, for it will either be smart or a mistake,

The whole world has been so shaken when there is so much at stake.
The year is 2019, and the U.S. has defeated North Korea in a bloody battle. The U.S. has also captured Kim Jong Un, the current Marshall of North Korea. President Trump has ignored the U.N.’S advice to have Kim Jong Un tried at an international court. President Trump feels that since the U.S. won the war they get complete control of North Korea, and therefore should be able to decide Kim’s fate. The president’s military/foreign affairs cabinet see an opportunity to dismantle China’s South Sea fleet and maybe even change the government’s influence. However, they must convince the American public that China is the one waging war with the U.S. Trump’s administration will create a series of unfortunate events and blame China. However, Trump seeing that his approval ratings are at an all time low decides it’s best to cause as little bloodshed as possible. Therefore, they propose having a strategic war using diplomatic means where the U.S. changes China’s government into something more to the U.S’s liking. The CIA starts a series of assassinations on China’s top officials and the road to invading Russia seems close.
Act 1, Scene 1

The scene White House Oval Office.

Enter Mattis, Pompeo, Spicer, and Trump

Trump: What news do you bring me?

It better be the truth, the liberal media follows me, and Fox covers for me.

Mattis: Mr. President, I would never lie to you, but North Korea is simply the first step in world domination.

There are now more opportunities available for our greater conquest.

Maybe invade China, showcase human rights or cause chaotic events and rally the nation.

Think about it we could set bases closer to China, there would be no armful protest.

Then invade the government and control the resources,

Continue into Russia no remorses.

Trump: What do you suggest?

Mattis: If we remove China out of the equation,

Only Russia will stand in the way of world domination.

I suggest invading China, and dismantling their government.

They can keep communism, but we are really behind their new government.

Spicer: We could say that the people overthrew the government,

And say they were fed up with thee establishment.

Pompeo: I could send some of our guys and hit their top leaders and say it was some Chinese Rebel?

Trump: Just get the job done nothing special.

Trump: Sean, what do you suggest we say to cover this up?

The press will be up my ass if they find out about another damn war.

It’s bad enough that I give them the silent treatment and no follow up.

I told them if they want peace get ready for war.

Spicer: I could tell them, that China wants Kim to go free, but we want him to pay, even though they don’t want Kim at all.

Make up something similar to the Border wall.

People will think China will want to go to war due to the death of Kim, and we can use the death of Kim as part of our excuse.

When they discover the truth, simply call it fake news.

Trump: Spice, I like where you’re headed.

Pompeo, Can you send some guys and take care of Kim?

Pompeo: Mr. President, anyone can be hit and now that we have him,

Whose to stop us?

Trump: Good kill Kim, and use him,

Lie to the public and make them believe we are invading China because they wanted Kim.

China can keep their communist party, 

but the government is really working for us.

Sean, also make up a story, about the CIA gathering information about China trying to steal Kim from our captivity.

Mattis, destroy a US ship and make it appear as if it’s China to blame for the atrocity.

Invade China’s government, but keep the communist party.

Guys, get to work and think sharply.

*Mattis, Pompeo, and Spicer leave the room.*
Act 1, Scene 2

Scene: Kim sits in a top U.S. security jail cell in some remote region and is writing a letter to the UN and President Trump for his reasons for staying in power.

Enter Pompeo in Kim’s jail cell

Pompeo: Hello Kim, I hope all your accommodations have been met.

Kim: They have thank you.

Kim: I’ve written letters, can you deliver them?

*Pompeo reaches over grabs the letters and puts them in his jacket*

Kim: I’m sorry for what I’ve caused to the world,

I was doing it for my people.

However, standing up against the U.S. I will always remain bold.

I am a God amongst people.

I will remain a leader until my death and will never bow before a man like Trump.

I may have been defeated, but your country can never take my pride.

I can still hear the heart of North Korea pump.

Even through Korea’s divide I knew I was on the right side.

So if this is my last ride,

Let the world know that when the U.S said ‘death to North Korea’,

North Korea definitely replied.

Pompeo: Kim, there is no denying your pride,

However, I didn’t make the ride

To discuss or confide,

But merely give you death: by your own bullet or pill. Suicide.

I have two items: a gun and cyanide.

Your death is really important so you should decide.

