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We Cannot Be Fed Lies, or Alternatively: California

The soup from the sky
filled the boats, the streets, the homes.

The people, at first, were first
to rejoice. Cracked hands flexed

upping up every drop. Mouths, open in little ozones,

gulped down the soupdrops; people bought the soupdrops;
eyes ears callouses made ridges

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Waking Up

Content Warning: Suicide ideation

You feel your eyes open and see nothing but the inside of your head; a distorted howl gallops over you. A sliver of light splits your vision and a dim glow leaks through the cracks. You feel your eyes close; the light hesitates. You know you’re breathing. The sweat on your back sticks you to your sheets and anchors you down. Your limbs are hollow and disconnected. The room twirls slowly like a music box and your breath bubbles. You can feel the density of the air press you and keep you held in position. The night sounds heavy through your cracked window. A gurgle grows from your stomach and wanders up until it leaks out your parted lips. They are dry. A film slides across your tongue. You spread it to your lips and wait as your breath peels it back off. The room keeps moving.

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I was twenty years old
when I saw her dance like a flickering candle.
I was a lanky pock-marked chlorine-bleached bad haircut.
And she was a beauty,
in a sloshy sort of party way.
It wasn’t holy. She was too drunk-
I was drunk too.

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Freedom of Speech in the Age of Trump

A couple weeks ago, posters from the newly-formed Republican club were torn down in the loggia, and ended up sparking some charged conversations. On the Class of 2020 Facebook page several students weren’t quick to sympathize with the club, as anti-fascist art had also been torn down on campus. One person said: “It’s not ok when protest art is being destroyed but our campus only cares about making republicans feel comfortable!!” The raw emotion jumped off my screen at me as I read it. Beneath that post was: “Grinnell College Campus Republicans, when you host a Republicans Against Trump action i’ll care abt your group. until then i’m not about to waste my energy carving out a space for you on this campus for the sake of ‘political diversity’.”

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Act Up and Out Grinnell: A Call to Action

As a Grinnell Student I’ve taken some considerable pride in the fact that Grinnell College has had a visible history of social and political activism. I have taken pride in hearing bands of students come together to raise the intellectual awareness of their peers. So, in following the legacy of Grinnellians in the past, I write this to do the same: raise our intellectual and social awareness. We as Grinnellians should be known as empathic scholars with a vision for how the world should be for all of us who inhabit it. But, are we really reaching our potential? The election of Donald Trump has brought about division and toxicity. Even if we ourselves try to ignore it, the cultural climate post election has been that of ignorance and intolerance from more than just our sworn enemies. This type of ignorance and intolerance extends beyond political lines and is the very thing that can give rise to apathy and reluctance. We must resist this and act. If we stand together as students of Grinnell College, no matter our background, we show that this division and apathy is not acceptable. On March 1st we intend to do just this.

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Steam Away Your Toxins; Steam Away Your Woe 

When speaking of rituals, David Bowie once mentioned his essential “awe of the universe.” Rituals are not beautiful for what they represent, but for what they do for their practitioners: for their aesthetic appeal: for their sheer power to define in a vacuous world of competing identities: for their ability to peek out from our distracted lives and wave, reminding us that we live in a miraculous world.

Rituals and structures create an easement, or catharsis, for many who chose to create or follow them. They find a calm and productivity in rigidity, like the generative constraints of creative writing. For instance, given our current political climate on and off campus, tensions constantly soar from brains to hearts to bodies. Tension, bodily and otherwise, defines the Grinnell College campus community in its competitive academic culture, its cult of stress, and its social-justice pissing contests. Grinnell has fallen ill and continues to poison itself.

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The woman leaned back, her tired eyes struggling to focus on the faces around her, blurs that surrounded her bedside. She could hear them whispering, concern in their voices as they refused to acknowledge the simple truth. She was dying.
It was an unexceptional moment in her life, she thought to herself philosophically. Surprisingly, she experienced no anxiety, only a calm peace that settled over her body. She anticipated the final breath, almost looked forward to it with a kind of morbid acceptance.
The voices around her got quieter, the turbulent babble of the living finally vanquished by the impending silence of death.
Instead she saw around her the faces of people long gone, the ghosts of her past coming back to haunt her in her final moments. They danced, swirling in vivid colors that reminded her of her youth, yet she felt strangely detached from them. Was her memory playing tricks again? She could no longer tell, her fatigued brain unable to distinguish between reality and the world that existed solely inside her head.
She blinked and suddenly she found herself in the middle of a party. She stumbled forward in shock as the sweating bodies wove their way around her, the pounding music throbbing through the floor up into her veins.
The lights flashed violently, and in the semi-darkness she could see the faces of her friends, mascara running in sweaty streams down their cheeks, their damp hair sticking to the skin on their backs and soaking through what little clothes they were wearing.

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On Heaviness and Frivolity

The drink throws me
back into myself from
deep paradises, out
of temporality into knowledge
I know now what it hides—
the poisoned geographies
the promises, the dead
oh, the dead, who within
consumption take action—
I know now that I am moving ahead
but through what I couldn’t say
a length of rope, a coil of sinew
peels of grapefruit, strange Continue reading

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