Creative Writing Project

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The Convict 2019

The warm light of the evening hit me from the side of my face;

–On the side of a hill I stood,

Happiness at the moment ever fleeting me while calm left my body

Through the freeness of my body there in the beauty of nature.

“Why must I leave from such safeness and calmness? Why must I seperate?”

My pained spirit spoke,

Agony struck me as I turned in, hope of fixing him fleeting,

The person in which laid in the cell; the convict; the victim

The thick beige walls showed the shadow of the victim

The victims prison being nothing but a dungeon in disguise

At this sight; I stay still

The outcast being failed by a criminal justice system; pity

His hair dark and not cared for; his back hunched,

His exhales turning into deep sighs,

His wallowing in the loss of his hope for the future

The impending doom of his life being over

Pity and sadness at this sight,

The body and mind dejected from care;

He notices me an anchor for a broken system

This hideous image lay in front me.

He withers emotionally, socially, and physically,

For he wishes he can change the past;

For his crime defines him, overwhelms him, he states

His views darken as for socially he is dead

From the group of those sentencing him,

To his dungeon he was lead by an atrocious malignancy,

All those that can soothe his pain not having the resources,

He lay his sorrows in a cold cell

But in his depression, he is consumed, in his mind he is stuck

His conscience his torture for he cannot bring appease to it,

In his agony he cannot reach tranquility,

His imprisonment being his life’s disease.

At night his soul cannot reach rest while these emotions press on his limbs,

The weight of these emotions being unbearable on his body,

For his sleep lacks actual rest with the memories of his crime haunting,

The wretchedness of the implications of his conviction waying on him

His chains being the walls that confine him and dull his future,

Cold-sweats beat on his skin trying to exude his crime

And terror strikes in his heart

He raises his eyes to meet mine; they sink in, deep into my soul,

A tear slides down his face;

Sorrow and silence is the only motions to occur

He proceeds to ask me why I am there

“Poor convict! In all reality, alone you are…

In comparison to you our states being completely different

For I the warden and you the convict; failed by a system

I am your brother and I share your sorrows”

Compassion fills me, but I cannot do anything by the nature of our roles,

My care cannot do anything, but if I were God it would,

If I had the resources to plant your future you would blossom

Review:

William Wordsworth’s “The Convict” is a political statement that tries to bring to light the injustices that come along with the criminal justice system and specifically; with issues regarding imprisonment. In my parody of his work, I attempted to conduct a contemporary approach in which the jailer observing the prisoner is sympathetic towards the prisoners situation due to him knowing that he cannot help the prisoner due to the failure of the structure of the criminal justice system. I wanted to focus on this subject matter due to the fact that back when this was published; this was a very politically controversial subject as it is now. Furthermore, it is one of my favorite poems from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s & William Wordsworth’s, “Lyrical Ballads 1798 and 1800” and its controversial nature I felt allowed me to communicate how a modern prisoner feels and experiences being imprisoned; but, as stated, with a more modern approach. This parody, like it’s mother poem, I wanted to be emotional by focusing on how Romanticism evokes emotion over reason traditionally, partnered with the employment of Romanticism’s concept of “senses over intellect (lecture notes #8).” What can be explained from my parody is that the jailer, like in the original, feels deep empathy for the jailed; but cannot do anything about the prisoners future and current state. All of this ultimately making the jailer feel trapped emotionally along with the prisoner due to him knowing how the system works by him also being a part of it. Wordsworth piece has notably been taking out of certain additions of the “Lyrical Ballads”; and it is one of the strongest pieces in the book. This being one of the biggest reason why I picked it; it’s controversial nature. This form of protest is powerful due to how it evokes loneliness, pain, and sorrow. With my parody I hope to evoke such emotions about the wrongdoings of the criminal justice system through the eyes of a warden and through a prisoner.
-Isabel P

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My Truth through Blake and Shelley

 

The United States, 2019

Inspired by William Blake

I walk through the loud-quiet streets,

Where no one is a friend or a foe.

And I try to smile at every face I meet

But I am forsaken of the hate, I am filled with woe.

 

In every cry of every Woman,

In every immigrant taken away,

In every march, in every game plan

I feel left out from the alleyway

 

How the unheard cry,

Every religion in remorse,

I cannot just sit around waiting to die

For in the end, I would be just a lying corpse

 

But I ask what can I participate in?

What can I do than just give my time?