*Kim stares at the ground for a minute, and then points to Pompeo’s gun*

*Pompeo leaves the room and closes the door, and a bang is heard*
Act 1, Scene 3

Scene: Trump is in his Oval Office.

Advisor: Mr President, part 1 of the job is complete says Pompeo.

Trump: Good. Call Mattis and tell him to initiate the attack in the sea.

Soon we will have World War Three.

Formal Analysis: I wanted to parody John Dryden’s The Indian Emperor and for that I decided to use the current Trump administration’s issue with North Korea and compare it to The Conquistadores in Mexico where they caused a lot of bloodshed because the Aztecs fought them for control. I even used Dryden’s style of rhyme and used an ABAB pattern.

Montezuma represents Kim Jong Un, as the Spaniards didn’t agree with his way of governing or the Aztec way of life in the same way the U.S. doesn’t agree with North Korea. Trump represents Cortez. His administration represent Pizarro. Kim Jong Un, just like Montezuma refused to bow down to Spanish rule or kneel before their conquerors. Kim Jong Un dies with his pride and the war still continues.

-Ben Montes

“A Girl’s Looking Glass for the World” (Creative Writing Project)

I feel it necessary to provide some insight to my fellow humans who all share my eventual fate. Death shall be death no matter who it comes to, for we are all part of the human race. We are all the same in this one sense, yet it appears that today the same people who share my fate wish to be the ones who deliver it upon one another.

Now I must ask, how does it feel to be able to see the heinous acts happening among us today? Is there ever a chance that we will be able to stop the constant prejudice happening within our own race? Are we simply doomed to kill ourselves off at this point? We enjoy amusing ourselves with thoughts of civility through our workings of politics and merely ignoring the rest of the world in hopes that maybe it will all just go away. If only for a few moments, allow me the chance to give an extremely brief understanding of the troubles we have caused ourselves.

Skin color, religion, political affiliation, gender, sexuality, status within society has become a key factor in determining how we view one another, how we judge one another. However, with all these views comes judgement. With all these views come a majority over the minority, and together these create existential turmoil as we move ourselves higher or lower based on our looks, our privilege, or our beliefs

I come to wonder why do we do this? Is it because we as humans have discovered ways to move ourselves up to the top of the food chain that now the only things against us are ourselves. Are we truly this ignorant that we believe that within our entire race some of us deserve more than the others?

I know I am only one person, but I can explain the many ways my own status changes based on the characteristics I carry with me in terms of the society I live in. See me as simply a person. Now add a female gender that drops me below men, but above someone who is transgender or gender fluid. I am Latina which places me under someone who is Caucasian. I identify as heterosexual which places me above anyone who is not. Allow me to make it clear that the ranking I am describing is not my personal belief. This is the society’s placing of my being.

Now if there was ever a time where we could all come together and fix the minds of those who allow themselves to degrade not just each other but also themselves in a way that they do not deserve. Reader, I recognize that we are all one heavily confused race, but I also fear that without change we will become the only cause of our downfall. Will we be able to help ourselves?

I chose to mimic William Apess’s essay, “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man” because of the fact I feel as though the problems going on right now in our world are becoming much larger than one race against another or one religion against another. Instead I feel that it was vital to share on point of view of the war raging with our race. Apess focuses on race and religion and though due to word limitations I could not go more in depth on each, I felt it was necessary to address more than that. I feel that within the world today we are dealing placing ourselves against each other constantly with no winner in sight. I feel Apess’s words were a very good place of inspiration to translate this feelings into words.

  • Elizabeth Dominguez

The Complaint of a Forsaken College Student


One of my favorite poems of the semester was William Wordsworth’s poem “The Complaint of a Foresaken Indian Woman”. I sympathized with the tragic situation that was at hand for the speaker of the poem, and I could not imagine the amount of grief, nor do I wish to know. The forsaken “Indian Woman” is dealing with her probable death, and in her hour of death she is lamenting leaving her child. However, the diction of “complaint” in modern language sounds as if the woman is overreacting, and simply complaining. I’m sure that because of the change in connotation of words, maybe it wasn’t originally intended to sound insignificant. Nevertheless, I was inspired to write an actual complaint about a situation that isn’t nearly as tragic, or tragic at all.

