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A Seemingly Silent Summer

Thursday Verseday with Arlinda

As the semester comes to an end, so do my Thursday Verseday blogs. While my lack of summer blogging may seemingly appear as a seasonal silence, I will spend my time off gathering inspiration and writing. It is poems like “Silence” by Sopuruchi Precious Okeoma (featured in Obscura’s Spring 2017 edition) that inspire me to always write and always express my thoughts.

In the poem, the speaker states, “not being able to communicate my thoughts/ leaves me stranded like the pages of an old book.” What if we never tried to express ourselves? Who would we be if we hid our thoughts away, forgotten in the corners of our mind? Where would literary lovers be if novels like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels were just abandoned ideas? Would the thought-provoking and era-defining voices of Austen and Swift ever be heard, or would they be lost to the dust gathering on a bookshelf? The speaker in Okeoma’s poem conveys, “I long to be set free/ I sit and wait as dust collects on my spine.” A writer’s voice is timeless. Years down the line someone may stumble upon a text and find meaning and comfort in the words on a page.

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In Sopuruchi Precious Okeoma’s poem, the speaker describes silence as “silence is bittersweet/ silence is numbing/ silence is being left untouched by human hands.” Break the silence. Grab a pen, and a piece of paper, and express your thoughts, voice your opinions. I know I will spend my summer writing and expressing my thoughts. How will you spend yours?

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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The Longest Mile: I Will Never Sail Again (Until Next Semester)

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #13)

I think many feel me when I say, most college students right now are emotionally and physically DONE with school before finals week has even arrived. We’re done with pulling all-nighters and selling our souls for coffee-fueled highs to get through the day. We’re done with papers that are many pages longer than the lists of our total social outings. We’re done with crying in front of our professors about having to need an extension because of family problems, or pressure, or stress, or honestly, just plain ol’ procrastination. We’re done. And for some this is true; for them, this is a milestone and an ending. Some students are graduating and moving on to look for jobs or a higher level of education. To those who’ve made it for the full mile– I applaud you. But a lot of students are still on the journey and although it is almost the end of the semester, we can only put down our sails long enough to briefly breathe in the salty air of success before we have to set out on the high, rocky seas again.

I was going to cover this song on my blog a couple weeks ago, but was feeling fickle and covered something else; I’m glad I made that decision because I feel like this song is lyrically perfect for closing my weekly Wednesday blog for the semester. Circa Survive’s “The Longest Mile” is a sort of anthem for those reaching the end of a long, tiring journey. The lead singer, Anthony, belts out, “I must admit now going down within this ship/I couldn’t have a better crew to travel with/If I make it in one piece back to land/I will never sail again”. This journey for us students surely wasn’t an easy one. Obstacles made themselves abundant, but so did the understanding professor that was always available during their office hours and the classmate that never failed to send you the lecture notes on days you were absent. And for those who made this journey solo, you may have not believed you would make it to the end “in one piece”, but surprise, here you are. You did it, you troopers.

Anthony sings that he “will never sail again” but he follows that up with “I can’t help/But think that/We’re coming to the end/If that is/The case then/I know we can’t pretend/To never make a sound again”. To me, this means, that despite all the stress, worries, and sleeplessness, now that the end is near, we can’t pretend that the journey is done. The journey of life never really ends. We, humans, are ever-growing, ever-learning, ever-changing. We can’t simply bring our boats to the shore when we know so much has gone unexplored. So, for now, push through that Tempest that is finals week, take all of your accomplishments, mistakes, successes, and lessons learned in, then get ready to journey on the next longest mile. You can do it.

– Kathryn Fornier

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Morals of the Stories

CinéMondays with Hardik: Morals of the Stories:

A Separation: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/a-separation-empathy/:

Be generous with your empathy expenses. “Empathy is that one power we will never run out of, the whole point of being humans, really––to make sense of what we are in for, to realize that we all are sharing the same human experience.”

Amores Perros: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/loves-a-dog/:

Remember that we take after our love. “Love’s a dog… Masters take after their love… and that dog is yours to keep.”

