Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 40

It’s time to address something very near and very dear to my heart: the English language.

Now, I could go on a rant about how we were a perfectly good Germanic language, until the Norman French got involved and decided only Romance was any good, thus mucking up any semblance of a standard of pronunciation or order.

I could go on a rant about how the “10 Items or Less” sign should read “10 Items or Fewer.”

I could go on a rant about the great benefits of English, like non-gendered nouns and the lack of ending changes based on the tense and subject of a verb.

I could go on a rant about how no one uses ellipses properly (and indeed, it bugs the heck out of me).

I  could go on a rant about how standards in English are changing constantly, with even the possessive form of a person’s name ending in S having been altered in the past few years (note: it’s Jones’s, not Jones’).

Or I could just say that, when it comes down to it, none of this really hits the crux of the issue. The history of the language, the etymology of words, the intricacies of grammer—these are all important, and should be studied by all who take an interest. But what I have to say is important not just for enthusiasts, but for all people: Don’t let it die.

English is evolving constantly, with new words being coined by teenagers taking photos of themselves, new constructs being invented as people strive for clarity, and entire definitions of words changing based on how people alter the language just by speaking it (look up “egregious,” if you’d like an example; people were straight-up so sarcastic when using it that the opposite of its original intent became the norm). Many people shun this evolution of language; we’ve tried for so long to codify a system, why add words like “selfie” to the dictionary just because they show up in common parlance? Can we truly stoop to such base debauchery as bringing in any word the populace invents? Well, yes. Yes, we can. And we do. Because language isn’t static; it’s not something that can be written down and stuck to forever. Language flows just like the thoughts of the people who employ it.

And here comes the more ranty bit, because there is one major issue that strikes me to my core: the loss of words. Every word is a concept; even synonyms express different meanings, and even the same word can be heavily influenced by context and connotation. To lose words is to lose our ability to think in about a greater number of concepts, to embrace new ideas, to express ourselves in different ways. Don’t believe me? Look at the language used in Orwell’s 1984. Orwell knew that the way to restrict thought is to restrict language; no one can commit thoughtcrime when they don’t have the words to understand the concept of the criminal thought.

And the same goes for grammatical structures; I have seen so many comma splices in my years that it pains me, because it feels like an injury to the semicolon. When I point out comma splices to people, the most common response I get is, “Well, I know it’s technically two sentences stuck together, but a period gives it too much of a pause. I used the comma so it flows better.”

“What about using a semicolon?” I ask.

“I never really figured out how to use one. I just avoid them for the sake of ease.”

“You know,” I prod, “a semicolon works just like a period in this case, but signals the reader to keep going so it doesn’t break the flow like a period does.”

“Really?”

“Yeah! So do you think you’ll use them more often?”

“Nah. I don’t trust myself to get it right. I’ll just stick to using commas.”

I don’t pick at grammar because I’m a stickler for rules. I don’t think we should all be held to a strict standard, never to deviate. But grammar helps us. Words help us. And without a concerted effort to preserve the ones that we have—even as we add new ones—we risk losing the complexity of our ability to think and express ourselves. I don’t ask that everyone pay their local reference section a visit and start memorizing, but I do believe that we should give English classes more credit than they currently get. They teach us how to analyze a body of work, how to read between the lines, how to compose our thoughts and put them out for the world to see. Shouldn’t we lay the foundation, then, of how to employ the building blocks that make up our language?

(As a bonus, the more words we have, and the more ways in which they can be used, the more puns we can make!)

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Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 39

I can’t remember the last time I made a happy post. Like a really, genuinely happy post, with no bittersweet “It’ll get better” message about a sad situation. Just happiness.

And you know what? Happiness is important. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows every day, but most days, we need something to brighten things up for us. Obviously, happiness isn’t something you can induce, and it’s not something you can obtain by just thinking happy thoughts, but being able to relax and simply experience something nice can be a great reprieve (especially during Dead Week).

So damn it, this is the internet. What do we do when we’re down?