My poem is about party culture within colleges. Often times, some of the smartest people on paper are the dumbest when it comes to self-preservation. I’ve tried to write about a funny/light hearted situation that turns into self analyzation for the speaker. I could think of several ways to turn this poem into a tragic occurrence, but instead I want to just focus on a good time (unlike Wordsworth’s poem that is very serious and sad), and how hyperbolic people are.

I emulated the form of the original poem, following the same end rhyme sheme. However for the last two stanzas I changed the rhyme scheme in order to give it my own personal style. 

I also wanted to satirize Wordsworth’s poem because I think that often times in the middle of our lives and our privilege, we fail to remember that we are fortunate enough to have fun/leisure. This can apply to a modern audience because everyone within the classroom has probably encountered guilt over living comfortable lives while others suffer terribly. During the aftermath of the election I was especially bitter towards everyone having fun even when a fascist was in office or when people I knew weren’t talking about what was going on. Although, I’m still mad, I understand that there is a lot to be done, but I can’t blame some people for having fun…including myself. I also garnered inspiration from a new show I’ve started on Netflix called Dear White People. The show is essentially about Black Students at a prestigious university that still navigate towards racism within the campus. One of the characters in particular, is named Reggie and he deals with guilty feelings that he’s not doing enough for the cause because his father was black panther, and he wants to live up to the standard even when he is just having fun and being young. I hope my poem isn’t read in the way that it sounds as if I am not taking the actual misery of the mother seriously, or the pain of others who are going through actual misery.


The Complaint of a Forsaken College Student

[When a Drunken College Student, from pure intoxication, is unable to continue their party night with their fellow idiotic friends; they are left on their couch, supplied with a water bottle and dreams of redeeming what is left of their dignity. The unfortunate fool is left with an idea of how they accidentally spilled their drink all over a freshman, so it is, after all, forgivable. There is hope that they will regain their strengths, and shot gun just one more beer. Highly unlikely though, most of these people are left to wake up with a major hangover on Sunday, or as the ancestors named it ‘Homework Day’. Hopeless and docile, they think: this is totally like that poem by Wordsworth. It is not.]

Before I see another angry text about how I am usually wrong,

Let me play just one more round of beer pong!

In my drunker hour I heard the loud screams;

The red and blue lights still in my dreams,

Wait… who drinks this much? How’d I survive,

They wont tell me,

Yeah I’m definitely still alive,

I have to pee,

Before I hear another badly remixed song;

Let me have some water, I haven’t had some in so long!


My liver is probably not okay; it knew no bright day,

Yet it’s sort of okay, Guys, I’m on my way,

Full of watered down alcohol, the cups still lie;

And they have been abandoned, as will I,

When I was sober, I wished to not do this to myself every week;

But that was a distant time, before I had a drink,

Maybe it isn’t the alcohol that tastes so bleak,

I ignore the negative thoughts and instead hear cups clink,

I’m dizzy and there is more fun to claim than to feel;

My parent help me pay for school, for what?, for me to be a misdeal:

On a couch I lie;

In a room full of people laughing, while others in the world die


Alas! It was my friends who dragged me here;

With promises of another fun night like those I used to hold dear,

It’s too soon for me to be bitter,

So I go on the dance floor as I am not a quitter,

I watch the room move in slow motion as I trip and fall on the floor,

Oh hey Denise!

My drink is no more,

I wish I could make peace,

Still dizzy I sit;

Why am I still lit?


My bottle! Who gave it to another,

Another who didn’t go through the work of sneaking it out of a party of another,

When from the couch they took my sweet bottle;

It was probably that guy in my class about Aristotle!


I want to go home, my little bottle is gone,

I’m no longer having fun;

I search for a friend,

I feel as if I have been stolen too, by the end

My father fought for our rights;

And all I do, is party and waste my nights


-Beyanira Bautista

From Captivity to Wanting to Fit In

On the third of February 2017, I experienced for the first time, what they call here First Friday. Apparently, it’s a night rich with culture and arts and great people to share these things with. To my luck, I live above my friend’s shop that is within the blocks that get closed down for First Fridays. This meant that I could watch from my window before I decided to go downstairs to enjoy it.

There was a group of people that had hula-hoops, sticks, and chains that were on fire. But these people were dancing with fire, they were really connected to this fire. My roommate told me they call it the dance of hell—and reasonably so! Though the others didn’t seem to enjoy it as much. They probably didn’t appreciate the danger of it since it was filled with people of all ages.