There is a power growing within

And it will lead to wartime

 

The U.S. in 2019

Inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, racist, orange, loathed, and lying President;

Privileged, the ignorant of the majority, who trickle

Through with their public persona, —blood from a fountain of tears;

Lawmakers who neither see nor comprehend, scared to lose a nickel,

But as if they are moths to a flame when their people give false cheers

Till they realize the insincere, acting what is wanted, but are with minds of fickle.

People of color mocked and imprisoned in the unrecognizable towns;

An unforeseen alliance, who will bring about change

Will attempt to start a battle where many will be brought down;

Obscure and buoyant laws which persuade for an understanding exchange;

Scientific Religion, God-filled—a fate sealed;

A senate, the people’s worst statute, a constant battlefield—-

Filled with the graves of those who would have brought great reign

But are forgotten and ignored until another chance comes again

 

Merced, 2019

Inspired by William Blake

I walk through the green filled land,

Where there is a serene mood at every corner

Given my status from the city, I want to understand firsthand,

Why such a quiet calm place makes me feel like a foreigner

 

In every local business that spews their time,

In every Mercedian trying to get by,

I feel as though I am always on the climb,

To try and reach a point where all I can do is try

 

How the locals try to smile at the youth,

How the school tries to make their problems anew

Living here is like I’m living in my untruth

Constantly and always feeling blue

 

But I do try my best to try and appreciate

For Merced is quite its own unique place

I often wonder if my presence here is fate

But for now, that’s an unresolved case

 

Review:

What I’ve always appreciated about English and writing is that it’s a way and approach for people to display their own personal truth. For my creative project, I decided to write different versions of Percy Shelley and William Blake’s poems about London, but for the writings to speak my own truth about how I see the United States and Merced right now. Two very conflicting topics for me as I have a lot of love and distrust over both places at the current moment.

I knew I wanted to continue writing under the influence of Blake as I found his poem, London, 1802, incredibly moving and easy to understand. I followed his format of alternate rhyme, or most often known as ABAB rhyme scheme, and I kept his constant question asking tactics to evoke a sense of worry and plea for the reader. Percy Shelley’s poem was, to be frank, a poem that I struggled with in both reading and writing it. I understood what Shelley was trying to say and evoke in his poem but translating it for a more modern audience was a challenge. It almost followed the rhyme scheme of a Ballade but not exactly. It was, however, close enough where I knew where to rhyme and how to form lines that didn’t read as fillers for a rhyme scheme. Shelley also goes through stages of criticism and analysis when writing his poem, which I tried to replicate by overtly writing my disapproval of what’s happening in today’s politics while also writing lines as a bystander witnessing everything.

I wouldn’t say I parodied Blake or Shelley, I believe I took influences in the manner that they wrote and the topics they posed and transformed them into a more modern setting with current topics that my classmates would empathize with. I wrote two based on the United States because the one thing everybody can agree on today is that we are drastically divided in opinions and ideas. It’s important to have conversations addressing these issues so that was my reasoning for writing those poems. The one poem of Merced was my take and ode to what my time in Merced has shown/taught me. I see it as a continuation of my poem about San Francisco I wrote for the class a few weeks ago and I liked the idea of writing about Merced. The poems aren’t exactly imitations of Shelley and Wordsworth because I didn’t copy line by line or even formatted the lines the same way. I followed their rhyme scheme and writing tactics more than anything. Overall, Shelley and Blake are two great writers who taught me a lot about writing poetry and it was therapeutic writing these poems.

-Abe Alvarez

Gulliver’s College Travels

The herd of cows ambushed me from the parking lot and pushed my car through the parking lot and. Eventually, I was left alone on what at first seemed to be the uncharted plains of the Vernal Pools Reserve, considering there was not a single trail to be seen for miles. As I paced the tall grasses, I heard several soft popping sounds and a gust of warm wind.

Turning back, I saw a peculiar specimen, a horrendous breed both in physical appearance and etiquette. He was not an upright individual but instead his body bent backwards. So far did it go back that his head was stuck in his anus. Because of this position their vision was compromised and their eyes evolved to sit atop their waist. Similarly, their speech was also impeded and had to communicate through their rears. Every word they uttered was followed by the release of a flatulence, which was not just a release of breath but a genuine fart that smelled of fecal matter and Pavilion burritos.

“I… am… Butkus,” said the Creature. “Who… are… you?” I responded with my name and, the name of my school; I was certain he would recognize the innovation and prestige of “University of California, UC Merced.” The school is after all the youngest university and beacon that will lead the future to success— what with students like me.

The Creature stood still in front of me, his eyes looked up from his groin area where they were located. I asked him if he had heard of the school’s but not even the lightest toot escaped his body. I found it preposterous someone, would be so ignorant as to not know of UC UC Merced and proceeded to educate Butkus on my university.