We look at pictures of cats.

And of course, we watch the odd cat video or two.

Each instance of cat-related media was lovingly hand-picked and tested for cuteness and level of funny. Special thanks to Tulip, feline co-owner of the apartment in which I was staying while I crafted this post. You rock, Tulip.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 38

settling

The website xkcd kindly summed up the majority of my fears in a single box. Furthermore, it subtly called me out on my stubborness and my obstinate belief that such situations are “not really all that bad” and “I’m probably overthinking it” and “it’ll get better if I just wait, I’m sure.” And that’s how I stuck myself with the UK Dining Plan for four years in a row, and regretted the last three of them.

I’ve mentioned several times that I’m afraid of my own, personal future. To my mind, anything short of success is failure—and my criteria for success are specific and difficult to attain. I’ve been struggling on multiple levels with just my career choice alone; thus, I decided to map out some of the decisions, and potential consequences, ahead of me:

Level 1 (The Choice):

  • go to law school, become lawyer, get money, afford hobbies, make Dad proud
  • go into game writing, get less money, work serves as my hobby, Dad is okay with it

Level 2 (The Ideal Situation):

  1. get accepted both into law school and into a job in game writing
  2. make a decision on which one I want to pursue (see Levels 3 and 4)

Level 3 (The Destroy-Self-with-Work-Until-Free-to-Play Scenario):

  1. get accepted into law school, but don’t get a job in game writing
  2. struggle to hold myself together for the next few years in the hopes of getting a good job as a lawyer
  3. struggle as a lawyer for a few decades in the hopes of getting to retire early
  4. buy a bunch of brand-new holographic virtual reality games and settle in to squeeze as much happiness out of my life as I can before I die

Level 4 (The Play-While-Working-But-Never-Achieve-Full-Play Scenario):

  1. don’t get accepted into law school, but get a job in game writing
  2. struggle for a few decades, happier than I would be as a lawyer but tighter on money
  3. possibly never be able to afford to retire
  4. never get to spend years alone in a box with wifi and food and no responsibilities (the ultimate ideal living situation)

Level 5 (The Effects of Fear):

  1. never turn in any applications to either law school or game writing
  2. live as a hopeless shell in a minimum-wage job until I die

Level 6 (The Effects of Fear, Pt. 2):

  1. get accepted into law school, but never send out applications for game writing
  2. live the rest of my life wondering what could have been, had I only had the courage to pursue my dreams instead of settling for the more secure, but more harrowing path

Level 7 (The Best-Case Scenario):

  1. strike it rich on the Powerball
  2. invest money into the next big thing
  3. set aside enough money to fund my dream of living in a box with wifi and food and no responsibilities
  4. keep enough money in savings to accrue interest to live on
  5. donate the rest to charity

Level 8 (The Even-Better-Case Scenario):

  1. discover secret to immortality
  2. move Earth into post-scarcity
  3. The Singularity occurs
  4. everything is great

Level 9 (The Worst-Case Scenario):

  1. get accepted into law school
  2. become a lawyer
  3. work for decades until I can afford retirement
  4. die the day before I’m supposed to retire

Level 10 (The Movie):

  1. (complete Level 9)
  2. be subject of based-on-a-true-story film that rends the hearts of millions
  3. win an Oscar posthumously
Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 37

I don’t need to write another post on the 2016 presidential election.

I don’t need to write another post on the 2016 presidential election.

I don’t need to write another post on the 2016 presidential election.


So here’s another post on the 2016 presidential election.

And here’s a website called Trumpgrets [don’t worry, this will become relevant].

And here is a scream of bafflement and I-told-you-so indignation.

[insert scratchy, low- to medium-pitched scream of a tone varying between shrill and halfway toward a voiced, guttural sigh here]

And that’s basically it. The only reponse I can have to people who regret their vote for Trump is a single, personal scream. I do not scream at them, and I do not scream for the benefit or detriment of any other person; I scream because I wish for many things that have not come to pass, and will never come to pass. I scream because I could see the signs all along, and I was vocal about my observation—but other people saw things differently.

