Runa Khan's Eng255 Blog

A qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

40. Abraham Rodriguez’s “The Boy without a Flag”

Swirls of dust danced in the beams of sunlight that came through the tall

windows, the buzz of voices resounding in the stuffy auditorium. Mr. Rios

stood by our Miss Colon, hovering as if waiting to catch her if she fell. His

pale mouse features looked solemnly dutiful. He was a versatile man, dou-

bling as English teacher and gym coach. He was there only because of Miss

Colon’s legs. She was wearing her neon pink nylons. Our favorite.(2305)

I thought this passage was very amusing and it possessed a lot of descriptive words. The imagery in the first sentence was strong. “Swirls of dust danced in beams of sunlight” sounded very poetic. The line continues to describe the auditorium which had “tall windows”, was filled with “buzz of
voices” and was packed which made it “stuffy”. The passage then goes on to talk about Mr. Rios who had “pale mouse features”, this made me laugh. Mr. Rios is said to have had many uses such as having the job as both “English teacher” and “gym coach” and is said to only be working there because of Miss Colon whom he was lingering around her as if he was waiting to be her hero. The funny thing about this passage is that it states that Mr. Rios was there precisely for her “legs”
in which at this particular moment as “neon pink nylons” on them. The passage ends with the funniest statement “our favorite”, that Miss Colon’s legs and nylons wasn’t only admired by Mr. Rios but to the male students as well.

39. Demetra Martinez’s “The Devil’s Workshop

They were right,

Our mothers and all

Their mothers before them.

Idleness is the devil’s workshop.(2304)

These four lines from Martinez’s poem really interested me. The significant thing in this line is “idleness”. She states that all the mother’s have been right, that habitually doing nothing or avoiding work is “the devil’s workshop”. The symbolism of idleness being the devil’s workshop is something I think to be sure. If you don’t know nothing and just sit around all day you wont achieve anything positive, in which the devil is associated to all things negative.

38. Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Sixteen”

Thirteen Mexicans,

each having paid from two fifty to five hundred

to the coyote to smuggle them in the United States to work,

crashed into the back end of a sixteen-wheeler

and died last night—

the
youngest thirteen.

They died wanting to work,

would have done anything for you—

We closed read this entire poem in class, but these first eight lines struck me the most. The repetition of the word “died” and the repetition of numbers is what struck my attention. In this poem Baca states how “thirteen Mexicans” who each paid a smuggler between $250 to $500 to be
smuggled into the America. He goes on to say that the “sixteen-wheeler” that was transporting them crashed and every one of them was killed. Baca goes on to say that the youngest passenger in the truck was only thirteen years old. The last two lines state how “they died wanting to work”, that they wanted to come to America to make a living and that they “would have done anything for you”. The “you” in this line is important because it singles out the reader because this work that was being offered to these Mexicans were things that average people were offering and they would have don’t it all for “you”.

37. Lorna Dee Cervantes’ “Refugee Ship”

Like wet cornstarch, I slide

past my grandmothers eyes. Bible

at her side, she removes her glasses.

The pudding thickens.

Mama raised me without language.

I’m orphaned from my Spanish name.

The words are foreign, stumbling

on my tongue. I see in the mirror

my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair (2011)

In the first 2 lines of this poem, Cervantes states how like
“wet cornstarch” that is slippery, she smoothly passes by her grandmother. As
she slowly passes by her, she notices her grandmother has a bible with her and
she takes off her glasses. This makes me imagine that her grandmother took of
her glasses to rub her eyes to make sure she is sure that she just seen her
granddaughter sail right by her. She goes on to say “the pudding thickens”
which I have no clue what this symbolizes. The poem then takes a turn in the
next four lines. She states how she is “orphaned from” her “Spanish name” which
may mean that she was given an English name in replacement. She then talks
about the Spanish language which is not known to her and that it is something
perplex on her tongue. Front this statement I believe this is so because she
was raised to speak only English and when she tried to speak Spanish it felt so
unnatural. The last two lines she states how when she looks in the mirror, what
she sees is “bronzed skin, black hair” which is a sign of her ethnic identity.

36. Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “The Daughter I Cannot Console”

And her consolation was true.

