Washington College's Student Literary and Arts Magazine

Issue: February 2014

Moses Goodreau and the Matter of the False Idol

Moses Goodreau and the Matter of the False Idol

Part III: Desperate Men As Moses paced up and down the street, the events of the past few days unspooled from his unconscious: his peaceful life with Janine, the intriguing phone call which brought him to Chelsea Hopkins and the mysterious actions of her former […]

Nyathia Pa

Nyathia Pa

A poem beginning with a quote made popular by Madiba

Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful
beyond measure,
that we burn bright like the sun,
or that we’re weighted
in our history, rooted in
and built upon our name,
and fear what to do
when the bottom falls out.

Let me mourn with you.
Speak to me in your love,
in your hieroglyphics,
like I am the Papyrus plant.
Then lay me soft
and let me bundle in the warmth
of the language you left us –
in your tongue –
in your blood – my blood.

Let me smell the spicy scent
upon landing in Entebbe
to reach you before we say
“Goodbye.”
There is a misconception
in this phrase;
it is succinct, narrow, intense,
like you.

So carry me deep like Victoria.
Deep like your love.
Wakathi: We go
to walk the sunken soils
of the butterfly garden you once
called home, but you are called home now
and I just want to be part
of your passing memory.

Did you know: Goodbye
comes from God be with you,
and you, (being a god-fearing man)
deserve to walk with him
side by side as he escorts you to Mama.
Together like it was intended.

And we need to believe that’s true;
from there we will find comfort,
from there we’ll bake in memory
of your resplendent smile.
Reminded of how to thrive.
Reminded of how to rise from the fire.

For Martin Obbo (Grand Pa, Kwara, Baba) Rest in Peace

Anti-Legend

Anti-Legend

One day, the world will be full of cold, stale graves, endless names lining the long rocky walkway of an immense cemetery, each of us waiting from first breath to add our bodies to the ground. And what happens then? All is barren, and the […]

I Imagine There is a Fairy in the Woods

I Imagine There is a Fairy in the Woods

Forest damp,
shaded by the
darkening of day.
Daylight,
an emptying hourglass,
as dusk glides
over the cool green land.

A fairy rests nearby,
her luster of dark gold hair
and metallic eyes
capturing the last light
in open pasture where a horse
breaks through crunchy leaves
to wrap his pink lips around
long wet grass.

She wanders through woods
as the last sands sift
through a glass flask,
day playing its end.
A small bird calls,
rustling in the thicket,
and the fairy disappears in flight.

The Birth of a Storyteller

The Birth of a Storyteller

A black figure slowly pushed its way into the light; its shapelessness appeared menacing. The shadow began to morph, taking on distinguishable features. An eye, blank and bright, formed above an elongated snout and a single fang descended from the creature’s maw. With a roar, […]

Images in Song

Images in Song

I like American music, the sound of cocaine-fueled ecstasy and regurgitated beer hitting the pavement. I like the sea-salt smell of the west coast, the sweaty backs of the east. And lying on the hood of my car I listen to the waves of the […]

Baby Bird

Baby Bird

I’m trying to fall asleep but the damn bird keeps chirping.

My father came down for a visit the other day. He and my brother met me by the theatre and we had dinner on the terrace. My father told us that he loved us all very much. When he was done, he put his plate on top of my brother’s.

My mother came down for a visit on the other other day. We sat on the lawn and talked about the play I had been in. There was a tree in bloom beside us and it was snowing petals. When she was done, she placed her hand on top of mine.

I’m trying to fall asleep but that damn bird keeps chirping.

When I think of my sister, I think of brown eyes and colors. I think of her laughing and of the time she couldn’t stop screaming. When I last saw her, she made me breakfast. She stuffed the batter with cheddar and apples and I talked with the quiet boy who loved her. It was the first time I had been home in a long time and I was leaving the next morning. There was sunlight on the dining room table and colored cloth everywhere. When we were young, we painted the walls with vines and flowers. We spent the ensuing years making paintings to cover them up. She always loved birds.