Those people believed that the anti-Trump hype was exaggerated and the problems he exhibited would be resolved; that the candidate they chose would grow with the office and represent their interests while fixing his flaws; that the overall benefit would outweigh the cost. But now many people are beginning to realize that the hype wasn’t so exaggerated, that the problems might not be resolved, that their interests may not be represented, that their candidate’s flaws may not be fixed, and that the benefit may not outweigh the cost.

I do not, cannot blame these people for being optimistic, because I know that the Trump voters who are rabid mysogynistic racists are in the extreme minority. I know that most voters were simply trying to find someone who represented, at least in part, the personal ideals they held—and though they may have disagreed with many of the positions of a certain candidate, they might have felt the few positions representative of their ideals were strong enough to warrant their vote. In essense, they voted because they agreed with a part of the whole, and that is the same reason behind my vote; I voted for my chosen candidate not because I supported each of her ideals, but because she represented more of my ideals than any of the other candidates on the field, and I was willing to accept her flaws in favor of that.

So I reserve my scream internally, in silent expression of the many reasons to regret voting for Trump, and in wishing that those regretful voters had been able to see things my way prior to the election. I do not scream at anyone or anything, because the harsh truth is that Trump voters cannot be written off as categorically prejudiced or idiotic or any other negative adjective; each had their reasons, and though I disagree with many of them, I can only do my best to convince them of my position calmly and rationally. Open discourse can resolve the rifts between us, and hopefully prevent another wildly antagonistic (both between the candidates and the voters) election.

And that is the key. No blame, no screaming (except when you need to let one out in a nice open field on a warm summer day), and no snap judgments against other people; instead, talk. Talk openly and inclusively. Talk to friends, neighbors, and—most importantly—state representatives. Talk and ask questions and make notes and listen, listen, listen. Because you could be right, or you could be wrong, and you need to understand that you are fallible and recognize that that isn’t a bad thing, and that this is how we all learn. Just as you are fallible, you are powerful; you have the ability to make a grand change, even with one small bit of effort at a time.

And if you’d like to get started on that grand change, here is a good guide to a first step.

[Not to say I’m going to stop reading Trumpgrets, though. Some of these are painfully hilarious.]

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 36

“It feels good to hold a pencil in my hand again. It’s hard to write, but I need to get my hand back in position, get my muscles going again. This is it. This is it.

“Should I feel bad about scribbling across the front page? I don’t. This is more important than ‘November 29, 2019’ or ‘The Paducah Sun’ or anything else scrawled on here by the press. I’m writing again. It’s good.

“My hands are getting warmer. How could I have taken for granted those gloves I used to always keep in my pockets? Gotta keep writing, or my fingers will go stiff again. I need to keep writing.

“This margin is getting crumpled. I was never able to keep my hand upright, like my mom was taught. I just drag it across the page. My hand used to get covered in gray dust from raking it across the words. Curse of a left-handed person, I guess. Graphite. That was it. Graphite is the word.

“I’m going to need to get a new patch for the box. I grabbed a comforter today out of a dumpster down by the Market House Theater. It only has one hole in it, though it’s thin. How did this happen? I was going to go to law school. I was going to apply for a job. I was going. I was going.

“It doesn’t matter now. I can write about that later. I just need to keep my hands warm.

“Screw you, Trump, and your fucking headlines. ‘State of the Union Reveals New Plan to Improve Race Relations.’ Yeah, and race relations wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t a raging bigot. At least that ridiculous Wall idea didn’t pan out.

“Only forty more years until our oil runs out, if that statistic stuck in my brain from Bio is still holding. Have we decreased our consumption at all? Well, at least one thing is different. When I learned that statistic, I was sure I’d live to see us run out.”


She twirls her pen absently as she waits for the announcer to call her name. “I’m not a success story,” she mouths once again. “I’m someone who returned to par from below the bar.” She liked the assonance, but she was starting to shake, as she always did before a speaking event. She continues to mouth the speech, twiling her pen—until it drops to the floor with a clack. She puts aside her little pamphlet and reaches down to grab it.

