A Green Sweater
I pull my knit sweater over my head,
The soft green fabric kissing my skin,
Simultaneously tugging at my curls,
Peering over my shoulders curiously as I debate: jeans or leggings?
My sweater embraces me,
Gently reminding me of rainy days,
Days Dad and I would sit indoors,
Eyes eagerly scanning a puzzle as we tried to pick up the pieces,
Putting together our incomplete picture,
One we can’t resolve no matter how hard we try.
The vivid green is equivalent to my mother’s eyes,
Eyes that always held love for me despite a tongue that failed to do the same,
Invoking matches that were burnt against cigarettes,
Igniting flames that often caused more damage when they were put out.
Tainted tear drops still stain the sweater’s inseam,
Ensuring the memory of her is never eased,
As my first heartbreak forced me to turn to my item of comfort,
Questions and confusion being whispered into the sleeve’s arm,
As I wondered why I wasn’t good enough for love.
Perfume that fails to go away after fifty washes still makes me shiver,
As simple times with shining sunrises run through my brain,
The beach’s natural scent a consistency,
No matter the distance I travel from her sands,
Her lands of golden seashells and mysterious pearls.
My alarm snaps me back to reality,
So I slide on my jeans and Vans,
Which fail to offer the love of my sweater.
Yet I still wear them,
Allowing them to embrace my skin,
As I go out and make a new memory in this attire.
Content warning: mentions of self-harm
When I was around 6 years old, my mother asked me what my favorite color was for the first time. For some reason, she had concluded that after six years of dictating the color that would dot my room, clothing, and hair, it was finally my turn to choose one special shade around which to mold my personality. Instantly, I selected the color red, which had been the color of the stray tawny cat that would constantly watch over me as if I were one of her many kittens. Red clearly wasn’t the color my mother had expected me to say, but she waved it off, allowing me to rock the color elderly considered sinful, scandalous; the physical imitation of Satan himself.
A few years later, I became more conscious of what the color red entailed, as I had gotten a nosebleed for the very first time. My favorite color began to trickle from my nose suddenly and stained the paper that previously was the scene of my frustrations with long division and lattice. I hadn’t registered just how drastic this color could be until the girl next to me screamed; her voice pierced my ears as I couldn’t help but wish someone would find a way to snap her mouth shut. My peers looked over at me, probably expecting an extreme reaction, but the red wasn’t something that phased me. Why would a simple color be cause for worry? I wondered as my teacher ushered me out of the room and insisted I use a tissue to quell the bleeding that clearly did not affect my present well-being.
The first time I understood my grandmother’s aversion to the color red, I was sitting on a giant yellow school bus. Children noisily chattered about random activities as I found myself dreading being 13, wishing I was older, cooler, like my siblings were. On this ancient school bus that huffed and puffed, my friend explained to me another activity that made people huff and puff, calling these lewd actions the embodiment of sin itself. She called it the “devil’s tango,” explaining to me that our other friend had participated in the complex dance for the first time and claimed it was so fun, she had seen red by the end of it. That evening, I found myself curiously exploring this scandal, draping myself in Satan’s red cloak that matched my throw blanket as I immersed myself in the daring, terrifying world of my favorite color.
Red leaves, that matched the lipstick I enjoyed when I was 16, fell from the sky as I contemplated creating my own sea of red in my bathtub. The tube of lipstick had rolled onto the bathroom floor, forgotten as I surveyed myself in the mirror. While the outside world was tranquil, I remember feeling anything but, as life had become nearly unbearable. Guilt had begun to eat me alive and caused my arms to quickly become an outlet for this unwarranted emotion as I began to blame myself for the problems between my mom and dad, between me and school. My spotless, stark-white bathroom had seemed like the perfect place to spill my favorite color, but I decided against it as I heard my mother’s voice call my name.
The crimson color I let flow down my throat on a Wednesday night sits in my glass from Venice, against which I tap my painted nails. With age, my taste has remained consistent, as I lie in red sheets where I have, multiple times, committed the devil’s favorite dance. My book sits open, a few notes hastily written in the margins while The Weeknd’s music plays in the background, reminding me that the music I listened to at the ripe age of 14 wasn’t as bad as I had thought when I was 19. The book I read fails to engage me, and I find myself leaning toward my bedside table, deciding to immerse my nails in my favorite color yet again rather than the boring, angelic white that currently dots them. Each brushstroke further seals my fate as the spawn of Satan, making me grin as I thank 6-year-old me for her decision.