I began by explaining the diversity of courses we students are required to take and the abundance of knowledge we take in. I couldn’t finish my lecture without mentioning the student body and the campus’ expansion; I gave detail on the new housing buildings, parking area, dining center, and downtown administrative building where the chancellor makes decisions.

Butkus didn’t express the same enthusiasm and apologized for not seeing the greatness of the institution. He admitted he was confused on the practices I described. In regards to the course requirements, Butkus said he did not see the point of students exhausting their intellect on classes that did not align with the future they hoped to pursue. If the students were to lead the future to success, as I had said, and have already selected their path, then he would imagine attention would be given to developing the specialized skills necessary in their desired field, rather than worrying about performing well in a course whose teachings won’t be utilized by them. Butkus argued the yearly influxes of students, and that the overall manner the university was developing, was a disservice to the existing student body already had enough trouble enrolling in necessary courses. The sights of the university’s highest leaders seem to be set on the completion of infrastructure and accumulation of paying students, instead of investing knowledgeable personnel that can resolve student’s educational and mental concerns— and not look out for their own professional interests. I would never dare repeat in either speech or print the insulting words Butkus evacuated from his rear, especially to a university-educated on my level of intellect.

I would not stand for the slander he uttered against my school and myself. I proclaimed that he has not experienced the and, therefore, has no authority to reason that it is a poor system. He turned his bent back to me replied with his usual flatulence, “Neither do your representatives if they experience the university from the comfort of the administrative offices everyday— away from you and your concerns. I may have my head up my arse, but they are the ones who are full of shit.”

 

Review:

For my creative writing post, I decided to do an imitation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels that satirizes the effects of a poor administration on a university University heads don’t always cater to the needs of their students as they advertise they do. I admired the way Swift wove his criticism of the English into his work in a fairly discrete manner. To achieve the same effect, I tried to use the same irony and outlandishness scenarios. The encounter between Butkus and proud college Gulliver, for example, is a replication of the scene in the novel where the king of Brobdingnag questions the efficacy of the English government. In my rendition, I use the narration like Swift, where Gulliver reports through his voice what was said by the other character and creates a distance between the criticism and himself. He becomes an ultimately unreliable, unaware narrator that doesn’t realize he is bringing to the attention of the reader he vowed not to repeat. Butkus’ physical appearance, along with his reasoning for looking down at the university system, serves as irony to point out the idiocy of  administrative staff who try to ignore real issues altogether. Butkus may literally have his head up his rear and lacks experience in higher education, but, despite this, he is still able to see the flaws and negligence done by the university heads. It is the administration who has their heads up their behinds because they do not realize the exist of these issues, or refuse to address because they have another agenda to fulfill. Gulliver’s lack of awareness, although he boasts of his intellect and the knowledge he gained from attending university, is a product of the mismanaged and corrupted system as a result. Despite this creative piece being centered around UC Merced, I think this piece, like Swift’s novel, can be applied to any form of leadership, whether social or political; an interest in advancing a person’s own agenda and ignoring, or being oblivious to, the needs of people they are suppose to look out for is not limited to the scenario I presented.

-Wendy Gutierrez

The Given Seven

Prepared to spew a bomb,

It’s a kid with his mom.

Dinner they ate far apart,

Because he has a broken heart.

 

Why is our family oh so small?

Our family is a perfect size,

Can’t you see with those two eyes?

But is it only you and me, against it all?

 

We have five, five angels now in heaven.

But why must our family be so broken,

Sorry if I sound to have misspoken.

If you believe, we are seven.

 

But we never eat together.

A family is strong, no matter what.

But the future is not always clean cut.

I guess we’ll never be altogether.

 

Guess again, my little one.

If I’ll never get to see them, 

They’re nothing but a secret gem.

Oh, like father, like son.

 

Don’t you ever miss dad?

Every day, in the morning blue,

But all I think about is you.

Does that make you sad?

 

Never because he keeps us protected.

How come if I can’t see him,

All this is oh so grim.

Child, we are all interconnected.

 

I just wish that he was here.

He is to protect us forever,

No matter what endeavor. 

But his just nowhere, far or near.

 

Although he may be gone,

He would want us to be strong,

Because life keeps running along.

Now that’s something I can’t impose on.

 

What’s that you meant from the start?

Yes, regardless if they’re in heaven,

We are the given seven.

I now have to hold them, close to heart.

 

Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Edgar, and Lance.

All of them want you to cheerful,

Even if life is oh so fearful.

Let me take this one new chance.