As she reaches down, the pamphlet flutters to the floor, and she grabs it as well as the pen in one swoop. The paper crinkles. Her mind travels back. Back to the Christmas she hitched a ride home. Back to the family who welcomed her not as a failure, but as a prodigal daughter. Back to the house that sheltered her in her childhood, even into adulthood, and she wondered why she hadn’t come home before.

The speaker calls her name, and she walks up to the podium, tucking the pen into her pocket. The pamphlet is left behind where it drifted back to the floor.

She tucks her hair behind her ear and smiles on a memory, before squaring her feet and looking ahead. She begins her speech.

It passes in a blur, but she manages to hold onto her confident persona as she speaks. When it concludes to polite applause, she exits the theater on shaking legs, and makes it to a water fountain.

“Kristi, how are you, my friend?” The voice was familiar. A professor she’d had? She turns.

“Dr. Alvarez! I haven’t seen you in forever. Ten years, right?” She beams, relieved to see someone she knows.

“Yeah, it’s been a long while.” He pauses, his look sincere. “I had no idea you were, you know—everything that happened.”

“Yeah, um, well, yeah.” She rubs the back of her neck, somewhat abashedly. “But you really got me out of it, you know. I wrote it down. I wrote everything down, and then it got picked up, and that’s how I got started. You always did say to keep writing.”

He smiles softly. “Yeah. I’m so glad you’ve gotten past all that. You know, you could always have contacted me. I’m always here for all of my students.”

Then it’s her turn to smile. “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”

“Ah, well, I shouldn’t keep you. I should let you get back to the convention.”

“Likewise. It was wonderful seeing you, Dr. Alvarez.”

“Same to you, Dr. Street.”

She puts her hands into her pockets, and her hand touches warm plastic. She takes out the pen, clicks it twice, and places it back, before turning and walking out the door.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 35

My thoughts about the future consist of existential panic, concern that I’ll never be satisfied in any career, and fear that I’m going to work myself to death for an unfulfilling life, because I’m only really happy when I have zero obligations (which will end once I no longer have a summer break, meaning that the rest of my life is starting to look like one giant, endless semester—which isn’t looking good for me, given that college is what gave me suicidal ideation and mild to moderate depression).

I’m interested in game writing. That sentence seems unremarkably plain and unimportant, but it means the world to me, because I’m interested. For my entire college career, I chose my major not because I was interested in a career path I could pursue with that degree, but because I could make money at a career in that field. First I pursued Pharmacy, because I was good at chemistry and I liked it well enough; I could pick the structures up off the page in my mind, make them three-dimensional, turn them around. I could create substances out of others and set things on fire in the name of science. But when I started pursuing chemistry in earnest, I found it limiting rather than freeing; I couldn’t take one step without being worried I’d missed another. As my life’s worth became determined by how quickly I could answer questions on a test, rather than any real consideration of my ability or willingness to put forth effort into learning, I became disheartened. Organic Chemistry was a kill class; you had a week to teach yourself a chapter of material, and you got to come into lecture three times a week to watch your professor give the broadest possible example of a problem you’d be expected to solve ten ways to Sunday. To succeed at Organic Chemistry, you had to be willing to devote all of your time to it, both in and out of class; all other classes were expected to suffer just so you could keep up an Organic grade. So I took a C and got out. I changed my major, because I wasn’t going to suffer that much for Pharmacy when I didn’t even care about the profession.

Since I failed at doctor, I went for lawyer. I liked writing, and I liked argument, so even though arguing a case in front of a jury seemed like an anxious hell, I thought maybe I could at least be a paper lawyer, doing property law or something. I was not excited at the prospect, but it didn’t seem any worse than Pharmacy did. I switched into the Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies major, and I studied for the LSAT, and I got a score in the 87th percentile, which was alright. I was pleased with it, though I think I could have done better if I’d really cared. Which isn’t to say I didn’t care at all; no, the LSAT was my ticket into law school, into the next step of my life. I panicked the whole week leading up to the test, practicing Logic Games and trying to get all my homework done in advance so I wouldn’t have to worry. But I didn’t care because I wanted to get into law school; I cared because I didn’t want to not get in. I was already on Plan B, and I didn’t have a Plan C ready.

