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I remember the day we pretended to be sailors, we had just gotten the pool from Walmart and spent all day putting it together. We bought floaties shaped like ships and water guns to shoot the pirates from stealing our booty. We spent all day in the water, swimming and laughing on the hottest day of summer. Everyone in the neighborhood would come to our house since we were the only one who had a pool. It was cool to have so many friends until the bird decided to come and play. She would never leave us alone, always squawking at us, mocking me anytime I tried to shoo her away. Everyone else thought she was neat but all she did was distract everyone from playing with me. The day she made me fall chasing her was the day I knew I had enough. I knew the water guns were not enough, but Daddy left his toy in the garage. He promised that he would teach me. But I thought maybe, if I could shoot the bird, he would be impressed and so would all my friends. I ran into the house and into the garage, Mommy was just sitting on the couch like she always does with her colorful drinks that she never lets me try. I have seen Daddy put the numbers in many times that I made a little rhyme:

“One plus two plus one is 4 but one plus two is not”

It sat there shining against the spooky white light, asking me to pick it up with my warm hands because it was cold. I went back outside and showed it off, but all my friends were not impressed. They rolled their eyes and said I was dumb, that I didn’t know how to use it, the I was just a little boy. I got mad, I had to prove them wrong, show them that I am a man, like Daddy. I did everything Daddy showed me and then I saw her, sitting by the side of the pool. Everyone was laughing at me, but she was taunting me, mocking me for not knowing what I was doing. I yelled and pointed it right at her telling her to stop, but she would not listen.

Pop

I opened my eyes and saw two black dots around her. Everyone else was running away but she sat so still, so calm. Mommy came outside and yelled

“What have you done?”

She started to cry as she held you close. But we were just pretending to be sailors. You wanted to be the annoying parrot. I told you to stop, that a parrot couldn’t stop the pirates. But you didn’t listen.

Red and blue lights flashed everywhere, and Daddy was there but he was not impressed. He was very sad like Mommy. I didn’t understand. I thought you would be okay. But Daddy’s toy was not a toy. I’m sorry that I didn’t know Sissy, I didn’t know.

Review:

For this parody, I choose to do a modern adaptation of Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by focusing on some of the themes it presents. To begin, I decided to take on the speaker of a little boy who is jealous that his sister has more of the attention than he does. This speaks to both his and the Mariner’s cardinal sin of greed which causes them to seek out personal agendas. I choose to represent the sister as the bird/ Albatross where the brother’s greed for attention get the better of him. In doing so, it creates a shock factor when revealed. In addition to this, the two black dots are meant to be representative of Death and Life-in-Death deciding the fate of the little boy.

What perhaps is the big takeaway is the combo for the lock storing the gun. Usually when setting locks, we relate it to a date. The date chosen was 12/14/12 which is the day that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting took place. Why this matter is where the modern adaptation comes in. Currently, our society is in a divide on regulations relating to possession of fire arms and the Second Amendment. This is one view of why there needs to be better regulation in the selling and storage of guns. We find cases of children getting ahold of these weapons more and more common which I felt attributed to the themes present in the poem. In addition, I wanted to stress that negligent parents play a role in what led to the conclusion by painting the mother as an alcoholic. This helped to create an element of realism as well as offer a glance at issues plaguing our society though these universal themes and the perspective of a child.

 

-Xotchitl Garibay

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If Coachella Only Had Harps

Harps are often synonymous with symbols of peace. We see them often in paintings and stained art pieces depicting angels, many whom are carrying these harps. So, when looking at The Harp Of India by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, we note that the harp comes to be representative of a nationalist agenda. In the first three lines it mentions how there is now silence, one that used to be filled with music which as we know, music has been a tool in bringing together people, a symbol of unity. If no one can no longer hear the strings then it must mean that there is no unity, thus no peace.  Even the breeze who could gently brush the strings to make a sound cannot since the strings are no longer there. This would mean that whoever wanted to destroy the peace did so intentionally as they have deliberately cut the strings, leaving the harp with just it’s body. Now mute, the harp can no longer bring people together, likening it to that of an image of a monument, thus trying to say that the scale in which this is impacting is country wide which we come to realize at the end of the poem. The poem then paints the speaker to be very patriotic of their country as they long for the unity that once was, feeling the need to have to take up the harp and lead their country to be the might that it used to be. This can be an allusion to the Indian empire and how it prospered in the past, showing how they have fallen where the speaker wishes to be like that again. Thus, the speaker embodies the nationalist perspective to try and unify their country as if they are the one to do it by being the “mortal wakened” one who will “strike the strain” and not just little by little but all at once if we are to focus on the specific punctuation that ends the poem (Jesus Christ much?).

 

-Xotchitl Marisol Garibay

Olvera Street, 2019

Inspired by William Blake’s “London”

 

Step by step each brick which lay

in the street, where vibrant mariachi music does flow

drifts away the brown, sun kissed faces who built La Plaza

now bob downstream in a sea of selfie sticks.

 

In every cry of every vendor,

in every flash the camera fades

the inner mythical voice of Estrada

as the Avila Adobe crumbles with the LA flood.