A Demigod’s Dream Come True
Disney+ Announces Upcoming Reboot of Percy Jackson
Growing up in the early 2000s, most children with an avid love for reading fell under two different categories: the Harry Potter superfans or the Percy Jackson die-hards. Both series reached massive success, inciting blockbuster movies that led to non-bookish children and adults also admiring the new wave of children’s movies. Each series exposed millions of kids to mystical, supernatural concepts they would come to love for years afterwards. Unlike the Harry Potter superfans, many who watched the Percy Jackson movies were disappointed, as the movies forgot many key aspects that were included in the author, Rick Riordan’s, work. The movies changed the ages of all the characters, missed iconic book lines, and added monsters that were not included in the books themselves. These movies were far from book-accurate, inciting criticism from the die-hard Percy Jackson fans.
In May 2020, many fans found themselves celebrating, as Disney+ announced that it would be rebooting the botched movies into a show, which will be directed by author Rick Riordan himself. Riordan was able to directly help with the script, casting, and filming, allowing his story to be played out as close to the actual books as possible. In this adaptation, the show’s protagonists will be played by actual twelve-year-olds rather than young adults like the movie adaptation (Logan Lerman was 18 at the time he played Percy Jackson). People have begun to get sneak peeks at the casting for Disney+’s new show, as the official Instagram continues to tease the characters that shaped much of Gen Z’s childhood. All summer long, more and more about the show was revealed via Disney+’s Instagram account, as well as the show’s Instagram account, @percyseries.
On Sept. 10, the entire Percy Jackson fandom received a wonderful surprise from this Instagram account. The first full trailer for the renowned book series dropped, showing many favorite characters and giving a hint to what the series will entail. In this trailer, the series’ protagonist Percy Jackson states his famous line, “Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood” (Riordan, The Lightning Thief, 1). The term “half-blood” in Percy Jackson refers to being a demigod, a part human and part divine creature. The series conveys the protagonist’s many struggles as a teenage demigod who constantly gets chased down by monsters. Percy’s intense battles with monsters, cherished friendships with supporting characters like Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, and journeys at Camp Half-Blood were all briefly shown in the trailer, exciting many as they anxiously wait for yet another trailer.
The Percy Jackson show has yet to drop a release date, leaving everyone in anticipation. Watching the trailer reassured many fans that Riordan’s directing choices and casting will definitely make for a strong show. Soon, Percy Jackson fans will be able to watch their favorite novel on their television screens and get to enjoy the mythological world that Riordan has created. Until then, they will definitely be rewatching the trailer until further information about the series is released!
An obnoxious yellow tag stands out on my black bathing suit,
The neon color disgusting me when I discover it;
My nails dig into the dirty label,
Trying but failing to rip it off,
As it stubbornly sticks to the dark suit.
Finally, I shed this label,
Yet I still feel the judging stares of others.
My bathing suit is clear of tags,
But not free from scrutiny,
As looks of disgust are continuously thrown my way.
Despite changing out of the sticky swimsuit,
Eyes still dig through my back,
Rendering my baby blue coverup pointless,
As their stares leave me naked,
Exposed to humanity’s harsh gaze.
Glancing in my mirror,
I try to find the answers to their stares.
Why do people keep staring at me?
I wonder, not noticing the bright label on my forehead,
Begging people to keep showering me with attention.
The Hypocrisy Of The Mission Statement
The Hypocrisy Of The Mission Statement
By Taylor Rogers, ‘24
Providence College’s Mission Statement focuses on the history, faith and reason, academic excellence, community and diversity, and veritas and providence. The college aims to focus on this academic excellence “in pursuit of the truth, growth in virtue, and service of God and neighbor,” promising to extend their “loving embrace to all” and to promote the freedom and equality of each person. Their mission statement explicitly states that Providence College promotes the “human flourishing of each member of the campus community,” hoping to uplift every single member of the Providence College family, ranging from the UG2 workers who diligently clean the school to the students that wander this campus, determined to gain a college degree in the fields in which they are passionate.
This promise is one that is not often met, as students and faculty of color have frequently reported racially motivated hate crimes and acts of discrimination committed against them. These students and faculty have often reported said crimes, only for them to be swept under the rug or ignored by Providence College. On April 26, Public Safety Lieutenant John Dunbar, the campus’ Crime Prevention and Campus Relations Officer, delivered a powerful speech citing multiple incidents during his time at the College where he has reported incidents of racial profiling only to get ignored. Lieutenant Dunbar has worked as a member of the Public Safety staff for 32 years, diligently serving the PC community with his signature smile present despite the constant, racial attacks on his person.