But I love video games. If my life were perfect, I’d never work a day; I’d sit alone in my house, on my computer, experiencing worlds I’ll never get to see in real life. Breaks from school, when I can return to my natural nocturnal sleep schedule and see the sunrise, when I can do whatever I want without having to plan around other people, when I don’t have any responsiblities or obligations—those are my happy moments. Notice that I don’t say “happiest,” but “happy.” I live each semester in quiet resignation, in emotionless ooze. I’m not happy. I’m just…there. Breaks change that, and what I do on my breaks is play video games. If I could be involved in video games, somehow, I might be able to capture some of that happiness in my career, and maybe I won’t spend the rest of my life begging for the day I have enough money to retire and spend my days like summer break.

Since I’m in a Writing major, and I enjoy writing, and games require narratives and characters and other things that writers make, I figured I might have an out. The only problem now is figuring out whether I can actually get a job as a game writer, or whether I should just give up and go for law. My dad has made his position clear: do what makes you happy, as long as you can get a job and make money at it, preferably a lot of money: “Any job you do long enough, you’re going to get tired of. But if you’re doing a job you get paid for, it’s a lot easier to show up every day.”

I don’t know what I’m going to do, and that terrifies me. It’s not even down to what I want to do, but what I’ll be accepted for. The prospect of failure has always terrified me, but failing at something I didn’t really want to do anyway was never that bad. Failing at something I’m actually interested in—game writing—or something that’s potentially the only path I could take to reach the retirement I so desire—law—is far more terrifying. And choosing one means giving up the other; the chance of giving up the wrong one just adds to the terror.

And time is quickly running out. Applications aren’t open forever.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 34

The first night . . .

Your world is frost. When you are not feeling nothing, you are feeling everything—and that everything feels like nothing, because you cannot process any of it. Everything is clinical, because that is the only way you can think. You no longer have emotions; you have cold rationality. Everything must be just so, in order, held together, because you aren’t, and you don’t know when you will be.

The second night . . .

Your world is Frost: You perished first in ice, dry and cold and astringent, but from what you’ve tasted of desire, you know the cruelty of fire. Your night is split not between nothing and everything, but between not enough and too much. When your distractions run out, the fire comes, leaving ice in its wake—anger and sadness pulsing through your heart. At least you’re feeling now.

The third night . . .

Your world is wrong. You feel okay sometimes, really okay, and you’re scared because you don’t know if you should, because the rest of you is still screaming silently, but the tears have stopped ripping through you, and you can think clearly now without suffering the slings and arrows, though the pebbles still sting. You’re learning how to live again, and it feels like you shouldn’t, but you will.

The fourth night . . .

Let me know when you’re there. Because I’m not there yet, and I’m scared, but I know I’m not alone. You’re not alone. And I need you to be here, so you can tell me that it gets better, because I know it will, but I need you to tell me. And I will tell you, and we will make it through this, and we will tell everyone else that it’s okay, and we will give them our shoulders, and we will give them our distractions, and we will pat out the flames, and we will melt the ice, to let them know that it gets better. It gets better.

And so on . . . and so on.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 33

I have a confession.

I didn’t eat yesterday. I should have.

I woke up early (for me) to play a game with friends.

From 10 AM to 5 PM I was a smart-talking mage of Mind and Space.

But until 4 that morning I had been watching YouTube videos. I was tired.

So I took a nap. I slept longer than I thought I would; my alarm woke me at 8 PM.

The alarm was reminding me that the Saturday game I run was to start in an hour.

Though I wasn’t hungry, I knew I needed food, so I checked the UK Dining hours.