Her Friend Adam: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/her-friend-adam/:

Don’t impose your expectations of size at the cost of pleasure you could possibly seek. “Short films are like short stories; they are hard, they are expected to be perfect (we forgive/defend movies and novels all the time), and they don’t even reach as much of an audience as they most definitely deserve to.”

About When I Met Jake Gyllenhaal: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/about-when-i-met-jake-gyllenhaal/:

My friend says that I am delusional. I agree with her but I don’t still know where to frame my mind around it. “I saw the real Jake Gyllenhaal and not someone I felt equal to… Truly a Gatsby moment––to be in Caraway’s shoes!”

Get Out: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/get-out-get-in/:

Get out, engage in a conversation, and observe. Observe, even yourself. “There are those holding hands, and then there are also those who aren’t either willing or okay holding hands. Why is that? What is engaging them, what is the concern that engages them (if at all), or how safe/worthy is privilege if it blinds you of the reality the world seems to be facing?”

Summer Interlude: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/summer-silence/:

First love leaves, and that’s not our lesson here. “The first love always leaves, the voice leaves first. And when voices leave, you know what happens––storms come. Is there recovery? … ‘Lucky is the one who will teach you.’”

Brad Cuts Loose: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/do-i-get-to-play-just-as-hard/:

Do you get to play just as hard as you work? “And anyone who is working under someone/some-many most definitely understands the urge to ‘cut loose’ … cure that urge, that wonder!”

T2 Trainspotting: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/sequel-sentimentality/:

Sentimentality shouldn’t always feel like being tricked; allow yourself that sentimentality. “Sequels are like star-kids: both are compared to their parent, and most of the time they fail… at the end of the day, author has the authority… but what does it say about the viewers (consumers) and their sentimentally?”

Romil and Jugal: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/indias-first-gay-web-series-romil-and-jugal/:

Be willing to open yourself to the unfamiliar. “This deserves attention: it is the first ever gay web series in India and it doesn’t feed on the stereotypes that face gay men on-screen.”

Death of a Salesman: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/about-the-loman-energy/:

As you become aware, become also aware of what energy surrounds you and radiates from you. “It is this oddly placed positivity that is shaking up the Loman family equation. One should not blame Linda, but also should not dismiss that she is pretty much at the center of this, even if not apparently.”

The Bakery Girl of Monceau: https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/the-bakery-girl-of-monceau/:

There is a morality to attractions and distractions, but does it need a look? “The distraction has become a new attraction, or has it? Where does the morality need to be when our man ends up promising to meet both his women on the same date?”

 

~ Hardik Yadav

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Crimson, Ruby, Scarlet Magic

23026-Field-Of-Red-Flowers (2)

Floetry Fridays with Nicole 

This week’s poem is “Red” by Tana Cambrelen, which was featured in Obscura’s Spring 2016 issue. Over the course of the past week, in many of my English classes, social media postings, and in regular everyday fragments of conversation with friends, a reoccurring topic continuously kept being brought up. That self-respect, care, dignity, power, encouragement and ultimately LOVE is needed among women, especially when lacking from men. That women are these indescribably, fragile, maternal, deeply intriguing and powerful creatures that need to empower each other, as the rest of the world will not. I’m by NO means a by-the-books “feminist” : (This is not to put down men, or to argue sexiest, and misogynistic behavior that I have been hearing about through multiple and personal accounts) but a voice that wants to shed light on the issues that the talented Miss Cambrelen oozes in this poem. That women are not just cliché flowers that wince and break with the slightest touch, but that sometimes even when trying to live life and grow as the spectacularly beautiful and amazing human beings that they are, there always are those vultures creeping around the corner waiting to eat them alive.

She writes “You ripped me from my roots before I was even done growing. /You stopped me from reaching my full potential of what a rose really is” which is extremely relatable for any female who has invested in trying to mature, grow and nourish herself through her experiences and her journey of ups and downs. However, there are those who take that and sadistically and selfishly want to manipulate the good and victimize their evil out of their own inability to be happy within themselves. This is a catalyst for self-esteem issues, body shaming, cultural neglect and believing that women need approval or acknowledgement from those that they so badly crave attention from, but end up getting destroyed by. This poem is the raw reality of how women are misused and treated by others, which ends up reflecting on the way they view themselves. They question their beauty, their intelligence, their compassion and ultimately their worth. No one should have this power, but in a world where we all crave love and affection it is so easy to allow the wrong ones in. However, there is something so strong and BRAVE about allowing yourself to be vulnerable with another, even when they don’t end up having your best interests at heart. It does not make any women weak, or foolish. It makes them human, and these magical empathetic veins of resilience that they should never let anyone tarnish.