I decided that it was safe to go outside after a while that I saw everyone getting along well. As I walked out, there was a couple guys in hoodies that were spray painting on plywood. They had very minimal lighting on their pieces but even then they had an audience.

“We should ask them if they know anything about the people that have been spray painting our shop!” my roommate exclaimed as she started walking in their direction. I had forgotten about the shop getting marked up but we were both pretty upset because, why us? My roommate first talked about their art. They seemed like pretty interesting and harmless young men.

“Why would I know about who is tagging up your spot?” one of them responded once my roommate finally asked him, “I know as much as you do, and I don’t even know where your shop is,” he said with frustration. My roommate pointed out where the shop was, which was just a  couple meters away from us.

“Oh,” he said as his shoulders dropped. “I don’t know who did it, but I do know that they probably did it because they’re upset—that used to be soul food place where the cook was like everybody’s grandma—matter fact we’re all pretty upset that it was replaced with yall’s vegan shit—like who the fuck is vegan?” He made a face of disgust while he shrugged again with his hands out. I was offended by his tone and tired of that damn question. Since I wasn’t part of this conversation, I decided to step away while my roommate responded to him, in a calm but argumentative tone—which we knew where it was headed.

As I was walking towards the shop, kids were running around with swords that lit up in multiple colors. They got closer to me and I jumped away but I stepped on a beer bottle and ended up on my ass. The kids stopped, and laughed, as did some people around them. I couldn’t understand why they were being so rude and disrespectful. They laughed hard as if they were really enjoying themselves over my misery.

My roommate realized I had fallen and went to help me up. Without a word, we both just rushed to the shop to get away from them. We slammed our door hard as we closed it and everyone went silent.




Notes from the Author:

This piece is supposed to be a remake of Mary Rowlandson’s History of Captivity that addressed the gentrification going on in Oakland at the moment. The shop replacement is the stealing of lands in this piece and their oblivion to their mistakes—well that’s pretty self-explanatory. I was sure to have them describe different races differently too, like the fire hula-hoopers are white, while the artists are of some other race, either Latino or Black, whichever you imagined first. Mary calls the natives savages pretty often, but in today’s society, microagression is the way we do things. The need to mention the hoodie, the expectation that they’d know who tagged their place and lastly and completely ignoring the fact that the artists had told them they took away a very loved place are reflections of their prejudice towards POC.

The shop getting tagged was supposed to resemble Rowlandson’s attack at the beginning of her story. Though hers was gruesome, I was not about to make Oaklander’s kill white people for the sake of my story—there’s enough news out there talking about the violence in Oakland. However, having your business tagged, is still pretty frustrating and disrespectful to some.

The falling at the end is supposed to reflect Mary’s incident falling off the horse and getting laughed at. She felt insulted by their laughter, becoming a real victim of their doings. As the character in this story is also feeling personally attacked by their laughter—but everyone laughs at people falling unless they’re seriously injured because of the fall, which wasn’t the case in either of these stories (yes, Rowlandson was already hurt, but she wasn’t hurt because of the fall, so it’s still cool to laugh).

All in all, I wanted to bring attention the gentrification that is going on in Oakland because it’s frustrating to see the new comers give us funny looks in our own home.


-Luz Palacios

Kolkata revisited

Dear Alyssa,

You won’t believe the day I’ve had. I can’t stress to you how beautiful Kolkata is. Today me and a bunch of other students went site seeing! First we saw some place called the Writer’s Building, apparently it has some historical importance behind it (like from India’s colonization times) but I don’t really know I didn’t pay much attention I just noticed that it’s a huge red building and was super crowded inside, it seemed pretty boring. But I don’t understand why the writer’s in Kolkata would need so much space? Anyways next we saw Fort Williams; which also has some connection to British colonization (again I was wasn’t really paying attention). But boy is this place huge!! I’ll share an album on Facebook when I get the chance. But this building looks like a cross breed of state capital building in Sacramento with the White House. That’s the best that I can describe it its huge, white, pillars and has like a dome in the center. But there was pretty creepy story the tour guide gave us about the guard room (AKA the Black Hole) in Fort Williams. (*activates spooky voice*) So the way it goes is that during a battle in 1756 there were 145 soldiers and civilians that were captured and kept in this tiny room and only 23 survived (the rest died from heat and suffocation), and legend has it that if you go to Fort Williams at night you can hear the cries of the prisoners begging to be let out!!!!!(*oooooh*) After a whole day of walking we chilled at this really cool café by the river (seriously they have THE BEST chai ever plus I spotted some cuties as well lol). I got some nice candid pics of myself too catch them on my Insta!!! Until next time

