Born a Crime Reflection

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Every time I picked this book up to continue it, it was like reuniting with an old friend that I wanted to learn more about, although I wished I never had to put it down. Sitting in the train station, I read the first 86 pages and as I heard the train approaching I quickly planned my next free moment to continue this reading endeavor: I simply couldn’t wait. Trevor Noah is astonishingly brilliant in how he chose to let us in his world and narrate to us a window into his world, complicated by many things from skin color and the poverty that unfortunately went along with it. A world that would have caused many to lose their way, but Trevor was resilient and his mother helped instill good values in him, despite how poorly behaved he often was. In many ways, I feel this book is a love letter. A love letter to Trevor’s mom. A love letter to his friends and mostly, a love letter to all the parts of his childhood that challenged him and helped him thrive during a time when he wasn’t meant to. The apatherid meant he wasn’t supposed to thrive. And as we saw with his “hulk” friend from jail, the end of the apartheid meant disadvantaged people were forced to steal to feed their families. This book really showed me a perspective I haven’t seen before and I was truly lucky that this book was chosen to be read. I was astounded by what I learned about South Africa. It was fascinating but also very sad to hear. The slaughter and mistreatment of people was shocking to me. The comparison made to Hitler and how there weren’t numbers to account for the deaths like there were in the Holocaust brought a chill down my spine. I could jump around from subject to subject trying to explain all the reasons that I loved this book. The biggest reason is I fell in love with the story. Trevor allowed me in. His raw feelings were all brought to the surface, especially his mother being shot at the end. A relationship changes when someone that you care about lets you fully in and lets you get to know them on their terms. And that’s exactly what Trevor did. Trevor Noah let me into his world, sharing with me and all of us about life’s lessons, and how black, white, colored, or whatever we were, we are all human and deserving of love. And deserving of a good life. Trevor taught me that, and by allowing me into his world, introduced me to a way of examining one’s life that I will never forget.

Grasping the Hands of Time

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Clothed in a satin sleeveless gown
With a rich crimson shade
I stand and look down
Meeting colors of white and jade
Fragrances of much enchantment strengthen
As the stairs, I climb
Wishing it were possible to lengthen
Or possibly grasp the hands of time
Causing the hands to stay at 10:09
And never rise nor decline.

For as I continue to stroll towards the comforting air,
The music seems to stop, as I receive many a stare.
I look around, I realize and see.
That what they are staring at is me.
They see only beauty and grace,
Not the sad, tormented look in my eyes on my face.
Suddenly I am filled with thought
That roses wilt
But true love does not
For precisely at this moment I spy, I see
The love of my life sitting near the Christmas tree.

I thought he never wanted to see me again
Still remembering that time when
A boy who I will never miss
Bent over and stole a kiss
This act angered me to the core,
But what hurt me so much, so much more
Was to see my real love standing
Standing head lowered by the door.
A cold tear flows
From his beautiful face
The cold wind blows
As I dash to his place.
But he is gone,
He is no longer there
Leaving me in a state of despair
For I have created a heart beyond repair

I was apparently incorrect,
For he is there standing tall and erect.
I’m assuming he was the witness,
Of the time I yelled at the culprit,
The stealer of the kiss
Suddenly, something wonderful happens there
His eyes meet mine
His eyes so fine.
Nothing in the world could prepare
Prepare me for what happened next
For I was asked to play a song, French for by the light of the moon
A song for many known as “A clare de la lune”

So down I sat upon the chair
And I began to play.
For that instant I was no longer in despair
The world seemed to turn and sway.
Soon almost everyone left the banquet hall.
Soon my tears begin to fall,
Remembering the day when I lost it all.
I stand there by the window cold and sad,
Recalling good times I once had,
My vision is suddenly black.
As soft, warm hands touch my face,
My tears are held back.

I turn around at a steady pace
And am greeted with a sweet kiss and embrace.
From the heavenly saint,
Who can play soccer and paint.
His smile worth all the diamonds, rubies, and sapphires
The world aspires
Aspires to give
Not all the lilies common or rare
Can compare
Can compare with him and his presence.
For in the essence,
The essence of the moment
He went and brought my present.