“You blame me but/you knew I was a rose when you picked me” is the perfect close to such an immensely bare and openhearted poem. That the light women shine is seen by others and that is why they are chosen to lay on that operating table and be dissected, and be an experiment to those with blatant cruelty. It should not be something that’s allowed to be dimmed, but instead challenged and that starts from the love that needs to escape from inside. That there will always be obstacles, but that the journey will always be worth the lessons. These types of people are just annoying roadblocks that need to be overcomed, to understand that love, warmth and beauty comes from each other and within; not from anyone and anything else. BE EMPOWERED, STAY as they say “UNBOTHERED”, AND KNOW YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL.

Black, White, Hispanic, Small, Thin, Thick, Blonde, Brunette, Tall, Short, etc. etc. etc. You are a FIERY RED. The RED of blood that flows through your body. The Red of that rose petal that is blooming to life. The Red of the fire in the embers reflected in your eyes. The Red of that heart that loves so strong. YOU. ARE. RED.

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Speak Your Mind, Write Your Thoughts

Thursday Verseday with Arlinda

While poetry is often described as a means of writing in which flowery language and imagery are used to convey deep romantic emotions, poems have also been known to contain the ability of transmitting meaningful messages of all sorts, even arguments between individuals. In the case of Anne Ingram. Vicountess Irwin in her poem “An Epistle to Mr. Pope, Occasioned by his Characters of Women,” she uses her poem to copy Alexander Pope’s technique in “Epistle 2. To a Lady” and turn his poem against him. Not only was Irwin’s poem entertaining, it was a witty expression of her disagreement with Pope’s poem.

In Alexander Pope’s poem, the speaker goes on to describe the various hidden qualities of women, which make her false and untrustworthy. In the poem, the speaker states,

But grant, in public men sometimes are shown,

A woman’s seen in private life alone:

Our bolder talents in full light displayed;

Your virtues open fairest in the shade.

Bred to disguise, in public ‘tis you hide;

There, none distinguish ‘twixt your shame or pride,

Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,

That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.

In these lines, the speaker attempts to convey the duplicity and public falsehood of women. Alexander Pope used poetry to convey his very biased opinion that females present a fabricated identity, a “disguise” in public; the poem even goes so far as to imply the virtues of women are actually vices. After Pope’s insulting poem directed at women, it should come as no surprise that a woman decided to direct a poem at Alexander Pope.

Anne Ingram. Vicountess Irwin’s poem “An Epistle to Mr. Pope, Occasioned by his Characters of Women,” uses the same techniques and form that Pope used in his poem in order to confront his opinions of the characters of women as depicted in “Epistle 2. To a Lady.” In Irwin’s poem, the speaker states,

No more can we expect our modern wives

Heroes should breed, who lead such useless lives.

Would you, you who know the arcana of the soul,

The secret springs which move and guide the whole,

Would you, who can instruct as well as please,

Bestow some moment of your darling ease,

To rescue women from this Gothic state,

New passions raise, their minds anew create,

Then for the Spartan virtue we might hope;

For who stands unconvinced by generous Pope?

Irwin used Pope’s techniques to her advantage along with her own sarcasm to discredit Alexander Pope’s poem. Irwin was witty and innovative. She used poetry as a personal outlet to become an advocate for women.

We often think of poems in terms of romance, but poetry, along with all forms of writing, serve so many different purposes. Every part of a poem speaks to the reader from the structure to the words used throughout the poem. Irwin’s poem imitated the structure of Pope’s and by doing so the poem instantly captures a connection to the poem in which it is referring. We all have the capability to create poems, stories, literature to make a statement, correct an injustice, or bring our views to life. We all have a voice, it is time we use it to make a difference, to let our perspectives become known, and to make the changes we want to see in the world.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Bill Stout