My Travel Parody of William Blake’s “London”

Merced

I drive through the pothole riddled roads,
Near where the Bear Creek does flow.
And mark in every tweaker I see,
Marks of meth, marks of weed.

In every cry of every girl
In every child’s cry for hope,
In every voice; in every hurl,
The mind forg’d visions off dope.

How the homeless people cry,
Every homeless shelter unaware,
And the volunteers gon’ sigh
Behind their underdeveloped share.

But most thro’ 10 o’clock streets I hear
How the youthful prostitutes vend
Bless the morning after pill
And humanity is continued till the end.

Houston

I wander thro’ city streets,
Near where the Buffalo Bayou does flow.
In every chunky cheek I see,
Marks of nourishment, marks of dough.

In every stomach of every Man,
In every Infants cry with cheer,
With every noise; in every pan,
The mind-forg’d barbeque and beer.

How the Texans fans do cry,
Every effervescent game disappoints,
And the hapless Players sigh,
Runs in ready to lose more points.

But most thro’ downtown streets I hear
How the youthful fandom curse
Blasts their efforts and their fear
And blights with buffets the people immerse.

Chicago

I wander thro’ the disguis’d city street,
Near where the Halloween themes does flow.
And masks upon every face I meet
Marks of mystery, marks of woah.

In every cry of every Gangster,
In every Newbloods eyes I see,
In every mischief: in every holster,
The mind-forg’d terrors I flee

How the unknowing bystanders cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless children lie
Blood bursts through our molecular walls.

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the tired Mothers weep
Blasts the society riddled with fear
And blights with dreams the vanity seep

Washington D.C.

I wander thro’ each historical street,
Near where the White House does stand.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of anger, marks of reprimand

In every cry of every Protestor,
In every Politicians spew of lies
In every vote: in every poster,
The societal standards wrapped in ties

How the country stands idle by
Every monument stands too short,
For the American dream could die
As we wait behind the sfumato fort

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the country still sings proud
Blasts the hatred into full gear
And cries of misfortune come aloud

San Diego

I wander thro’ each palm tree row,
Near where the sand and water meet.
And mark in every pretty face show,
Marks of botox, marks of beauty incomplete.

In every cry of every Woman,
In every Doctors cry of fear,
In every consultation; in every man,
The sexist led judgements I hear

How the perfect bitches cry
Every overly tanned skin dries,
And the beach umbrellas sigh
For cancer could spread to their thighs.

Bust most thro’ the sunny days I hear
How the youthful men cry
Blasts the expectations they hold dear
And switches into a toxic masculine overdrive.

Review

I chose to do multiple versions of William Blake’s “London”. I did multiple versions of this poem for every city I have lived in or near that has had some kind of impact on me in my life. As a military family we had the chance to live in multiple cities and experience life all across the United States. I moved to Merced when I was 17 and Although the drug problem could be worse in other places, it seems as though Merced as a city cannot “hide” the people on drugs. This makes the problem more noticeable. I was born and raised in Houston, Tx and the most obvious problem there is obesity. Houston has the second largest overweight population in the states and being from Houston I can tell you, there is no place I have lived that has surpassed Houston in food variety and flavor. Chicago was cold, really cold. I remember crime was extreme and the school system there was atrocious. Poverty and crime is a vicious cycle and hard to get out of. Washington D.C. was a place where people voiced their concerns and protesters were everywhere. It’s a place where one could feel like saddened by politics and yet a place of hope and pride. History is every in D.C. and it makes one believe anything can be accomplished. Lastly I chose San Diego because of all the places I have lived, people care more about their appearance there than anywhere else. There is no shortage of pretty people in regards to beauty standards of our society today. William Blake wrote about London and the impact the city has on its people, I wrote about the impact each city had on me.