 

Now, you see our family not so small?

My eyes were just so shut,

I surely feel like a butt.

This is our family, all in all.

 

Thank you, mom, I now understand.

I only want the best for you,

Because I’ll be here, through and through.

I really just needed that helping hand.

 

Now they feast with so much glee,

Not so blind for those we can’t see.

Because regardless if they’re in heaven,

They are the given seven.


I wanted to give my own intake on William Wordsworth’s, We Are Seven. It was an amazing peace on how a simple child who holds his loved ones so dear at heart, regardless of him not knowing of the afterlife, he still acknowledges their existence. In my take, I wanted to use the same scenario, but with a child that know about death, and who hated the fact that his family is so small. He knew that his family suffered a tragic accident that costed the lives of his father, grandparents, and dogs, Edgar and Lance. The mother, comforting him, made him realize that his family is still a huge part of him, but they lie solely in his heart.

Even if they’re not here physically, what matters more is what influences they had towards the child and what lessons they managed to teach him prior to their passing. Everyone hold family dear to their hearts, and death will always be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that family should be accounted for just by physical attendance. Memories can truly establish a person and that is the message that the mother wants to give to her son. Nothing is meant to be forever, but that is what makes everything so much more cherishable in life.

I began and ended with the AABB sequence, but went with the ABBA sequence within the conversation of the child and his mother, to be able to differentiate the narrator from the characters.

– Stephen Muñoz

The Rime of the Stubborn Procrastinator

It is a stubborn procrastinator

Of course, he is up late

Beard overgrown, hair a mess he looks up

Why does he stay up so late, why take the bait.

 

The classroom’ doors are spread wide open

My test is to be turned in

A line forms to turn in papers

The stubborn procrastinator walks in, his paper next of kin.

 

In his crusty, bloodshot eye he holds…

The rest of the class go about their day

No one notices, no one cares of the message he beholds

But you, you take a look into those eyes that have turned glazed

 

The student was excited, glee filled his eyes

One chapter ended and a new one was about to begin

School hasn’t  been a breeze for him, not so easy

Being brought up with good morals, patience and discipline.

 

Sacrifice and determination got him here from high school to university

He was no strangers to late nights, even then

A heavy curse inflicted on him, where all his work is done last second

And now the curse is back, it is here again.

 

The constant view into his eyes, piercing like mirrors

All of a sudden, you become him

And you remember all of the past events that led you there.

Clear as day, even at night, the picture is not so dim.

 

And now the RESEARCH – PAPER  came, and he

Was weak-willed he knew it was going to take a night long.

He was struck no desire to write anytime before the night before

And waited for the day to come along, how wrong.

 

The stubbornness was here, the stubbornness was there,

The stubbornness was all around:

It cracked and hissed, and growled and kissed

Like roots growing in the ground

 

With stubbornness breeds ignorance, and impotence

There is time for the gym, time for a few youtube videos

Even time for some video games, and Netflix

Look upon this throne of disruptions he bestows.

 

At length did cross a DISTRACTION for our little student

Through the nothingness it came out, reaching out towards them

As if it had been a hand trying to grab our little student

We cursed it, yet became enthralled by it’s over looming presence.

 

Our direction became misguided, our attention diverted from the research paper

Now it was going towards the DISTRACTION and we were falling headfirst

In our heads we knew that we would write the paper, just not now

First comes the distraction, then the paper, but now quench this thirst.

 

I was having fun, completely ignoring my paper.

It was always on my mind, leeching onto the back of my brain

I knew I had to stop soon, opportunities like this would be seldom

Sweat wiped my eyes, like rain

 

‘God save me, STUBBORN PROCRASTINATOR!

From the disruptions that plague universities

Why thou look anywhere else but myself?

I shot the DISTRACTION

 

I looked upon the ticking time

And my eyes darted from side to side

I looked upon my research paper

With nothing done I knew I was in for a ride

 

Yet I finished of course, on time.

I wear this curse on my neck

Its me in my prime

I need to look at myself, give myself a good check

Reflection: Like many others I assume, I wanted to modernize Wordsworth’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. I settled for my version to captivate not only a modern audience, but an immediate audience. This is a poem that many students, including myself can relate to. It has to deal with the typical university student who procrastinates their assignments last second.