K Lair would start taking meal swipes at 10 PM, in the middle of the game.

I wanted to use a meal swipe, because I had one left for the week.

If I didn’t use it, it would go to waste, gone forever.

And Flex dollars are a precious resource.

I had a pack of ramen I could eat.

I could make it during a lull in the game.

The meal swipe is wasted, but ramen is cheap.

And I wouldn’t have to go all the way to K Lair at night.

But I didn’t fix the ramen. I was tired, and I wanted to sleep.

When the game ended at 3:30 AM, I pulled up the covers and curled up.

But I couldn’t sleep yet, because my nap had brought me out of my sleep debt.

I was tired, though. Just a little longer, and I could sleep. I just had to stall for time.

So I pulled up YouTube and had a discussion with my friends on Skype. It was long.

At 6 AM, I rolled over in my bed and tucked my arm under the pillow, sleepy.

I slept in fits and woke up several times, the most prominent at 9 AM.

I finally awoke at 1 PM, still not hungry, but very weak.

I berated myself, since I knew why I did it.

It wasn’t because I was busy.

Nor because I was tired.

It wasn’t the dining hours.

I did it because I’ve gained a few pounds.

I’m far from overweight, but I worry anyway.

I know that your stomach should never be entirely flat.

You have organs there. They take up room. But that’s being rational.

I Googled the calories someone my height, age, and weight burns by living.

I certainly wasn’t going to exercise on an empty stomach, weakened as I was.

And I told myself that this was fine. That one day of not eating isn’t bad.

In high school, I read a book about a girl with anorexia nervosa.

She told herself she was strong when she didn’t eat.

I had been telling myself the same thing.

I can’t say I won’t do the same again.

But this is a rare occurrence.

I can control it.

But once in awhile, I worry.

Because I still feel overweight at 125 lbs.

And I worry about the messages the media sends.

Other people may not recognize the dangers in their thoughts.

Not everyone has read a book or a journal or a blog about eating disorders.

They may not know to stop those thoughts before they take complete control.

And even with the resources I have read, I find myself not eating some days.

I want to have a thin middle, to have curves resembling these words.

Because that’s the ideal, isn’t it? That’s what to strive for.

That’s “pretty.” Anything else is “alright.”

That’s the story as it’s being told.

And it’s wrong.

But I still don’t eat some days.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 32

I have weathered the whips and scorns of time. Surely I can bear these upcoming years. For certainly, the system of of checks and balances will prevent the worst case scenario. Certainly, it cannot be as bad as I’ve feared for so long. Certainly. Certainly.

Yet the last time my mouth formed the word, it was out of a different disbelief. “Certainly, he can’t win.” There was only the slightest doubt, passed off as needless paranoia. The voters wouold show the truth when she won—that the best person may not win, but the lesser evil will always prevail. What is an email server to bigotry, hate, and prejudice?

But the numbers clicked in. The numbness clicked in. I searched for answers and found none. I searched for reasons why and found none. Defense of votes cited the sharing of opinions, but not what those opinions were. Were my friends and family sharing those opinions with him that frightened me? Did they, too, harbor such hate in their hearts?

But nothing was said. They cheered with the results and they placated when protests arose, but nothing was said. There was no why. It didn’t happen for a reason. It was the bystanders who delved not deeply enough into the consequences. The evil of one bolstered by the ignorance or apathy of many.

And now I am the apathetic one, wanting only to lie down and close my eyes. Now I am the one who must bear the oppressor’s wrongs. I, and everyone else.


The above was written in class, while I was still trying to sort out my emotions. I cannot say the same is not the case now.

As I wrote, I was tired. Yesterday, I had to just lie down and sleep during the middle of the day, because simply existing was too exhausting. I was hopeless and done.

Since then, I have become indignant.

