May 31, 2020

Note: One rainy night, I was the victim of a “ding dong ditch.” As I grumpily looked across the front yard of my parent’s house, I noticed a mysterious package on the steps. It had been weeks since my friend, who loves his anonymity, dragged me into the woods to try to find bigfoot. I confess that I thought he was crazy, and then he almost choked to death on a granola bar. After  that night, I avoided my friend for a few weeks, even before the quarantine. But I’m sorry to report that the package contained my friend’s field notebook. There was a note to me in there, asking me to present the final passages in the notebook to you. I have faithfully carried out his final charges, now all that remains is what you do with it. 

If you are receiving this correspondence, dear editor, I am afraid that the inevitable has happened. Like Icarus, I have moved too close to the proverbial sun. The powers that be have noticed my w...

May 31, 2020

“I’m really sorry to have to tell you this,” my manager at a Portsmouth hotel told me in March, “but I have to cut hours. It’s nothing personal.” And just like that, I morphed in to an unemployed older dude. Still a graduate student at UNH Durham (even though I will be completing my MFA on Zoom), still an Army Reservist (even through the drill dates are pushed to the right, and conducted virtually), still a sports fan (although with March Madness cancelled, I am conjuring up YouTube videos of past college basketball tournaments and sports documentaries), still a supporter of the undergraduate students here (although I have to stand back a safe distance when I meet their parents and wish them well, as they stream back to campus to pack their things and leave again). I am still all these things, and yet, I feel as dysfunctional as when I was 17 years old and needed to decide what I was going to do with my life. 

I begin...

May 31, 2020

Christopher Edwin Breaux, better known as Frank Ocean, is a storyteller before all else. His songs often tell an intricate tale in a matter of minutes. On the artist’s sophomore studio album Blonde, he uses his narrative ability to reflect on his own life. On one track in particular, “Self Control,” he sings of love, loss, and bad timing. The songwriter uses literary devices such as juxtaposition and flashback to weave a plot sad enough to leave listeners winded. In this essay, we will unpack “Self Control” and analyze the methods Ocean used to craft one of the most heartbreaking ballads in music’s recent history. 

So what makes this song so goddamn sad?

Before diving into our analysis of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control,” there is something that must be understood. Throughout “Self Control” – and the rest of Blonde – Ocean transitions between his normal voice and altered, high-pitched voices. The varied voices are more than...

May 31, 2020

I move around a lot. Not necessarily in terms of permanent address; my actual house has not changed since I was brought into this world. In that sense, I only ever moved from my mother's womb to the hospital to my standard suburban house where I lived for the next 18 years. However, despite having been settled there for most of my life, I don't feel particularly attached to my town. There is a lot about it I don't like to associate with, for example, the prominence of some flags (confederate ones) and the backlash of raising others (LGBTQ+ pride flags). Instead, I've made homes out of the people around me in whichever place I wind up in, travels and otherwise. The people I find a home in provide more comfort and protection than four walls ever could.

Currently, this sense of home most feels like my best friends' apartment at school where I spend my spare time. Or where I spent my spare time prior to this tornado of eve...

Firm flower, new attitude

What a winter

What a good time to

Dare to lay down when magic is found

And a cute little world for us to see

- New Attitude, Babe Rainbow

~

“You’re just living, man... you’re... just there in that moment, in that special place in time. Maybe when I get back, I can write a book about my travels, you know, about getting out of this sick society. SOCIETY! SOCIETY, MAN! SOCIETY! SOCIETY! You know, SOCIETY! Cause you know what I don’t understand, I don’t understand why people, why every fucking person is so bad to one each other, so fucking often. It doesn’t make sense to me. Judgement, control, all that the whole spectrum…”

– Alexander Supertramp, Into the Wild

~

 “The Buddha walked away, and his look and half-smile imprinted on Siddhartha’s memory forever. I have never seen a man look and smile, sit and walk like that, he thought. I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so...