-ILY Rav 😀




This letter is meant to parody Hartley House, Calcutta with a modern twist. I specifically choose to recreate letter nine because it talks about certain places that Sophia discovers around Calcutta. Some of these that still exist today, like the Writers’ Building and Fort Williams. Instead of a 16 year old girl I, the author, am a college student who is studying abroad in India. The reason I choose to recreate the scenario this way is because I have personally noticed that people who have traveled abroad try to make it seem like a big deal, like they have a certain (higher) privilege of being there. This same attitude parallels with Sophia’s tone in Hartly House. In the book, Sophia explains events and places in aloof manner, where all the attention of an event is directed toward her.  Even though there is some political importance going on behind the actual place or event (For example when she sees the Nabob’s procession passing by). I exhibit the same aloofness in my letter by giving vague descriptions of the places ‘I visit’, even though they have an important historical background to the city. The Writers’ Building I mention is now a government office where all of Kolkata’s major political decisions are made. I describe Fort Williams just as a huge white building but there are thousands of buildings around the world that look the same white, pillars, and dome in the middle. Why this is important because it represents the democratic and republican power that has spread by English colonization through history. Another place I mention is the Black Hole. The Black Hole was a result of political differences between the Nawab of Bengal and the East India Company, but in my letter I brush it off as historical monument with a scary story. All these places are earliest reminders of East India Company’s oppression on the natives, but now they have become nothing more than a list of places to see in Kolkata.



-Ravneet Dhillon

The Symbol of America: The Eagle or Dollar Dollar Bill Y’all?

* Eagle: PicsArt_05-03-01.10.31

The American Eagle

Oh soaring Eagle, flying high

Where have you gone?

Your country needs you.

Come from your nest, where you rest

To help us remember what once we were.

Once you represented freedom, justice, pride—

Soaring on the breeze of revolution,

Representing democracy,

A new nation.

Flying over tyranny—

Guiding this fledgling nation.

But where are you now?

Can we fix what we have broken,

Can we reclaim you, oh beautiful eagle?

Why do you slumber—

Why do you remain high above?

Are you still our symbol?

Perhaps we are no longer worthy.

Slavery exists, in the land of the free

Tyranny goes unchecked in the land of the brave

The eagle sleeps a deep slumber.

America forgets her nest.

Dear Eagle of my Country

Dear Eagle of my country! I found thee

High above in the cliffs,

Where the chains of capitalism have bound thee

You cannot fly for us anymore

Your wings are clipped

So you cannot soar

You no longer fly for us

Weighted down by consumerism

Retire you must.

We have not your beauty, grace, and pride

Have we lost you, oh glory—

Has the precious eagle died?

Dear Eagle of my county! Farewell to thee

As you retire to your mountain top.

Your sheltering wings, we no longer see

Your pride your honor, live in you alone.

And this is something that we cannot own

*The Dollar: PicsArt_05-03-12.54.31.jpg

The American Dollar

What is our symbol?

America, once the land of the free

And the home of the brave.

Now is the land of the consumer,

A capitalist’s amusement park.

The seller the buyer the window shopper.

Money talks.

And it does just about everything else too—

Money is what makes the world go around.

No money,

No power.

America land of the dollar—

The American dream.

Even the little guy can strike it rich,

Scratch the right lotto ticket

And you’re set for life.

Living on easy street—

Live by the dollar

Die without the dollar.

America is money—

The dollar is our symbol.

Dear Dollar of my Country

Dear Dollar of my country!

You are always needed and often missing.

Where are you little dollar—

Our wallet is so empty.

Without you we are hungry,

Without you we are naked,

Without you we are unsheltered.

The dollar symbolizes our great country—

Is this really what we stand for?

Dear Dollar of my Country!

So many things we can do with you

And without you we suffer.

Great dollar of our country

Please fill our wallets.

And fulfill our American dream—

Or better yet, leave us to our silliness

And let us find a better symbol.

Dear Dollar of my Country!

You are a sad symbol.

Who are we?

The consumer, the capitalist.