I gave the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’ a persona, I gave it a picture people can see. While many may not immediately want to be compared to someone as ugly as that, they will later see that they aren’t that different. I feel that if I gave the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’ it gave the poem a sense of immediacy, and made it almost more intimate, There is a character we can connect the poem right from the beginning. There is another unspoken character who observes the procrastinator in the classroom, and not much is given about this character, because it’s supposed to be in the perspective of the reader. Just like the reader, this unspoken character looks at the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator’s” eyes and then observes their perspective. The whole point was to blur the lines between whose perspectives we were switching from and to. Both the unspoken person, and the ‘Stubborn Procrastinator” are supposed to be the same person. With, hopefully, the reader finding themselves part of it too. The poem was to highlight just the number of students who are indeed procrastinators themselves, and meant to highlight their struggles in the university setting. In a parody attempt there are stanzas that are very similar to Wordsworth’s own lines, in order to see the connection in both poems. This poem is a parody, the Albatross instead of leading towards clearer waters, instead leads our reader towards more distractions. And while death isn’t present, we know from Wordsworth Version that it is coming, and while it’s not here, time is the lurking danger. We know it’s bound to come, and it will always affect our protagonist in their journey to finish at the last second.

  • Robert Morales

The Lost Entry

980xCredit: Glam&Gore on YouTube

The Lost Entry

Of the mystical creatures of the sea; their danger, their beliefs,

their customs. The author’s way of controlling the fate of

the monsters. His vindication of the mer-species.

0X May, 17XX

Although I intended to leave the description of this species to a particular minimum, yet, I cannot ignore the beautiful terror that was before my eyes. We were near the coastline of Lilliput, almost reaching the land that was promised to be gorgeous beyond belief. They seemed to glow from underneath their skin, vivid hues of azure and crimson that I had never seen before. I saw them when I looked out into the vast sea. At first glance, I thought that it was a trick of the light. But when I asked my crewmen to look out and alas, they could not deny the sight of these mighty creatures. We had no knowledge of what they were. Mr. Bates and the crew of the Swallow never shared stories of these…fish? Women? Fish-women? As far as I knew, they had never been seen before. I was the first to see their stunning gills travel along the waves.

My crewmen wanted to capture one of these magnificent beasts and subject them to queries about their culture and ways of living. They could not believe their eyes, that there were such creatures that lived in the ocean as human-fish hybrids. I warned them against this, as there was no telling what the consequences of such an action would be. Eventually, I was able to deviate their minds from such a thought, or so I believed. That night, they snuck out onto the dock and taunted the creatures. They didn’t believe what I had warned them of. We lost a sailor that night. All because they would not listen to my word. The captain’s word. It’s their own damn fault. These poor souls, we have to protect them from man’s selfish hand.

I must destroy this notation. Humanity cannot know what I have seen. They will harm it, make it as wretched as they have made themselves. I have to hide my discovery of these beautiful creatures, but I must also ensure that none of my crewmates spread rumors about their existence.

Whatever it takes.

Tomorrow, I must take the ship. I need to find a way to leave my crew behind, to leave them to their deaths. Those bastards did not even listen to my simple order, they deserve to stay stranded. There’s nothing that could change my mind. I have to do what I can in order to save these beautiful creatures. No—I must name them. Sea-ladies? Oceanic-women? Mer-maids? Mermaids. That will be their name, that only I know. Nothing can harm them, not with every memory of them being wiped away. Diary, I must throw you into the depths of the sea. After I do what I must with my crew, you will be the last thing to go. No one can know the mysteries I’ve found. This is the end.


Review:

For this project, I wanted to focus on my favorite novel throughout the course, Gulliver’s Travels. When looking for inspiration for what to write about, I remembered that an SFX makeup artist on YouTube, under the channel name Glam&Gore, made herself into a beautifully terrifying luminescent mermaid. Once I refreshed my memory on the makeup look, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and how I would go about writing it. Following the same style as the different entries that were written throughout Gulliver’s Travels, I created a lost entry that exposed the existence of mermaids. Although all the action throughout the novel were an exaggeration, I wanted something to actually be true. The one thing that Gulliver encountered that was actually real, he would never be able to share because of his desire to protect them from the harm that humanity would inevitably force them to undergo. I wanted this lost entry to vaguely mirror the passion the Gulliver develops for the Houyhnhnms towards the end of the novel. I wanted his fascination with the mermaids to be the catalyst for his future fascination with the Houyhnhnms. Through the addition of this entry, I wanted to expose the selfishness, but also the care, that Gulliver has for living creatures. While he may not have cared too much for humanity by the end of Gulliver’s Travels, he definitely would have been one to take care of animal creatures whenever he saw them in need. I really hope you enjoyed my twist on the novel.

Esther Quintanilla

Strings Under Tension

When did this guitar of mine sleep?

When will this crocus bouquet bloom?

When, if there is no time to keep?