Lt. Dunbar has decided to speak out due to the announcement of the College’s new public safety chief, Chad Carnegie, who is also Black. Lt. Dunbar feels this chief will also suffer from the ongoing discriminatory behavior and actions committed against him by members of the Public Safety Office and students on this campus, which have increased as the lieutenant has climbed in rank in Providence’s Public Safety Office. The discrimination Lt. Dunbar has faced on this campus is horrendous, just like the consistent sweeping under the rug of said events. His own coworkers have harassed, ignored, and rejected the multiple discriminatory acts committed against Lt. Dunbar. Hearing of the Lieutenant’s stories of harassment and racial discrimination as a Black student at Providence College is heartbreaking, as the school promises to promote racial equity yet fails to do so with not just students, but the staff and prominent figures in the PC community as well.
When a student of color at PC expresses their discontent, their concerns are often dismissed in the same way Lt. Dunbar’s have been. Often, College claims they will “investigate” the incident, but never actually follow through with said investigation to give these students the justice and a feeling of safety on this campus they deserve. Students of color on the PC campus are often the victims of various hate crimes due to something they cannot control, ostracized, and then classified as “different” despite having the same qualifications and rights to attend Providence College as white students on this campus. This past November, students wrote racial slurs on people’s cars in a student parking lot, a place where a student should be able to park their car without worrying someone is going to commit a hate crime against them there. Faculty have also reported feelings of racial profiling, Dr. Anthony Rodriguez, an associate professor in the Elementary and Special Education Department, also cited incidents in which he has reported acts of discrimination committed against him and students, only for his claims to be ignored. This harsh discrimination and profiling should not be happening in the year 2022, especially at an institution that claims to have a strong diversity and inclusion policy that is explicitly stated in its mission statement.
As a Catholic institution, PC is meant to promote equality, inclusion, diversity, and the thriving of the community in which the College immerses itself. Students and faculty choose to study and work at PC in search of an accepting community, one that will help each individual reach their personal goals and accomplish great successes. However, students are unable to feel accepted in a community that constantly discriminates against people who look the way they do. Diversity should not be something solely reserved for a few “inclusive” photos for admissions brochures and then ignored when members of the community who fit this diversity quota are victims of hate crimes, racially profiled, and shunned from the “loving embrace” PC promises to give all students. When a member of the Friar Family is treated the way Lt. Dunbar has recently been, it is incredibly heartbreaking, and a student cannot help but wonder when the school will listen to the veritas of minority voices on campus for which the College advocates in its motto.
Parasitic Hyacinth Flowers
By Taylor Rogers ’24
Parasitic limbs curiously crawl into my brain, their furry legs hitting the organ ruthlessly, not caring about the potential dents and damage they could cause. Gradually, they begin their descent, digging a hole into my precious prefrontal cortex, not reacting as my mood shifts from confused to irritated. These annoying bugs work on creating one of many entrances, sliding down the moist caravan they call an entryway, strategically planning to infect my innocent cells with their toxic virus.
Unaware of the infection that is soon to attack my immune system, I sit outside, admiring the hyamith flowers gifted to me this past weekend from my grandmother, the baby blue color our favorite, as it reminds us of the bright sky on a sun-filled day. These buds are just growing, slowly increasing in size the same way the parasites overflow my cranial cavity. Like me, these buds urge to be out in the sun and observing the weather, so I break out a smile and take the precious flowers outside with me. My flowers and I sit on the swing my grandfather crafted for my grandmother, the white wood digging into my exposed legs, which are barely covered in a pair of jean shorts nearing their last tear. Wind blows in my hair, the sun smirks down at me, and my flowers peacefully sit on my lap. Boredly, I glance around the peaceful neighborhood, making eye contact with someone who currently trims their overgrown hedges.
Suddenly, a gunshot goes off in my brain, jarring pain attacking my head as the parasites within begin to cheer victoriously, watching as my hyacinth flowers drop to the ground like a grenade. They watch as a mysterious figure strides down the street confidently, bending down to collect the flowers as an explosion goes off in their host’s brain. In seconds, a hand clasps my own, pressing the flowers back into my outstretched fingers with a grin.
“Think you dropped these, it’s a shame. They’re stunning flowers.”