He asked me not to peek or stare
For that would be unfair.
So I did as told and closed my eyes
Excited about this great surprise
He placed it on my neck with care,
A necklace more fair,
More fair than any other.
A mirror he set, he set in place.
And I used it instead to gaze at his face.
His slightly red hair began to shimmer
This angelic being, so divine.

As a song of memories past
Filled the room, subtle yet fast.
We dance under a moonlit night.
He holds me tender, he holds me tight.
Now from this moment I believe
In the magic which comes with Christmas Eve!
(By the way this romance
Everything from the gown to the dance
Was entirely fiction completely untrue
Although, I think it’d be grand, don’t you?)

Fly

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Between all of the awful things that keep happening I hope this is the last. I want the bad things to stop hitting me like a train. My body cannot get over the shock of one before the next one strikes. I need a break. It’s so much to happen at once. My soul is crumbling apart. Happiness, joy, love, and balance are hemorrhaging out of my system and bitterness, angry, and sadness are being sucked in their place. I want the good things back. It’s like when I was a little girl and I was drowning. My uncle got me out of the cold water but not before a good scare. This time the water is colder. It’s deeper and more vast and opaque. And I can’t keep my head above water. It is like there are weights attached to my legs hell-bent on filling my lungs with water and taking me away from Earth. I keep ripping them off but new ones lock on tight. No one can save me. I need to do this on my own. The weights off. And swim fly jump just get away. To happiness, joy, love, and balance.

Follow my lead

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Read the best books
Climb the highest trees
Swim the deepest waters
Reach the highest mountains
Eat the biggest ice cream cone
Buy the car you want
Buy whatever you wish
Wear those shoes
Wear that coat
Sing that song and loud
Dance until you pant
Right that wrong
Decorate
Paint
Stroll
Drink
Run
Whatever you are meant to do
Go forth and do it
If you are afraid to
If you are hesitant
If time has stopped you
If fear has
Don’t worry
I will fold up your fears
I will hold you hands
Follow my lead

Twisted Governments, Characters, and Intentions: The Tempest

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We began our talk of The Tempest with some much needed plot clarification as this is one convoluted story. Prospero (the rightful Duke of Milan), Miranda (his daughter), Caliban (his slave) and Ariel (a spirit he freed, also a slave) have been together on this uninhabited island for 12 years or so. Prospero and his daughter were shipwrecked here, but don’t seem to have intentions to leave which we discussed in class as a bizarre choice. Caliban was born on the island to the witch Sycorax, who was sentenced to death but couldn’t be executed because she was pregnant. So she was exiled to the island. Antonio (Prospero’s brother) and his gang of ignorant misfits are now shipwrecked on the island as well, thanks to Prospero’s magic. The final plot point I would like to make is Antonio usurped his brother Prospero as the Duke of Milan, and Prospero left the situation only to be marooned on this island and now is seeking revenge.

We hit a range of topics regarding the story and its characters. In this protokoll, I would like to discuss the three kinds of government that are found on this island and the notion of a hierarchy. Government and politics is something we cannot get away from, even in a story of a shipwreck on an inhabited island. This was something I did not see right away but was appreciative that it was brought to the attention of the class. I would also like to discuss Miranda’s role in this play and the power dynamics that exist between Prospero and his slaves. It is interesting to see how Ariel wants more agency and to be completely free, while Caliban is fine with just having a new master.

The idea of a hierarchy on the island is an interesting one I would like to explore as I believe it is Shakespeare demonstrating that even in a dire situation people will perhaps try to work together, but struggle or even manipulate others to achieve power. All of our readings so far have had this theme of a hierarchy being created. In Arabian Nights, the hierarchy was of the royals and their subjects as well and men and women, but women had a way of finding power in an unexpected way. In The Canterbury Tales, the author harshly judged many of the characters, but we could also create a hierarchy in that text of the different professions and beyond that the gender dynamics were something we explored at length. Women and their strength was also an interesting point in these tales. In The Treasure of the City of Ladies as well as The Battle over Free Will, God is at the top of the hierarchy. In The Treasure of the City of Ladies a hierarchy of women is created as Pizan addresses women from all walks of life, giving them life advice while ranking them in the process. All these texts mentioned had a lot of people in mind regarding the hierarchy that was established so I ask, who is there to even rule on this island?