A song of cherished hope now spells out our concaving doom.

 

Such songs feel like lifetimes ago.

A collective sigh, one of mine

Cast down into the undertow.

A bittersweet collection of moss gathered overtime.

 

Without context, where is feeling?

Its origin is allusive

Yet our doubt is left in passing

Longing for a time that never existed is nestled within the impulsive.

 

A jest is made in the cold dark

So that it might not seem as bleak,

By proxy, nothing goes unmarked.

We are together laughing, sickened by the joy of grief

 

I cherish the ever-tranquil rain

So long as I’m not drenched by it

It recalls the absence of pain

Despite our separation, its presence dampens my windows, washing us both into the pit.

 

Through every nation this ran

Vicarious pipes of knowledge,

Which reach the sunken eyes of man

Every new experience brings us closer to an inviting edge.

 

Oh no, the stone sinks in deep waters

Somber, still, confused of its course

My guitar is damp and faltered

Dragged down by a stone so unclear in its source.

 

It sinks in a bland grey palette,

Of such a city-scape we dwell

Through rivers which run like faucets

In nature’s demented hell.

 

It falls into virtual planes

A social hub of loneliness,

Collective misery and rain

Within the dank depths comes the Loch Ness.

 

It sinks through silent moonlit nights

A bedroom drenched in a blue hue

Restless beds, stained in nurtured frights

Down the corridors of such streets, lined in blue.

 

Throughout the stone has fallen deep

No longer do I hear the song

No longer does my guitar weep

Instead I spin, tick an hour, and ask where it all went wrong.

 

How we feed that which we all give

Give what we repeat to ourselves

In bleeding sympathy, we live

From us who vicariously live in different realms.

 

My guitar is kept in storage

It gave me what I entrusted,

And now leaves me here to forage,

In this world which I feel is maladjusted.

 

Now I’m left with a droning tone,

That has found no place in any note

A dissonant tune, not alone.

It’s left under the table, covering our throats.

 

From darkness comes a crackling fire

Men and women of charred cinder

Guitars tossed into the pyre,

And our symphony of fire will not be hindered.

 

Review

I chose to reimagine Sydney Owenson’s “Why Sleeps the Harp of Erin’s Pride” because it initially spoke to me. I had initially read the poem as a song of perseverance through oppressive times and the fangs that perseverance has. Having connections to the oppression of the Irish people by the English, I still believe this interpretation to be the most probable. Yet stripping the historical context, I took something different from it. Mainly the effects an oppressive environment has on a group of individuals within their social circle. This oppression isn’t exclusively cornered to the type that the Irish faced, rather oppression as a general concept.

I applied this to my generation, as I’ve seen, purely on anecdotal evidence, that my generation is much more pessimistic than others. Specifically, pessimistic about our society and its structures, all the way up to the school system itself; which carries a level of irony considering this was an assignment. And I’ve always found it interesting how my generation vents this deeply rooted frustration with our world. Firstly, I replaced the symbol of the harp with a guitar. Mostly because I felt this instrument symbolized the birth of our generation through the rise of rock and pop which popularized the guitar. Secondly, I wrote mostly in iambic tetrameter, with deviations at the end of each stanza. I did this as the original poem also wrote in this meter but with some deviations within it. I chose to leave my deviations at the end because I wanted to make those particular lines feel uncomfortable.

I began with discussing jokes, or “jests” in my generation. Meme culture isn’t only concerned with comedy, but it is a contextualization of our world, as ridiculous as that sounds. My generation is in love with dark humor, and those concerned with the struggles of living in this world and making fun of them. Comedy is a coping mechanism and this generation leans on that.

I also touched on social media and how we vicariously suffer as a result because of our exposure to so much information. Often, this information isn’t positive, and our mental health suffers for it as well as our hope for a prosperous future.

I begin the poem with a sentiment of longing towards my youth. Where such dark realities weren’t confronting me as they are in this time and my life like many others my age. Yet by the end I express that the guitar has been retired, and much like the Irish in the original poem, through oppression comes a fire. Whether because of pessimism or not, there is no doubt that my generation is very vocal about their frustrations with this world with a fiery energy.

-Daniel R.

Inspired by Rip Van Winkle: Chogan, an Alogian Tale

Image result for algonquin tribe

http://www.native-languages.org/algonquian-legends.htm

Chogan was his name he was known for being part of the Tribe’s watchmen. Everyone did their part in unison as part of the gifts that mother nature had bestowed on them. Women and children equal to the men of the tribe because they depended on each other. Most men would go hunt for the days’ time or talk among other tribes for goods. Life was serene and peaceful. Nadie and Pules were the wives of chief elder Eluwilussit. During the gathering time, the children, men, women, and Chogan would listen to the tales of wise wives. They told of times where Nanabosho, a man friend to the rabbits, bravely fought off the evil water spirits and saved our tribes. Sometimes they would tell legends of the Pukudgies who in their mischief play tricks around the mountains.