Curiously, the parasites watch my interaction with the stranger, a few pausing their digging while others grin, knowing this is the perfect chance to wreak their havoc. Quickly, they invade this cortex, twirling strands of brain that are slender like spaghetti and manipulating them to their will, creating a Prince Charming out of a being who is simply human.
Stunned, I reel back at my sudden romanticization of the simple action, confused where this feeling has come from. While I am no stranger to attraction, the hyacinth flowers that have been tainted by another are strange to me now, the bare minimum morphing into something completely foreign to me. The hyacinth has shifted, the stems gingerly reaching out to the stranger and invoking me to ask this human a question.
“Would you like one? I have plenty more inside, my grandmother brings them to me often.”
Apparently, the parasites quite like this reaction, as the pain in my head temporarily halts, as if allowing me to explore the feelings suddenly forced on my previously pure brain. Matching smiles rapidly form on the stranger’s face as well as my own, and our hands briefly collide as I hand them a sky blue bud. Above, the parasites continue to observe, deciding to gingerly adjust my nerves so my conversation with the new person can continue while they conjure unknown sensations and feelings.
“You know, you’re really pretty.”
Small gasps escape my lips as something bangs against my temporal lobe, the parasites above just as shocked as I am concerning the compliment. Instinctively, I put a hand up to my head and rub the infected area, the stranger kneeling on the dewy grass in concern.
“If I knew complimenting you would result in such an adverse way, I wouldn’t have told you the truth.”
While I would roll my eyes at most for saying this, the stranger’s words make me laugh, an off-pitched melody escaping my chapstick-stained lips as the parasites continue to harshly attack me. Gritting my teeth, I mold my face into a grin, my hands fiddling with the hyacinth that drew this new character to me.
“Sorry about that, I just get migraines sometimes. Especially, oddly enough,when I see attractive people.”
Unlike the person standing before me, the parasites fail to appreciate my joke, savagely continuing to fumble my nerves as emotions come and go, my face failing to reveal the war that wreaks havoc on my anxious body. My newly found lover laughs, the sound causing the birds around us to giggle, the sun to shine a little brighter, and the parasites within to halt their attack. Despite their pause, my feelings still rebelliously combust, passion’s painful flames engulfing any doubts or confusion that I might be confusing love with lust, as attraction to me has only been sexual and short-lived.
“Don’t worry about it, really. I’ll see you around, hopefully your migraine disappears the next time our paths collide.”
Before I can protest and force the stranger to stay, they have left with a permanent reminder of me, the hyacinth flower swinging between his fingers as I resume the similar motion on my own wooden seat. The parasites within my brain finally hatch their eggs, evoking strange sensations throughout my body and turning this insignificant encounter to one equated with a myth I had never believed: love at first sight.
The Implications of Celebration
The Implications of Celebration
By: Taylor Rogers ’24
When one thinks of February, many people instantly associate the month with the holiday of Valentine’s Day, a time of love, the color pink, and complaining about whether a groundhog has managed to see his shadow or not. February also happens to be the shortest month of the year, the 28 (sometimes 29) days rapidly flying by as people mentally prepare for spring. Yet, February also contains an extremely significant celebration for people of color, and Black people especially, as Feb. 1 kickstarts Black History Month.
During this month, people rack their brains for any bit of information they know about Black History, referring to a list of the same few people they are convinced are the epitome of Blackness in America: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and George Washington Carver. Many people fall victim to this “allure” of emphasizing Blackness and Black greatness for a singular month of the year, recognizing something that is quickly forgotten the second March hits and people turn to preparations for St. Patricks’s Day celebrations.
Providence College is no exception to this concept, highlighting Black excellence yearly during Black History Month and displaying the importance of key Black people who are not just important to Black history, but are important to American and global history. The PC athletics Instagram has been honoring current and former Black athletes who have attended the college, having these athletes briefly describe what Black history means to them. Students this semester have also been given MLK visions awards, this coinciding with the College’s plan to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Month and Black History Month as one event, not two separate entities and commemorations. This celebration intends to last all of February, with each convocation event named after Martin Luther King Jr., focusing on his key letters and speeches as well as the great reverend’s life.
This celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is commendable, yet creates a conflict, as the implication that Martin Luther King Jr. is the only important Black figure in history is problematic. On the PC website, the school has stated that the convocation program is meant to “coincide with Black History Month” and states no other events focused on the other successful Black people in history that have changed not only America, but the entire world. Nowhere on the College’s website is there a mention of Ruby Bridges, the first African American student to integrate the William Frantz elementary school in Louisiana, which ultimately led to the desegregation of schools. There is not a single word about civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat to a white woman at the age of 15, nine months before Rosa Parks’ more famous protest and became a plaintiff in the Browder v. Gayle case that ruled segregated bus systems unconstitutional. There is a failure to mention Garrett Morgan, the inventor of a traffic light with a third ‘caution’ signal (the yellow light) to alert drivers they would soon need to stop, preventing both car crashes and casualties since 1923.
Many other Black scientists, politicians, historians, artists, musicians, and activists have positively changed society, forming many cultural and social norms that our society relies on and values today, such as the music students stream on Spotify or the retro style people frequent. The diminishment of these accomplishments is apparent when centering a Black History Month celebration around one significant Black person, as the implication of Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s Convocation being the main focus of Black History Month eradicates the other key figures of Black history and American history. Martin Luther King Jr. may be the first person to come to mind when one thinks of Black History Month, but this month is not meant to just celebrate the great reverend and his accomplishments, but aims at celebrating excellence of all Black people, ranging from the athletes dominating in their sports to the scientists diligently coming up with new solutions and inventions that better society.
Combining Martin Luther King Jr’s Convocation at the College and the school’s Black History Month celebrations into one event rather than two separate events lessens the significance of other successful Black people both within and outside of the Providence College community. Black History Month is a time to embrace and uplift the voices of Black people, emphasizing their excellence and accomplishments in all aspects of life. While celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. is extremely significant and commendable, it reflects poorly on the goal of Black History Month, which is to honor and commemorate the accomplishments of all, not just one, versions of Black excellence.
Performative Activism Sucks Ass
Taylor Rogers ’24
Performativity’s persuasive lies pour out of your pale mouth,
Claims that are far from true stretching out your already thin lips.
The more you speak, the more my stomach resembles a worn-out washing machine,
Churning your chilling words and soiling already clean clothes.
Each second feels like days as you speak,
Continuing to weave your white web filled with white lies,
Encouraging wrongful interpretations of a movement you know nothing about.
Despite never wearing my hole-filled Converse,
You preach that your journey and mine have been the same,
Spreading your hateful light that constantly dims my own.
You turn a movement that was meant to be colorful into one that highlights a sinister white,
Speaking to an experience you have never actually lived.
While your aim is to teach, what you do is far from effective,
As you erase the stories that need to be told with your made-up fantasies of being a savior.
The Shattered Ornament
Taylor Rogers ’24
I left a glittering ball of green at your doorstep,
Knowing the emerald hue was a color you adored.
Patiently, the sphere sits outside,
Waiting for your comforting touch to pull it off the empty porch.
The ornament watches the world in awe,
As December rips off her white jacket,
Letting the small cotton balls gracefully glide to the ground.
Fragments of this coat began to dot Earth’s exposed back,
Hitting the poor planet with a cold embrace.
Day’s warmth soon escapes the tiny steps,
Surrounding the distraught ornament in night’s terrifying shadows.
As the sky fades, the green bead’s anxiety increases,
Unwilling to wait this long for its new owner.
Hope flees from this poor ball,
Refusing to stay on the freezing porch of despair.
Snow continues to languidly fall,
Taunting the lonely gift that appears to be unwanted.
A foot nearly crushes the distressed ornament,
But manages to stop itself as the sphere shakes in fear.
Within seconds, the ball of green is embraced,
Lifted from the doorstep of despair,
Finally allowed to relax in your arms.
by Taylor Rogers ’24
The rainbow is lazily scattered on my hands,
Reminding me of my past actions.
Its prominent hues contrast with my tanned skin,
Standing out like patches of blue sky peeking through a lush, green forest.
Like my hands, my canvas is also stained,
Attempting to display my emotions.
From yellows brighter than dandelions
To purples deeper than eggplant,
My feelings are creatively strung together.
In shock, I stare my painting down,
Unable to decipher my own feelings.
For some reason, I feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing,
Skillfully hiding on my palette of colors.
I fail to find inspiration from my hand,
Despite its many colors.
Glancing at my paints,
All I can see is a giant question mark,
And no interesting ideas.
Lazily, the wind plays with my hair,
Urging my small eyes to look away from my art.
Two ebony eyes glance up,
Desperately searching their surroundings.
Colors far more diverse than my paints embrace me,
Eagerly clinging onto my canvas and me.
With a grin larger than the Cheshire cat’s,
I pick up my paint brush,
And begin to paint the new range of hues.