-Karla Nichols

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The Harp Was Born Irish

In the poem written by Thomas Moore “Dear Harp of my Country” we see the Irish pride shine through. The poem has a sad tone throughout, but one can try to read between the lines and better analyze its meaning. Within the first stanza of the poem we see “The cold chain of silence had hung/o’er thee long;” and this is most likely talking about how the English had suppressed the Irish culture and people so much so that they no longer had a voice of their own. Within the same stanza though we get the feeling that Moore is releasing the Irish people from those “Chains”. Moore proclaims “And gave all thy chords to light,/ freedom and song!” as if to say that they are now free. The second stanza is lighter but it still carries with it a sense of sadness. It almost feels like a goodbye to who they once were as a people, so the freedom that he mentions isn’t the kind of freedom one would hope for. His hands are “unworthy” could mean that he is no longer worthy because he plays for the English aristocracy instead of the music the harp was made for in Ireland.

Karla Nichols

El Paso 2019

A young, hateful, nasty, insufferable, revolting, and rotten lady

Elite, with their sense of superiority, who exploit

Through abuse and mistreat, – demons from the pits of hell;

Idiots who can’t see nor hear the voices of the people

But through sweat and hard work they helped build

This country, blind by Benjamins, greed it flows.

A people surrounded by the unfair and corrupted;

Racist bigots and ignorant rants- an embarrassing chapter;

A time, that with time, guaranteed to show, stupidity-

Is a symptom of the chosen devil, chosen to lead

Fire, and destruction this man will leave.

-Karla Nichols

In the style of Percy B Shelley’s “England in 1819”

Tranquility Comes From Death

Wordsworth’s poem tititled “Old Man Travelling; Animal Tranquility and Decay, A Sketch” reminds me of this picture because the kind of tranquility that wordsworth describes in his poem reminds me of death.

“A man who does not move with pain, but moves

With thought- He is insensibly subdued

To settled quiet: he is one by whom

Long patience now doth seem a thing, off which

He hath no need. He is by nature led

To peace so perfect , that the young behold

With envy, what the old man hardly feels.” (Wordsworth 137)

In the first two lines that I quoted one can see what the intention is, to make one feel that this is a good this. That the Idea of an old man who should feel pain doesn’t feel pain because he is so focused on his own thoughts that he can ignore the body and that to me is more spiritual and reminds me of the kind of peace and calm and nothingness one hopes to get with death. In lines three, four and five I get the sense that he has lived a long life and he is at the end of his life and that he is just waiting to die or has accepted death. Lines six and seven describes that nothingness again, the kind of nothingness every young person hopes for because we are all dealing with stress and the struggles of life that envy is natural when one thinks about being that carefree.

-Karla Nichols

Dark Expressions

I feel like rock has been used by music artists to express their anger and discontent of the world around them. Romantic Poetry was also used in a similar way to express the emotions that flowed through someone during this time of their life. Romantic Poetry was used to go against what once was. And thus, this reminds me of rock and how in Iron Maiden’s version “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is not what you expect, and it goes against any set ideas or enclosed box that most people want to place “Rock Music” into. The poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” has a dark tone to it. The poem talks about a Mariner who after arriving safely somewhere he kills a bird in which the crew thought was a good omen. The crew isn’t happy, and they express their anger towards the mariner, but it doesn’t matter because they start dropping dead one by one. The Mariner is punished and cursed to live and be alone. The Mariner prays, and god forgives, and he always feels compelled to tell and retell the story. The imagery in the poem and the lyrics are so ugly and dark because the poem is about death and curses. Both the poem and the song are alike because they have a similar rhythm and tone and because the lyrics from the song are inspired from the poem itself.  

Karla Nichols

Equiano Something to Prove

In “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano”, Equiano seems to use the English language during a time where this was unusual. Equiano proved through the use of the English language that he was a learned individual and fully capable of keeping up with the writers of his time. Equiano went through a lot in his life and in his narrative he quotes a lot from the bible and works of literature like that of John Milton. Equiano states here “ I thought I could plainly trace the and of God, without who’s permission a  sparrow cannot fall. I began to raise my fear from man to him alone, and to call daily on his holy name with fear and reverence:and I trust he heard my supplications and graciously condescended to answer me according to his holy word, and to implant the seeds of piety in me, even one of the meanest creatures.” In this quote we can see that Equiano is someone who is religious and believes that his circumstances in life are because in one way or another he is favored by God. Equiano was mostly owned by good men and he thought that this was God’s doing. Equiano quotes all these people because he has something to prove.