In terms of ruling people, Machiavelli had very forceful points about how to rule, but the way that Antonio talks isn’t reminiscent of a thirsty power grab. He already achieved that by throwing his brother from his rightful place. It feels more like a sense of entitlement and pretentiousness that propels his discussion and that of his gang what kind of power they will gain while on this island. The three types of government that were brought to light were: Machiavellian – Stephano with his wine, hedonism – Gonzalo with power politics, and Prospero with restoring the kingdom through marriage. Is the idea of creating this system easier because they can start fresh and build upon it due to the lack of people here? From this question I think of the process of colonization due to Prospero wanting control of the spirit and the person that was there before he was. The two that must suffer as a result are Caliban and Ariel, although interestingly, only Ariel seeks freedom.

Caliban and Ariel are the two (person and spirit) that were there previously to Prospero. It seems very unjust to automatically wish to enslave people or spirits upon arriving at a new place. Through history, we see this behavior of conquering, so while unjust it is not surprising. In class, there was talk of the defiance of both Caliban and Ariel in subtle ways but I do not see that happening in this play. While they can push against their master, they must ultimately submit to his wishes. There are two different people here to consider and they want different things from their lives. Caliban is disobedient to Prospero but when Antonio and his gang appear, Caliban seems oddly willing to having some new masters that aren’t any better than Prospero. Ariel, in contrast, was freed from a tree that Sycorax locked him in, and Prospero is really milking that situation unfairly. Ariel wants true freedom but Prospero wants Ariel to continue doing tasks for him and reminds Ariel how he freed him. Another point to consider is that both the slaves are grateful to the master, one for all he learned from Prospero, and the other for being freed. As the story unfolds, we will see how these two characters develop further and we shall see about Caliban’s ridiculous idea to attack Prospero with his new masters. Another character connected to Prospero is his daughter, Miranda.

Miranda is the only female character we encounter and she is intriguing. She is Prospero’s daughter but she seems to have a sense of strength about her. She is inquisitive and curious about what brought her and her father to this island. She is the first to speak in the play before her father, and I wondered if that had any significance in the play or if it was an arbitrary fact that I noticed. Miranda could have developed far more as a character, but upon seeing Ferdinand the only man she had ever seen in her life, she becomes overwhelmed with love and he does as well. I wonder if her father is creating this forbidden love story so they fall more in love is to help her, or if it is his way of maintaining control over her like he does over his slaves. If Ferdinand did not come, I would be curious to see what kind of character Miranda would become. It seems like she was a strong character, until she finds love. Then, she becomes a slave to that love. That concept is particularly interesting because Dido is referred to in the play, and she is a goddess that also was very powerful, until her love for Aeanus and his abandonment of her destroyed her in The Aeneid. Hopefully, there is a happier ending for Miranda. Given this is a Shakespearean comedy I have a hunch that things will work out just fine for Miranda. It seems to be a running theme that when a woman has agency, she loses it, blinded by love. In the conclusion of this play, we have to see what will become of her love and of Caliban’s foolish plan, as well as the building of a hierarchy as the play progresses. What will be the outcome for Prospero’s plans and will Ariel be free? There is a lot to resolve but there are three acts remaining so I have faith Shakespeare will accomplish just that. Perhaps, Miranda will continue to be a strong character despite her new found love.

Slave to the Streetlight

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It’s of many plights
You drive jade, goldenrod, and crimson lights
Some people are like robotic- slaves
They calmly slow down
At a goldenrod they run this routine
Never minding never thinking about freedom
When it is crimson
They are goody goods
Sit there like squares
On their biscuit
Never willing to risk it
The rush, you do not regret
You fly
The red and blue lights
Don’t fret, you Kyle
You race through with your cigarette
Chew on it with pride
And listen to The Police
Ironic isn’t it?
You do because
Otherwise
You conform
I know you enough to say that isn’t your style
To conform and not confront the life
You by living, rejecting, the humdrum of everyday
Dream bigger dreams
Look that other guy straight in his eye
And scream
Fuck you
Bastard
You sit there thinking
You cut me off
And now we are sitting at a red
It’s almost evil but still fantastic
You smash that pedal Kyle
You show them
Drive 60 in a 45
It’s night 2:00 in the morning
You are nobody’s slave
He is a slave to the streetlight
The other guy
Not you