I have spent too many hours in lengthy discussions with my dad, as he asserted that he was “fine with same-sex civil unions, but calling it a ‘marriage’ just isn’t right,” all the while the words “I LIKE GIRLS” lingered on my lips. I want to out myself to my parents, to explain demisexuality, to show them that it’s not just a made-up word. “So you’re basically straight but don’t like sex?” was the reaction I got from one of the two people in my family I came out to. “No,” I explained. “I can like girls too. I can like anyone. I’m not straight.” “So you’re like a bisexual who doesn’t like sex?” “No, that’s not it either.” Cue another lengthy discussion. That was to a person I trust implicitly to understand me, and in time, she did understand. And though I love my parents deeply, I feel that I cannot trust this information about myself to them. How could I ever hope that a politician with such hateful attitudes toward women, latinos, and a host of other minorities could ever understand me, when I fear even my parents cannot?

Then add to that the fact that I am a genderflux woman—put simply, someone who fluxes between intensities of gender. Most days I experience little connection to the female gender, and present my identity in gender-neutral, baggy clothes, tying back my long hair simultaneously to get it out of my way, and because I associate it with feminity, as I wear it down on days when I feel more comfortable as a woman. But regardless of my gender identity, the fact that I own a vagina is enough cause for worry, when the upcoming president promises, “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” And with as much fear as I have for anyone with a vagina, I fear most of all for my trans friends, who already have enough hardship as it is.

But this fear and indignance has been tempered.

Because Stephen Colbert talked about the things we can all come together on.

Because the people I cherish most have not changed, and they still care about me.

And because my professor nearly brought me to tears with a speech about his own fears, his own uncertainties—and in the midst of it, he reassured this class that we are his friends.

What we need most in this hour is solidarity and strength. We will weather this storm, as we have weathered all storms before. We will persevere, we will outlast, and we will come out with a shared experience that has brought us all closer together.

And hey, reactionary votes seem to be the “in” thing nowadays, so we might get Bernie next time.

Posted in WRD 402

WRD 402: Post 31

The Results are In: U.S. Presidential Election 2016

silence never cut deeper
nor the skin tore so slowly
a thin veneer of white
pale as death
like shed skin over yet living tissue
the blood pumping
pounding in the ears
because the heart remains in shock
what a world
what a life
what wonders created in the bleak hands of terror
the claws curled inward yet reaching
grasping but furled
attacking all while holding in
the breath of those
who suffer now
and on
and on
and on
and
and

deadness in the stomach
like a pit of void
the need to fidget, to do something
to do anything except
wait
and wonder
and wish that i lived in a swing state
so that i could have made a difference

i watched the states turn
like sportsball players
i yelled at ohio when it dropped the ball
‘so far off the planet that its astronauts waved’
ohio tried to kill me both times i was in the state
seems fitting
i thought that the joke
about ohio being so terrible
that so many people went to space to get away
was funny
now i realize
i would leave too

kentucky was doomed to be red
i never expected more of it
but wisconsin was a stab of betrayal
new hampshire kept me in fits
pennsylvania was the final straw

pennsylvania
it had seemed so blue for so long
the dirty judas
pieces of silver
to erect a phallus of pyrite
language, now
dont want to offend
because in this new world
opinions are like fingers
if someone decides you have too many
they just need to cut you down
slice by slice
until youre submissive like you should be

i speak as a woman in a world
where locker room talk just got elected
and i am afraid
not for myself

not for myself

yet

but i feel a great weight
and i wonder
if inishturk would be there for me
once my last semester
one more semester
is done

i wish i were angry
but i never thought
in my wildest dreams
that my faith could be so overturned
i built up no reserves
i have no passions to draw from
my anger is an empty well
encasing a spite suicide
in a talk-story not mine to tell

a line echoes
in new york you can be a new man
and isnt that hope
isnt that the thing
the immigrant who changed america
who betrays him now
like pennsylvania

andrew jackson
fueled by rage and cocaine
(one of these may be wrong)
a joke among my friend and me
how often did i joke
about small hands
and empty speech
the man fought duels for fun
the man fights safety
the world for america
but what about the world
when america is no longer in it
when you have closed us off
with walls and hate
when you have fueled the fire
your horns do grow high

im cold