When I think of my brother, I think of quiet conversations. I think of his flexing and of the time he somehow cried. When I last saw him, we sat in silence around a table on the terrace. It was the first time in a long time I had seen him since I had moved. When we were young, we figured we would live together. We spent the ensuing years realizing that we would not. He was always the good brother.

I’m trying to fall asleep but that damn bird keeps chirping.

My father married [nameless], my mother, [unmentioned], [no one else]. Somewhere in the mixture, he started smoking and said it was that they had gone crazy and he didn’t know what to do. When we were young, we wouldn’t talk about my mother around him.

My mother loved [nameless], my father, [unmentioned], [no one else]. Somewhere in the mixture, she became a mother and said that it was all she ever wanted to be. When we were young, we wouldn’t talk about our father around her.

I’m trying, trying, trying to fall asleep but that damn bird keeps chirping.

I walked down the street with empty bottles of milk and something moved on the ground beside me. I looked down and saw flesh and feathers and expectant eyes looking up at me and heard chirping come up from it. It hopped along the brick and seemed to move to me and stop. I looked up at the hot sun and continued along.

(i love you)

My father came down for a visit the other day. My brother and I sat in silence as he talked to us on the terrace. My father told us that he loved us all very much. When he was done, we wished him a happy Father’s Day.

My mother came down for a visit on the other other day. We sat on the sidewalk and laughed that we were a family of itwasagoodgigwhileitlasted. There was a house for sale beside us and we looked inside the windows. When she was done, I laughed and cursed.

I want to fall asleep but that damn bird won’t let me.

When I think of my sister, I think of brown eyes and colors. I think of when she would watch over me and my brother and try to find scraps of food for us to eat. When I last was home, I did not sleep and instead stayed up with a yet stranger. It was the first time I had been home in a long time and I was leaving the next morning. I hid smiling in the bathroom and looked at the moonlight and saw a strange man smoking in the dark. When we were young, the man didn’t smoke and we called him by a name. We spent the ensuing year forgetting it. She always offered it to him.

When I think of my brother, I think of strained strengthenings. I think of his drawing and of every time we laughed at how much stronger he is than I. When I last saw him, we gave each other worried looks and tried not speaking. It was the first time in a long time I had seen him since things had moved. When we were young, we figured we knew how things would stay together. We spent the ensuing years realizing that they would not. He was always the good brother.

I want to fall asleep but that damn bird won’t let me.

My father married hopeful, loving, trying, no more. Somewhere in the mixture, he started crying and said it was that they had gone crazy and he didn’t know what to do. When we were young, we wouldn’t talk around him and he thought it was because of him.

My mother loved freely, truly, unknowingly, no more. Somewhere in the mixture, she became a mother and said that it was all she ever wanted to be. When we were young, we would cry and she thought it was because of her.

I want to fall asleep but that damn bird won’t let me.

My father came down for a visit the other day. My brother and I sat in restrained silence and tried to respond. My father told us that he loved us all very much. When he was done, he asked that nothing would change. We wished him happy Father’s Day.

My mother came down for a visit on the other other day. We sat in a restaurant and talked about restaurants where we used to go. There was ice in the bottom of the cup and I kept chewing on it. When I was done, my teeth hurt.

I want to fall asleep but I keep talking to that damn bird.

I walked down the street with a full pack on my back and something moved on the ground beside me. I looked down and saw flesh and flowers and expectant eyes looking up at me and heard chirping come up from it. It hopped towards the road and seemed to move to me and stop. I set a parcel of water beside it and continued along.

(i love you i’m sorry)

When I think of my sister, I think of brown eyes and how she always laughed about being the only one in the family with them. I think how she would insist on bringing us to our grandfather’s house and how much he would tease her. I think of how she is the only one of the children to remember our grandmother. When I last was home, I did not sleep and instead stayed up on the roof. It was the first time I had been home in a long time and I was leaving the next morning. I sat on the beam and she called up and asked that I not fall. When I was young, we would climb trees. She always managed to tumble safely when she fell.

When I think of my brother, I think of improvements. I think of how well he worked at liking who he was and how poorly I did. When I last saw him, we picked at our plates as our father cried and loved. It was the first time in a long time he had seen things move. When we were young, we would grow quiet together when things got bad. We spent the ensuing years gaining voices. He was always the good brother.