What happened to freedom—

Or democracy?

Was the American dream ever real?

Money talks,

But we should not let it speak for us.


Obviously, I took inspiration from the poems, The Irish Harp and Dear Harp of my Country. So I wrote several poems about the symbol of America. I did not worry about following the rhyme schemes of the poems though I parodied the titles. What I was trying to do was channel the idea of a country’s symbol, and I tried to mimic the tone as well (at least in the eagle poems). I focused on the theme of the Irish harp, by doing instead the American Eagle/ Dollar.  I really enjoyed the blog about the Harp of Ireland. I started thinking about what the symbol of the harp meant to Ireland and  what it said about Ireland. Harps are instruments and they promote music and language. This got me thinking about America, and what our symbol might be, and what it would say about our country.

The first thing that came to mind was the eagle. The eagle is a symbol that is on our money and a common brand logo (for example the clothes company American Eagle). So at least at some point, I think that America was represented by the eagle. What does the Eagle represent? Freedom, pride, power, the eagle is a very majestic symbol. Our fledgling nation who was rebelling and breaking free from oppression may have been worthy of the eagle. Now however, in our consumerism obsessed society, I think the dollar bill (or money in general) is the new symbol of our country.

We are a capitalistic society and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. However, money has become so important in this country that a lot of people sacrifice their morals just to make a buck.  We live in a plentiful country and yet people starve. Money makes or breaks you in this country and our symbol is no longer the eagle but the dollar bill. I am afraid this does not say very flattering things about our country.

*(images edited by Katie Oswald)

-Katie Oswald

Dear Woke of my Country


Dear Woke of my County

Dear woke of my county, darkness engulf all that we see.

The orange leader is killing us slowly.

I want to be proud of this nation, and it to be free.

All we do is give to this nation, but we lack equality.

Stay bright and loud to fight our way through this.

Have you woken up yet? This country was never great.

This country is spiralling into the abyss.

We need to clean the executive slate.

Dear woke of my country, be the light that we need.

Spread love and cleanse hate.

Don’t give up, we can succeed.

We must “Win”, because our county is at stake.

The pulse of the muslims and the mexicans,

Throbbed for the glory of this country.

We must unite Americans.

And get rid of this orange junkie.


For this creative writing project I choose to imitate Thomas Moore poem, “Dear Harp of My Country.” Moore’s poem is centered around Irish nationalism, he writes to preserve and protect his culture. Moore want Ireland to be free from the choking grip of the United Kingdom. Britain’s imperial conquest during the 18 century effective began to silence Ireland’s culture. In 1763, Britain won the 7 years war, causing the formulated of the United Kingdom. Irish literature illustrates how the Irish were rebelling against the expectations to assimilate into British culture. This caused the tensions between Britain and Ireland to only rise. Moore is of Irish descent, meaning, that this poem is his attempts to preserve his culture in a time of “darkness.” Moore is proud to be an Irishman and his poem calls upon his countrymen to join in and fight for Ireland. I wanted to take this idea of use it for the basis for my intimation poem. Instead of uses it in the original setting, Ireland, I instead choose to use modern day America. I did this because I see that the Message in moore poem is relevant now in america because of the current presidency. Both Moore and I feel that our voices are not being heard our in politics. Trump seeks to minimize the people’s voice. We can not become silent to the wrong we see, because if we go silence and stop fighting we normalize the behavior and allow it to become culturally acceptable. Trumps hate is  harmful on what it means to be an American. I Call upon the America’s to stay “Woke” and continue to fight against inequality and hate that the White House is trying to force us to subscribe too. We need to be loud. We need to fight against President Trump  and prevent him from running this country into the ground. The term woke, is modern day slang about staying socially conscious. So if you’re “woke” spread the message and stay loud. The authorial voice I used for this poem was built in the context of modern day America. While I did want the voice of my essay to my own, I did want to keep it similar to the original. So I went through the original and picked out terms I liked and used it in my poem. Also, I kept the same structure and rhyming pattern as the original poem. my format choice were to more accurately imitate this poem. While my poem is similar to the original, it is still very different. The biggest difference between the two people is the seen in the voice and language.  When i was creating my poem, I choose a different setting than moore. This difference caused the caused the language of the poems to be different; but the similarities in purpose of the creation of the two poems  causes the two poems moods to be similar.

  • Conor Morgan