 

How the cry of tourists crowd that of the natives,

blackening the steps of the Catholic church

where musicians and dancers only perform

as the dollars trickle into donation buckets.

 

At night she returns to the street I once heard

a chant for equality, for freedom, for life,

only to begin to plea against

the impending change of gentrification.

-Xotchitl Garibay

Mariner at a Rock Show

Music has come to enhance the way in which written word is heard. One can read it one way, create their own voices and give characters their own spin on the personalities of the characters. Music has an influence on poetry, in the way that it sets a rhythm with its meter the same way that poetry influences music. It’s why at times in songs there will be lyrics that are verbatim to the lines of an epic poem or couplet or any other variation of poetry. So, when Iron Maiden’s song chooses to remain true to the poem in a very interesting over 13-minute song, it tests the limits of being more than just a song. The purpose was to tell the story, an attempt to convey the pain of the Mariner, painted a different rendition when read by itself. While I took this tale to be one more of woe, the Maiden’s rendition gave it more of an impression that it was of fear, the one the Mariner felt in his suffering. In the moments where it is just the bass, it contributes to the solemn tone, an almost understanding that the Mariner and bringing life to the creaking of the wooden ship and haunting undertones of ghosts moaning, almost contributing to the pain that forces him to continue his tale which flows well with how the vocalist switches between the lower and higher octaves. It is for these reasons that at first, I felt that it did not classify with romantic poetry. With romance, it feels more as if it desires softer tones or ones of passion which I felt this rendition did not call for. While unique in its approach, it offers a fresh perception that targets the vulnerability, pain and suffering the way that rock can only do.

 

Xotchitl Garibay

If You Give the Metaphorical Christian Mouse a Slave Cookie

There was a point in time where religion was valued over science, that the beliefs of the great unknown were much more believable than the theories being presented and proven that debunked aspects of religion. It really takes to the phrase ignorance is bliss to believe it that it is still reflected today with advancements of modern technology showing not only the curvature of the earth but what it looks like from outer space (the earth isn’t flat guys and if you still believe this then I would suggest going back to your designated time period). The point being made however is that with religion (for the ones who identify with one) it seems as if there are two sides: one that obeys it blindly and ones who pick and choose which parts of it they wish to follow. For the ones that obey it blindly, especially Christianity, as they attend church and hear the interpretations given to them by another, they become the sheep and influenced by the opinions of the preacher. To be able to read the Bible on their own gives power to the reader to create their own interpretations which makes Equiano’s narrative impactful. While he is taught the Bible before he begins to read or write, the idea is that Equiano is more intrigued with halving more of a conversation with the books, an accurate representation of his frustration as more of a longing for knowledge. The Bible’s role serves more as a representation of the culture, not for the beliefs that those who preach it make it out to be.

 

 

“He taught me to shave, and dress hair a little, and also to read in the Bible, explaining many passages to me, which I did not comprehend. I was wonderfully surprised to see the laws and rules of my own country written almost exactly here; a circumstance which, I believe, tended to impress our manners and customs more deeply on my memory.” (Chapter 4)

 

Based on the quote, he is attracted to the more universal themes that the Bible conveys, the parts that are not preaching for the white man to have slaves. While he is enslaved, the Bible which became one of the biggest motivators for slaves to persevere and hold on to the hope of salvation. Thus, with the abilities that Equiano possesses in reading and writing allows for him to create his own interpretations, even if certain points he was in need of assistance. This is where the Bible served as useful to Equiano, but not as much for other slaves. Christianity is often synonymous with European civilization meaning that he was appropriated in the way all the other slaves are if their teachings of the Bible are coming from the white man. In having the freedom to make the interpretations he is thus drawn to the deeper teachings and not what is surface level which the Christians would use to justify the need for slavery. They can eat up all the cookies they want, try to paint it as a basic human right, but not all cookies taste good dipped in milk meaning that Equiano’s assimilation only gave him a sense of pursing his own freedom and destiny but also establishing the foundation for the slave autobiography/ narrative.

 

-Xotchitl Garibay

Surprisingly, People Still Believe that their 2 cent Speech is Needed

Perhaps I am being to cynical and critical of religion, but from what literature has come to teach is just how influential it can be, but also how it is contradictory and mocked. There is no need to delve into what satire is by this point as we all have come to form our own definitions of it. So, in looking at the second image, it comes to no shock that religion must be mocked. In his poem, Alexander Pope does not try to be coy about who he is trying to make a statement about. He is straightforward and while the image is meant to mock Pope himself, it comes off more as fuel to the fire, a greater need for people to read his work in order to understand that the image is merely promoting his work. In the image there are two distinct animals presented, the rat and the donkey and the statement is quite clear that pope is disgusting and an ass[hole]. Why put this forward unless its creator was deeply offended for Pope using satire to point out the truth and flaws of both religion, society but also what is a legitimate work of literature.

 

The gath’ring number, as it moves along,

Involves a vast involuntary throng,

Who gently drawn, and struggling less and less,

Roll in her Vortex, and her pow’r confess.

