Starfish and Mysteries

Starfish and Mysteries

What lies below the surface of this poem?
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Starfish and Mysteries

When one goes to the ocean, the ocean creates peace and tranquility, but behind it is a depth of mystery. It creates a sense of happiness, a sense of that one is actually there in the moment and not being rushed by little things in their day. The ocean is a place of healing, a place for peace, and a place for whatever means necessary. The ocean may be calm but has it mysterious side because what really is lurking under the surface of the cool, salty water? From the biggest whale shark to the smallest starfish. Something could easily take one under if one isn’t fully aware. The ocean is the biggest living part of our planet; it’s a part of our life but with that why does it have such a heavy impact? It’s like the lungs of earth breathing in and out with every tide.

Two of the most influential substances in our solar system that exists makes one think of how incredible this planet is. This shows how those two contributing factors affect one another on a daily basis. The moon effects the tides, the currents, and the breathability of the ocean. The sun also effects the ocean life, and the contributions are literally out of our world. The sun affects the health of the human body. The sun is a huge part of the ocean’s ecosystem because it gives the ocean life. The warmth radiating from the surface of the water attracts multiple marine mammals but when the warmth changes the starfish notice, causing a mass of starfish migrations in several locations. Starfish are like life in a way through that they cover ground so slow but continue to move over life’s obstacles and mysteries. In the poem, Starfish the author uses tone, imagery, symbolism, diction and the speaker to help demonstrate that life keeps on moving even though there might be mysteries.

The author created a sense of peace and tranquility in the very beginning of the poem; the author treats the poem as if it were a calm day in the ocean. No waves, No swells, not a single ripple in the water. The crash of the waves are slow and steady and not defining. She begins creating a calm setting with starting off with “This is what life does,” a simple statement. This is what life does, it goes on. It doesn’t stop, it keeps moving. It’s a constant continuum of time. Life does what it does and its’ day in and day out. She uses this to her advantage because it connects to the tone that has presented itself. It sets the reader up for an adventure in the poem because it creates a soothing effect.

Another phrase that is very present in the poem is “It lets you…” every time after the “you” it sets up a different picture, a different feeling. It makes the reader wonder what the speaker of the poem is going through in their day and acknowledges the tone of calmness. The author uses an unacknowledged underlying tone that it very present due to all the rhetorical questions present in the poem. The underlying tone is a mysteriously, uplifting tone through that life keeps moving on and a day doesn’t stop moving, but there is questions that might stop one throughout the day. In the context of the poem ones day, bad news or something that makes them enter a not so calm mindset, which can make one pause in her thoughts and lose sight of their day.

The author uses rhetorical questions to her advantage because it makes the reader stop and think about what she is trying to portray this example of diction in the poem. The rhetorical questions are always at the end of the last set of stanzas. But they are always reminiscing about the stanzas above and questioning if the choices and decisions they had made were the best in her own interest. With self-doubting it’s never a tell-tale story; one always thinks about what they could have done differently, and the speaker is very present with how the questions surround their life as well as making them step back and take a pause. The author’s sense of tranquility is very deliberate because of the tone she sets out.

In the poem Starfish, the author creates a deep image of how life is for someone by using diction to imitate the wandering mind. Life varies from person to person on this planet. Life is something different, something unique, and something mysterious. Life can cause twists and turns and not really knowing what’s next, but the speaker in the poem has a different perspective on life. The author draws up a deeper image of how calm and mysterious the setting is. She persuades the reader through creating a very detailed image of not only in the poem but also in the imagery used in her diction. Life is what it is. It is different for everyone but for the speaker it seems to be more than that. It seems life is more than it actually is, “It lets you walk up to the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, the channel was full of starfish.” In lines 1-6 it shows how much the speaker is stuck on how much life is so important to them. That creates an image of wanting.

The channel full of starfish is an important part of the poem because it seems as if the starfish are a sign to the speaker and that image of wanting makes it all connect. Throughout the poem the image of wanting is very prevalent like in lines 12-32. “And then life suggests that you remember the years you ran around, the years you developed a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon, owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have become. And then life lets you go home to think about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.” That image of wanting is so present because life makes one remember and recollect about ones past as well as how they are acting now. It helps the reader understand the position of the author and what she is trying to accomplish in the images that they have presented to the reader. Wanting is a deep image here because it feels like the speaker is wanting for normalcy and is questioning themselves in every stanza. So in this she ties in the starfish because starfish wander the sea floor, flowing in and out of the waves and currents. This reflects the image by that wanting to belong is life’s mystery. But also reflects on the author’s use of diction because it helps develop the sense of tranquility as well calm level nature. She uses diction and imagery side by side because it helps the reader pause and reflect on what is right in front of them.