I want to fall asleep but that damn bird won’t let me.

My father came down for a visit the other day. My brother and I sat in our chairs and wondered about our sister. My father told us that he loved us all the same and always had. When he was done, he asked that nothing would change. We told him we know he had tried and that we loved him equally as well.

My mother came down for a visit on the other other day. We sat in my old car and talked about people we used to visit. There was a bitterness in the air and I rolled down the windows to let it out. When I was done, my head hurt.

I walked down the street with clothes that didn’t fit me and something moved on the ground beside me. I looked down and saw flesh and flowers and expectant eyes looking around for me and heard chirping come up from it. It hopped towards the road and seemed to grow tired and stop. I set it in a box and asked the world what to do.

(i love you i’m sorry i tried)

When I think of my sister, I think of brown eyes, how she made an odd and wonderful Irish girl. I think how she would always set our grandparents off and how she loved them all the same. I wonder what my grandmother thought of the only grandchild she knew. When I last was home, I did not see her nearly as much as I would have liked and instead saw her leaving through the door. It was the first time I had been home in a long time and she was getting a lot out of life. I sat in the living room and called to her that I loved her. When we were young, we were hell to the other. The hell lessened with each house we left.

When I think of my brother, I think of the people I wish could meet him. I think of how lazily he dresses and how dedicated he is to being well. When I last saw him, we agreed. It was the first time in a long time he had seen things move. When we were young, we would grow quiet together when things got bad. We spent the ensuing years gaining voices. He was always the good brother.

I want to fall asleep but the bird won’t let me, no.

My father married one ring, two rings, three rings, no rings. Somewhere in the mixture, he started losing rings, said it was that they had gone crazy and he didn’t know what to do. When we were young, we figured he had thrown them away and didn’t think any better.

My mother loved a promised ring, a given ring, a substituted ring, no rings. Somewhere in the mixture, she became a mother and said that didn’t need a ring. When she was young, she would cry and think it was because of her.

I want to fall asleep but the bird won’t let me, no, no, no, no

I walked down the street in clothes that were soaking wet and something moved in the clouds above me. I looked up and saw black and blowing and heard rumbling coming from far away. It blew towards me and seemed to grow angry and run. I ran for my room and asked the world what it was doing.

(i love you i’m sorry i tried i tried i)

My father came down for a visit the other day. My mother came down for a visit the other other day. I think of my brother. I think of my sister. My father married. My mother loved. I walked down the same street a dozen times getting somewhere. My sister always loved birds. My brother was always the good brother. We climbed trees when we were young and she could always tumble safely when she fell. She could always tumble safely when she fell. She could always tumble safely when she fell. She could always tumble safely

and i’m trying to fall asleep but it is looking up at me and it is chirping like it’s asking for something, asking for food, asking for water, but it wouldn’t take my water, it wanted its mom, it wanted God, and God is anything that can give life and i am no god, i’m no mother, it wanted me to be anything and it wanted to live, wanting the only thing it understood because what creature understands dying, and if it chirped loud enough then mother would come, but mother never came, it was just there on the other side of the fence in a pile of leaves with a broken wing and i put it there and the ants would have been crawling all over it and the rain would have started and washed the ants away and it would have been nice but the rain would have gotten heavier and the sky’s not right and is mother and home getting washed away and that sound, why’s that sound, and if god chirps then he chirps like the devil and the alley is filling up and the leaves and water are washing down to the fence, the gate, and if the gate was open then maybe all could leave, and find a tree, and mother would be there, but there are whole rivers rushing down, and i just want my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers, and i’m sorry that i fell and i didn’t mean to and i won’t do it again but i just want my mother and the water’s rushing up and i’m cold and where did all my air go?

How My Stories Start

How My Stories Start

Usually, but don’t quote me,
“One time when I was drunk” but never high. I soak myself in the purity of depressants, submerge myself in baths of black jager, purple Jesus. I remember snippets of each “last night” where phantom conversations slosh in my head; mixed […]