Not those alone who passive own her laws,

But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause.

Whate’er of dunce in College or in Town

Sneers at another, in toupee or gown;

Whate’er of mungril no one class admits,

A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.

 

In the above passage, it is very obvious that no one is immune to stupidity. The last line specifically calls out anyone of both extremes of the intelligence spectrum to indicate how at the end of the day we are all at the base, human. No matter the change of scenery or schooling, everyone is the same in the sense that we are all human and not a rat or a donkey. In that phrase alone, Pope is denouncing all his critics because the way that it comes across is that at the end of the day people are going to be reading his works more often than they will be seeing an image that someone who had gotten offended and had to retaliate some way (which unlike today would be calling someone out on Twitter, they choose to spend time drawing that). Pope knew his work would thus be remembered for the nature of it being blunt and calling out people to realize their privilege and not be so self centered that their works may not be the next big thing. In doing so, he is trying to give them a reality check that not everyone can write the greatest poem, epic, play, Bible, etc. and to in a sense be open to criticism. So, people can rant all they want but in order to be an author and not someone who just writes stuff, they have to have a backbone and understand that criticism is not a personal attack but a tool to help make a work better. And if they choose to believe that it is the greatest thing on earth, then they are merely a dunce with wits.

 

Today’s post was brought to you by Xotchitl Garibay and the letter “S” for satire and the number “2” for the 2 cent speech that is not always needed.

Religion isn’t a joke, Jim. Millions suffer from it every year.

It is one thing to repeat a question, to try and use it as a gateway to spark a conversation, but to answer it with another question means that you can never understand what to overall message that we are striving to denounce. We know that through history we have realized the atrocities indigenous people were forced to and yet the bias that exist tries to sugarcoat it the way Disney turns a tale of death and depression into a happy go lucky song number followed by true love’s kiss. But the purpose here is not to acknowledge the controversial history of Disney, it’s to acknowledge the dehumanization of indigenous people. When it comes to accounts like Mary Rowlandson, it is best to approach it with a grain of salt. There are always multiple sides to a story which is why the narrative does not just end at the massacre. Instead, her as a captive is shocking since the Europeans are the ones to always conquer, never to be the one that is overthrown. As much as it can be seen as a form of understanding to let Mary do her thing and practice her religion, it is that religion which fueled the unspoken genocide of the indigenous people.

While this piece can be seen as a way to engage the white audience and say “hey they aren’t all savages” that word savages will still be in connection to them, just another way to further that divide and dehumanize a human. One comment in discussion was made that tried to claim that it is in human nature that we segregate but it is the influence of religion that causes Mary to have a closeted perspective of her captors. It is not human nature, it is a social construct. So even if we were to flip the script, swap the roles to have the indigenous be the captive, the narrative would change and not for the better. We as humans are all different and have come to realize that race falls into that category but the reality of the world that we live in today would mean the actions of a flipped script would be overlooked. To put us all together in one category and say we are the savages is a lie as we are all individuals, but it pulls us all back into this never-ending cycle of placing the blame on everyone and not the ones who committed.

This is why specificity matters but the current dilemma we now face in our society washes over it. It can be said the worst thing to do is commit murder, but it is only because of the rules a society sets in place (if a serial killer didn’t know killing was a bad thing or just didn’t have remorse then they may never be able to fully understand the gravity of their actions because they just don’t know *cough cough* Gaston). So, while some may find peace in death due to their religious beliefs, it works to justify the action. But, the collective we do not all follow the same beliefs and would prefer life over death. For this, it doesn’t complicate because it is easy to dismiss by saying it is the oddity, the exception to the overall belief and thus still leading the unspoken indigenous people and leading to the plays that focus on a fabled romance about Cortez rather than the truth but at least here, there is more color to the truth.

Xotchitl Marisol Garibay

Before It Was Disney

When initially reading the play, I kept coming back to Pocahontas, specifically the one produced by Disney. Why this one in specific stems from the fact that the intense romance between her and John Smith at times felt to unbearable. While I applaud its intentions to depict a strong woman of color, we find that like the common Disney princess trope, the men are the ones fighting the “real” war and the women are just damsels in distress.

Why I connect it with this piece is the push for both Cydaria and Cortez to be in love does not feel natural which, given its contexts, is understandable. But for the time that this piece was intended for, this so-called love (which felt more like physical attraction) was more to justify the actions of the war. Since the whole focus being on loyalty and love, it is almost as if the war is a background character as the audience is more concerned with the love triangle novella rather than the political issues at hand. All this works to act as a distraction so that those who are in the audience are misguided and led to think that Cortez is a man of morals while not truthfully reflecting the unbiased historic narrative. It is better to have a feel-good ending hence the way it ends how it does, but without the hint of unity almost conveys that there is no equality.

By not having it explicitly stated, the idea of a man of status marrying outside of societal expectations hints at how such a relationship can never really exist for the idea of it would mean their humanization meaning that the indigenous people who should be treated with respect.

-Xotchitl Garibay