 

The land was abundant and generous in its spirits. Birds chirped and the land was filled with trees, lakes, and animals. Sometimes Chogan would take the children with their small spears and teach them how to hunt. He would remind them of the paths to mark if should anyone get lost. All the kids were smiling and cheerful. Treading softly and cautiously sometimes they would come home will many fishes. All the kids would run back into their huts showing their parents their prize. Smiling Chogan would tread carefully into his own hut where his best friend lay, his animosh (dog), wolf. Wagging his tail wolf licked his face removing all sweat from his cheeks. Petting he set aside his satchel and breathed in. That day he had seen a herd of deer and wanted to hunt one for the whole tribe. However, the deer herd was by the Haunted Mountain where Pukwudgies, little forest people, tricksters who have misplaced some tribesmen.

 

Unable to contain his curiosity and excitement he set out to hunt them. Wolf followed him and he began to walk towards the familiar marked trees.

“Chogan where are you headed?” the voice said to him. Turning around he saw Wematin, child of Biwilka. The little child grinned with a one-toothed smile. His long black hair nearly covered his whole bare back. He had large round black eyes that were currently sparkling with curiosity. The most noticeable feature of Wematin was a scar on his left eyebrow he had gotten it from hunting a squirrel. Shaking his head from the memory. He addressed the following.

 

“First of all, you cannot come with me,” Chogan replied with a stern voice.

“Aww come on Cho—” his whining voice was cut off right before it woke up anyone else.

“Second of all, I will be going to the forbidden mountains.” He whispered. Wematin’s eye’s widened.

“But they are forbidden, why are you going over there?” He asked.

“I found a herd of deer,” he replied.

“Wow! That could feed everyone in the village!” he shouted happily.

“Shh!” retorted Chogan placing his hand on Wematin’s mouth.

“Okay I will wait right here okay?” whispered Wematin.

“Don’t tell anyone I want it to be a surprise.” Winked Chogan. He began treading up the mountain towards the place where he last saw the herd of deer. Soon enough he saw a bent figure.

“Who is there?” Chogan questioned as Wolf barked. The figure appeared before his eyes. It was an old man naked with warrior marked paint across his chest and cheeks.

“Come along boy,” the old man responded. Chogan stood up Wolf hiding behind him.

“Sorry I cannot you see I am—”

“Waiting for the herd of deer to pass by?” the old man cut him off.

“Yes,” Chogan replied surprised at the man’s intuition.

“They will come soon enough I just need to get back to my men but have trouble with my old bones,” The man responded. Nodding Chogan helped the old man to deeper into the mountains Meanwhile, Wolf treaded behind them whining under his breath.

Around a circle of rocks were other men wearing the same clothes and warrior pain across their chests and cheeks. They were signing and drinking from a small bottle.

“Come sit down, this young man helped me, so let’s celebrate,” the old man said addressing his fellow men. They all nodded and one of them passed Chogan the bottle. In this odd situation, Chogan decided to accommodate to the old man’s wises and drank.

 

A loud sound ripped through the skies. Chogan awoke in an instant. Alarmed and disoriented he looked around and the old men were gone. Whistling he called to Wolf, but he never came. Standing up his satchel fell stiff and old. Brushing it off and putting it back on he walked back to the huts. Wolf and his spears were gone surely it must have been the old men playing tricks on him.

 

Black slithers of smoke lightened the skies. All the tribesmen were gathered in a large crowd with spears in their hands and red painted cheeks.

“Men what is going on?” question Chogan.

“Who are you?” questioned another man who Chogan had never seen in his life. He thought he knew everyone.

“I am Chogan,” he replied.

“Chogan is that really you?” a man stepped out from the crowd. Others mounting their horses.

“Wematin hurry there is not enough time, they are closing in fast and killing everyone,” said the leader.

Wematin was now a full-grown man. His height was greater than that of Chogan. His scar was barely visible, and his long black hair was cut short.

 

“Chogan by spirits you have aged! I thought you lost forever it’s been twenty years.” Wematin embraced him.

“Wait twenty years for was only gone a night!” he replied.

“No, look at you, your hair is long with streaks of silver and lines cover your face. You have aged,” said Wematin somberly.