December 21, 2019, the night that comedy mega mogul Eddie Murphy returned to host Saturday Night Live was an incomparable blast to SNL past. It was also the night my once-unattainable dreams came true: After winning an SNL Instagram trivia contest three nights before, I was able to travel to New York City with my mother to sit in the live studio audience for the highly anticipated Eddie Murphy Christmas show.

After his 35-year hiatus from Studio 8H, Murphy’s comeback couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the show’s purposes. That night’s cold open nailed the political events of the time: Alec Baldwin’s dumbly defiant rendition of a recently impeached President Trump came out to “crash” the sixth Democratic presidential debate, held in Los Angeles just two days before with a (formerly) full slate of candidates. Illustrious vocalist/rapper Lizzo, the show’s accompanying musical guest, brought down the house wit...

the sound of the wind

is constructed entirely

inside of my eardrum,

the invisible push whooshing

like a maraca of mysticism;

a map of the sound of the wind,

fully unscrolled, that is,

would be a massive blueprint

spanning three mess hall tables,

every gadget and gizmo and gearshift

accounted for accordingly

by an artist’s zen touch

the silence inebriates my brain,

drenching it in blankets of blankness

invisibility is key

invisibility is what allows the wind

to keep its secret reign hidden

inside each drop of rain

lost once the water shatters

on concrete and umbrellas and children’s outstretched tongues

reaching for the unattainable

invisibility, my friend,

allows for the existence of wonder;

allow me to wander into wonder

for an eternity or two,

serendipity streaming over my eyelids,

the muffled secret splattering on my face,

my worries and desires deserted,

finally,

for good.

may i never know the secret blueprints,

for my own good.

Don’t be afraid. Because tomorrow’s not promised. Do you. That’s all we can do. Listen; learn how to cope with reality. You only get one, so live life. Be safe. Watch who you call your homie. They come and go. Don’t gotta be gangsta all the time. Believe me; it can be so nice. Make use of the time. Make it live forever. A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life. Keep on minding my business.

- Knxwledge

We have to believe in the miraculous. The unattainable. The surreal serendipity dripping from visions of tomorrow like gold-spun strands of honeycomb honey. If we don’t, if we let this beautiful butterfly tomorrow dance away with its rainbow stained-glass wings flapping like dual kites in the soft breeze above our dirt-buried heads, then we’ve let happiness escape. This isn’t to say the sparkling, stunning landscape of the now, which is full of enchantment in every whiff, isn’t paramount; it’s actually to reinforce thi...

I like lists. Some would call me type A; however, the relative messiness of my life would beg to differ. My best friend would probably analyze it as my minor OCD coming out (she’s a psych major by the way). Honestly, I always thought I liked lists because every time I got to cross something off I felt like I just won a freaking Oscar. Even if the thing being crossed off was “1. Get out of bed you lazy bum.” A few years ago I started keeping lists of all the good things in life. The little or big things that brought me joy and happiness. My lists typically housed things that I had encountered or noticed that day or during a recent experience. I now have years worth of entries, all full of random scents, sounds, objects, tastes, people, and feelings that make me smile. During this time when everything is going to shit, I have been leaning on these little journal entries as a crutch. I mean it literally feels like everyt...

For a nation known as the birthplace of modern soccer, England has seen very little international success since their only World Cup victory in 1966. Despite their struggles on a global scale keeping up with rival countries like Germany or Italy, the sport remains a unifying factor and an important staple in England’s culture and history.

Football’s persistent popularity over the years borders on obsession. The sport has long been present on a domestic league scale in their English Premier League, a competition that sprouted and grew over a century after England first installed a league in 1888 that involved 12 teams. Now with four professional leagues across the country, football is an average piece of daily life in England with a club to represent just about any population. 

5 o’clock Wednesday night at a pub in Marylebone would see a steady flow of patrons coming in as work gets out, but on the occasional Wednesday n...

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