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.


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


Crimson, Ruby, Scarlet Magic

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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.

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

The Paladin Circle

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Floetry Fridays with Nicole

This week’s poem is called “A Friend” by Gillian Jones. This month is finals week for most students regardless of age, and the words “stressed”, “depression” and “anxiety” are being bled out on keyboards, papers and emails when it comes to the overwhelming amount of obnoxious school work they are being given. It is detrimental to our overall well-being that we all have an incredible and positive support system around us such as; friends. The main definition of a friend is “one attached to another by affection or esteem” (Merriam-Webster) however, it is safe to state that anyone who encourages you, believes in you and loves you for who you are and your ambitions, dreams, and achievements takes the cake. There are fruity, sweet and sour layers to any friendship dessert, but in the time of need we all have our Batmans, Robins, and yes even Jokers and Harley Quinns. The ones who will jump off that airplane called life and be your parachute.

The lines “A person who will listen and not condemn/Someone on whom you can depend” exemplify the stronghold walls of acceptance from your friends, and the bond that is being shared. While in school, there is always a high level of intensity especially when everyone feels attacked by those long nightmarish essays with legs and flying books with teeth at their face. This is a time of immense pressure, when tempers and a clash of opinions happen because of all the strain that is taking its toll. However, having people around you to ease the serious and heavy air with laughs, being an ear to lean on and overall uplifting is great and needed. Isolation, is the easy way out. It is the simplest way to deal with the tunnel many of us feel caving in from time to time. However, don’t be afraid to reach out to those who care. It is not a needy, or weak thing to ask for guidance, advice and overall support for the ginormous pillars of things we tend to carry alone in a fear of being a bother. Anyone who keeps your best interest at heart, and wants you to be happy will never perceive you as such things. Take advantage of the ones who fly to be by your side, and take you on mental journeys away from the gutters of bland thinking and feeling.

“Do not expect to just take and hold/Give friendship back, it is pure gold” perfectly sums up this happy marriage between friends. It is a two-way street and especially during such a busy time in the year for many people, tell your friends how much you appreciate them! Many of us come from broken personal lives, hardships within our homes, negative energies surrounding us in and outside our school and work environments,. Therefore, be for everyone what you ask people to be. We all need “namaste” and “hakuna matata” rituals together (besides coffee and booze) to get us through the dark, and we cannot allow our amazing friends to not know how much we love them. Good vibes all around people, and take it easy for finals my fellow students!!

The Dreariness of Silence



Can You Imagine

All Those Beautiful Thoughts

Dying Never Expressed


Thursday Verseday with Arlinda

With activism rapidly becoming a heavily discussed topic in various colleges and conferences throughout the nation, I thought it fitting to feature a poem emphasizing expression. Juan A. Rodriguez had his poem “Haiku” presented in Obscura’s spring 2012 edition. The poem points out the fatal consequences of never sharing your thoughts with those around you.

Just as the speaker in the poem states, “All Those Beautiful Thoughts,” your thoughts are beautiful, and more than that they are magical. Your thoughts have the ability to alter the way someone else thinks, to cause empathy by conveying to someone your perspective of the world, and to stop injustice by shining a light on what is really happening. What if you never shared those thoughts and ideas? They would sit in your head “Dying Never Expressed.” Without using your voice to share your mindsets, the impact that your thoughts could have had will die without ever being spoken. Wouldn’t you rather speak your mind and hope to create positive changes in the world with your contemplations?

Juan A. Rodriguez wrote a powerful poem entitled “Haiku” and conveyed to readers a thought-provoking question: can you imagine a world in which your thoughts died without ever having the chance to create an impact? Your views are important, your voice is important, and the thoughts animating your voice are even more important.  It is as Juan A. Rodriguez questioned in his poem “Can You Imagine” a world in which your “Beautiful Thoughts” were never heard? What a dreary world it would be if each individual did not contribute their voices to overcome the silence. Hopefully, after reading “Haiku” you decide to make sure you do not construct your part in the world as one in which your thoughts never get expressed.


~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Things Fall Apart

The novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, tells a story set in Africa right before European contact. The story is about an Igbo man named Okonkwo, who is highly regarded within his village of Umuofio. Achebe introduces us to the brutality, violence, and tragedy, which comprise the lives of the characters. The superstitions, brutal customs, and the deep fear of the wrath of their ancestors are a product of the hardship, which they endure.

From a typical Westerners point of view, the actions and traditions of Okonkwo and his fellow villagers may seem barbaric. But what Achebe does within the story is allow us to get an in depth look at the characters within the story, through their behaviors, thoughts, and flashbacks. As you begin to become more familiar with the characters, it becomes somewhat difficult to judge them from a western perspective. In the story Okonkwo’s sense of duty and honor are heavily depicted in his actions and thoughts. This I found myself commending him on, for even when the beliefs of his kinsmen faltered his never swayed, he stayed loyal to his beliefs to the very end.


The story Okonkwo accidently kills one of his fellow tribes men, and is sent into exile. Upon his return, he finds his village to now also be inhabited by the Europeans, who have imposed their religion and laws on to his people. For Okonkwo, who is a man of pride and honor, to be belittled and humiliated by these Europeans, he finds himself feeling powerless. When this happens Okonkwo finds his world to be falling apart.


Achebe does a wonderful job of letting us get to know the village, its customs, and some of the key characters within the book. He does this with his un biased writing, allowing the reader to form his or her own opinions. In today’s world where most countries, cities or neighborhoods, are melting pots of different cultures, this book shows us what happens when cultures clash. This book also lets us get an inside look on what life was like in many areas affected by colonialism in Africa, before the Europeans came. And it shows us what it means to have the beliefs, culture, and customs, which make you who you are, stripped away from you. When everything around you that you’ve been familiar with all your life, begins to fall apart right in front of your eyes.