Karla Nichols

Swift pokes fun

This story told by swift is a “Narrative” about his voyages but its definitely just Swift making fun of the narratives of his time, like that of Mary Rowlandson’s “Captivity Narrative”. When swift is recounting his time in these fictional places he does so in the style of narratives of his time, very serious and without much expression from himself.

“This diversion is only practiced by those persons who are candidates for great employments, and high favour at court. They are trained in this art from their youth, and are not always of noble birth, or liberal education. When a great office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens,) five or six of those candidates petition the emperor to entertain his majesty and the court with a dance on the rope; and whoever jumps the highest, without falling, succeeds in the office.”

The Emperor of liliput uses this for people who want to get a really good job in the government, the person who jumps the highest gets the job. This is making fun of the government because someone who is doing something completely unrelated to the job itself will get the job. The liliputian symbolize what is wrong in Swifts society at the time and he uses comedy to express what he considers to be ridiculous. Gulliver is afraid of being seen or portrayed in a certain way, his imagine means a lot to him because that is what is important in the society that Swift lives in and it goes for Mary Rowlandson too, she acted like she was not feeling any kind feeling for her captors when she continued to regard the Indians as barbarians and savages when they had treated her well.

By Karla Nichols

I Implore You

Dear Mrs. Rowlands,

 The narrative of your captivity was extraordinary. Mary, you were captured along with your three children, treated poorly and even lost a child. Although these moments were unfortunate, they were not extraordinary. Those moments were common for this time period. Your narrative was extraordinary for reasons you might not be aware of. In your narrative we can see that you claim to be a Christian woman, god loving, but your words are not.

“It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell-hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive”

You cast your people in a good light as Christians and the Native Americans as wolves and demonic creatures but are you lot not the first to have started this war? Were you not trying to steal from those who were here before you? Are these Christians who you make out to be the “good” people not actually the heathens? What makes you better than the Native Americans? You are not better Mrs. Rowlandson, you were treated better the more time you spent with the Native Americans, yet you still wished ill upon them, spoke badly on them. Did Jesus not say “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”? It must have been a difficult thing for you to try and reason such a request during your captivity but now that you have had time to think, don’t you think you should try to understand their position? Make a change Mrs. Rowlandson, ask for your fellow Christians to understand and to change their cruel ways. Native Americans are just people who are protecting their home, their land and their people. Be the Christian woman you claim to be, I implore you to set an example and act as though you think Christ would act if he were here.

Sincerely,

W. Apess

 

(written by Karla Nichols) Word Count 364

Fueled Hate

The history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America is neither confirmed nor contradicted through Mary Rowlandson’s captivity account, if anything, it allows one to see how this exchange can complicate the way in which we see history.  Damage was being done on both sides, even though the English colonist were who started the conflict initially. The Native Americans who held her captive are what she had heard them to be. The Indians killed her children and showed no respect for her religion thus confirming that they were in fact savages. Yet later Rowlandson sounds like she might be sympathizing with the Indians which she tries to hold back on doing because of the position she plays in the society in which she lives in, both as a pastor’s wife and Christian woman. Racism seems to play a part in both Mary Rowlandson’s narrative and Dryden’s The Indian Emperour. In both stories there seems to be something “wrong” with the Indians, for example in both stories the fact that the Indians do not practice or have respect for Christianity seems to be what makes them inferior. There was a lot of back and forth damage done on both sides and none of it was right. What was ultimately done to all Native Americans was horrible and this is just one account from one person who experience what she experienced within the Indians who captured her during the time in which Native Americans were being extinguished. It is interesting that the colonist were Christian people who believed in God and had to abide by certain moral standards, yet these “Christians” tortured and killed many Native Americans. The idea that a person or a group of people can serve to generalize a whole population of people is ignorant, and this ignorance is what fueled the hate that fueled the wars.

Karla Nichols