 

Touching his hair he saw the long silver streaks dominating its once black color. Unable to stand Chogan fell on his knees. This can’t be he thought. It must be a dream.

“Chogan you must leave with the women and children. War is about to befall into our lands. Many have already died.” Wematin said.

“War with who,” that must be crazy he thought.

“White folks have broken many promises. They plan to take our lands next. We must fight to take back what is rightfully ours. Go on you are an elder and others need your help,” Wematin said as he mounted his horse. Chogan looked around. Birds fleeing away their cheerful chirps were gone. It was quiet and desolate. The sky was tainted with billowing streaks of smoke. He could see it all the way from where he stood. This was not his home. Cries and loud sounds were heard from a distance. He ran towards the group of huddled tribes’ women, children, and elderly men. He was greeted with shaking frames and tired eyes.

 

The story I have tried to imitate was inspired by Rip Van Winkle, through an Alogian native American character, Chogan. I know that the history of these two subjects is very apart, but I was drawn to the previously discussed natives that were mostly erased from the colonization of the United States. The story is set around an Alogian tribe who haven’t yet encountered the start of colonization. So, in a sense, everything is good just like Van Winkle and his daily life. I followed along and kept some of the original story parts like the dog Wolf, setting, and the shift of time. However, the change occurred within the original Algonquian folklore like the Pukudgies, who are mischievous little people. In the story, these little forest people are the ones that lead Chogan astray and get him drunk. When he wakes up, he is not met with political change and othering. He is the othered that is in the middle of a war within the native Algonquian and the American colonizers. Morphing the stories is similar to both themes of displacement and loss of identity that continued within the native American people. For the Dutch, they lost their freedom and their language as the New settlers overtook.

— Karla Garcia Barrera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

121412

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

Chapter 1: El Salvador

No sooner had the plane come to a stop than a big crowd had gathered waiting for the passengers to be released. Among those who were waiting to get off the plane was Don Amilcar, an elderly man with promise of the past in his eyes. This man and I stood in line to deplane and while I tried to ignore his presence I couldn’t help but think he could give me some serious advice on how to navigate El Salvador for the first time. I had not intention of staying long but I still believed some guidance would be helpful when interacting with the locals – I was nervous. I made conversation with Don Amilcar and we eventually began discussing the value of developing a good relationship with the locals as to not offend them. As we began to deplane our conversation was cut short but he managed to hurriedly hand me a piece of paper as he made his way out. As I awaited my turn I unfolded the paper to which outlined the following rules: 

“#1) Treat the locals with the upmost respect. Remember: this is their home and you are no more than a visitor. While you may feel at home they are at home. 

#2) When giving a local a gift assign one person to represent the family. Not everyone must be there – it feels like charity and they will not like that! 

#3) No limits on gifts exist. It is important to remember that by purchasing a ticket that allows you to be on this plane you are already more fortunate than most every person you will encounter during your stay. 

#4) Every person employed by your estate should be paid fair and reasonable wages for the work they do. Do not give yourself discounts on their behalf…it is distasteful and rude. They deserve to make the same money as anyone doing work where you come from. 

#5) Any person who does not respect the work of the locals will face ridicule and will have a though time finding anyone willing to work under their estate for years to come. 

Tratalos bien, mija (treat them well)

D.A. “

As soon as I was able I hopped of the plane and made my way through customs all the while looking around for Don Amilcar. While in baggage claim I spotted a woman who shared a face with Don Amilcar – she had to be his daughter. She, much like her father before her, carried herself with grace and elegance unmatched by anyone I’d ever encountered. I considered approaching her to wait with her while her father made his way out but I decided against it. Maybe he was one of those encounters that was meant to make a profound impact but only the first time – like seeing a dolphin for the first time, you can’t match the magic. 

For my creative project I decided to do a quick play on Captain Cooks Journal and specifically the assigned reading from this semester, “Chapter 3: Tahiti”. My creative project outlines rules to be followed when traveling to El Salvador for the first time (these are all hypothetical). I tried to begin my short passage with a short explanation of how the rules came to be and how they ended up in my possession much like Captain Cook provides an explanation on how his rules came to be and why they were needed. In addition I tried to tie in little details from Captain Cook in subtle ways in my creative project. For example, in the end I compare the interaction with Don Amilcar to a dolphin. I chose to do a parody on this specific reading because I do believe that while they may not be explicitly written down every place and every situation has it’s own set of boundaries and rules that should be followed out of respect and I wanted to play on that and what those rules would have been for me the first time I traveled to El Salvador.

 

  • Maricruz Rivas