It has to do with time—what we both know now

as enemy to the flesh; also

as the healer of wounds. But for you,

there are no words that will help. Time to you

is a slow clock measuring the rise of beauty,

the deepening of feeling. (1907)

In this poem Coffer is talking about the advise her own
mother has given her to help with a problem that her daughter is having. She
states how her mother’s solace was true, that time heals all wounds. But Cofer
goes on to say that her and her daughter feel time is an “enemy to the flesh”
as well as a “healer”. She goes on to say that there aren’t any words that can
help soothe her daughter and how time in her eyes is a “slow clock” that measures
beauty and deepens feeling. With this poem “time” is significant. It is a well
known phrase that “time heals all wounds” but there are always negative views
in interpreting its meaning.

35. Pat Mora’s “Malinche’s Tips: Pique from Mexico’s Mother”

My face isn’t red

from blushing or lust,

flush of wild, swarming

unconstricted blood.

Tip 1: In an unfriendly country,

wear a mask.

You will see more. (1854-55)

These lines that I have chosen from Mora’s poem caught my intention because of the key words such as lust, flush, wild, swarming, unconstricted, unfriendly, and mask that instantly struck my attention.  In the first four lines he is stating that his “face isn’t red” from this such as “blushing or lust” but this redness was caused by blood that is compressed and flowing and spreading suddenly through his face. He then goes on to give the first tip within this poem which he is
saying “to wear a mask” in this country that is hostile. Baca says that wearing a mask will help them to “see more” which is interesting because he might be saying disclose your identity so you can find out more.

34. Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “From Violene to Peace”

Twenty-eight shotgun pellets

crater my thighs, belly, and groin.

I gently thumb each burnt bead,

Fingering scabbed stubs with ointment. (1821)

In this poem Baca is talking about the gunshots he has received. He says that “twenty-eight” wounds from the pellets of a shotgun have created holes on his

“thighs, belly, and groin”. He goes on to say that with his thumb, he slowly touches each wound. He states how with his fingers he traces over the “stubs” applying “ointment” on them. This poem is very graphic and descriptive. Baca, through his poem, helps reader picture each wound that has scared these three parts of his body.

33. Franklin Gutierrez’s “Helen”

How things have changed, Helena,

the anguished cry for a homeland

left behind

the first encounter with

the tall, uniform faded towers of the empire,

the wide avenues

buried under layers of snow,

the traffic signs,

one way, no parking anytime, quarters only.(1808-9)

In this poem Guiterrez is describing what he sees in NewYork to a woman named “Helena”, who can very well be his lover ,wife,girlfriend, or a woman who is significant in his life. In the first three lines he is telling Helena how things have changed since he came to this new land. The change, I believe is something that is negative because he goes on to say that his cry for his homeland has become a cry of suffering for the land he has left behind. He goes on to describe the city as her observed it for the first time. He describes the buildings of the “empire” as all being the same,tall
and dim. The last few lines he describes the “avenues” which he says are extensive and what can be read on “the traffic signs” such as “one way, no parking anytime, quarters only”. I really enjoyed the imagery that Guiterrez provides within this piece. He is describing a new land in a manner that seems as though he has embarked in a strange environment.

32. Potential Media For Final Essay

I was thinking about using this video in my final essay if I use Pedro Pietri’s poem in the body of my paper. The lines of the poem in which I intend to you starts around 1:47. I’m not 100% sure if this is recited by Pietri himself.

31. Cover Letter

My English 255 experience was honestly more helpful than I thought it
would be.I would get frustrated at times with the amount of work that
would be expected but then after completing assignments and getting
positive feedback made me feel way better and more confident for the
next round of assignments. Doing responses and blog work helped me
become a better writer. I’ve learned proper MLA for papers and
citations, being able to analyze texts more precisely and in depth,
as well as constructing nice PIE paragraphs which I’ve found myself
implementing in my 3 other English classes this semester. I think if
it wasn’tf or this class I wouldn’t have been able to do all these
things I’ve mentioned which in the beginning I foundto be frustrating
and now I find myself doing more efficiently. I know that I will take
everything I’ve learned and use it in the future and that’s something
I’m happy to say I’ve gained from this class.


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