In the poem, Starfish the author creates this sense of peace and tranquility but there was always this sense of mystery. The authors has a juxtaposition of the personal world that coincides with the natural world. She reflects on the starfish that swim into the bay but it also becomes a self-reflection about choices and decisions. She uses the phrase “Where whole generations of biological processes are boiling beneath the mud.” She continues to reflect on the images at hand with the reeds and the birds but making it full circle with collecting her thoughts back to the starfish, “The starfish drift through the channel, with smiles on their starry faces as they head out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.” It makes a full circle just like how life does. Life is an ominous concept that varies from person to person. But for the author, she puts herself in the poem and creates this sense of questioning how life does what it does, but why does it? Her sense of calmness collides with mystery because there will always be that unknown. The speaker in the poem reflects the author’s personal questions as well as the personal memories that the author experienced.

In the poem, Starfish the author brings many different ideas to the metaphorical table of life. She uses imagery and diction to help portray life with how it falls back and reminiscing on memories or choices that one made in the past. She uses tone to help the reader a better understanding of what life does. It does what it wants with a sense of peace and tranquility but a sense of mystery waiting underneath the surface. Symbolism embeds itself underneath the tone, like starfish waiting in the tide pools in the channels. It helps the reader understand that life is full circle but has a lot of different paths to take in that very circle. Lastly she uses the speaker to help portray life choices and decisions that she reflects on personally in this poem.

This poem was very reflective and helped the reader understand and pause in their own thoughts about their own experiences. It helped me reflect with that the authors use of diction as well as her use of imagery helped me understand why she set up the poem how she did. She juxtaposed it with images of herself in that time with reminiscing thoughts and challenges. I enjoyed the poem because it made me reflect on my own personal behalf as well as look at my future. The poem as a whole was very moving as well as very thought provoking. It made the reader stop and pause. It helped the reader feel a sense of peace and calm but also that sense of wanting. The starfish were like the reader, coming into the channel gathering some thoughts and exiting once again.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Fionda

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37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.

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We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint


18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings


23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop


31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me


This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

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It Is Pointless To Pity The Homeless

Guilt is the silent killer of political action.

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Two summers ago, when I was an intern at The Father McKenna Center in Washington DC, I met Jason, who was homeless. I had just finished closing the shelter's computer lab for the evening, and the attendees of the AA meeting in the shelter's cafeteria had started to say their goodbyes and disperse until next week. As I was leaving to take the subway home, and as he was leaving to walk back to his encampment, wherever it may have been, Jason and I converged with each other at the front door of the shelter, and we introduced ourselves to each other.

Jason had two children, aged four and six, both of whom were protected from him under custody by his former wife. She had made the decision to divorce him because of his drug use, which posed a danger to the couple's children. (Jason did not hesitate to admit to this.) Shortly after the separation from his family, he became homeless. He had a high school degree and some former experience doing construction work. Aged into his mid 30's with minimal employment, Jason had been struggling to find a job for years.

As we walked, he told me about his kids, and how sometimes he hears about them during occasional phone calls with his wife. For a moment, he turned his head to look at me in my eyes, and he quietly told me about how proud he was of his daughters for completing the first and third grades of elementary school.

If you are homeless, it takes an immense amount of courage to make the commitment to go to a homeless shelter. I believe that the one thing that most people struggle with, homeless or not, is the challenge of confronting one's own demons. Jason had demons, luggage, regrets, and so on - I had those too. Jason had first stepped at The Father McKenna Center shortly before I began my internship. As I performed the duties of my internship, Jason and I, together, experienced a great turbulence in our individual missions to confront our demons; and with that turbulence came sobriety. Not relief or improvement, but sobriety. True self-improvement is a year-long commitment, but self-awareness is a skill which can be utilized at any time.

Jason and I spoke several times throughout my internship. One of the last interactions I had with his before I completed my term happened again at the front entrance of the shelter. He told me that after years of searching, he had found the initiative to apply for a job. "Even though she and I needed to go our own ways," he said, "I still want to show my wife that I care about her. We're not married, but I still want to provide for her and the kids. I don't know how they feel about me, but I want to show my daughters that I am still their father, and that I love them."

When I started my internship at the shelter, I genuinely believed that I would come out of it depressed and disillusioned. But I learned to look beyond the misfortune and suffering, and with that perspective, I started to find more and more inspiration in the facets of life by which I had previously felt discouraged and depressed. I have not seen Jason in two summers, but I think about him every day, for strength.

Say, for instance, that you start to feel as though the daily grind of your summer job is starting to become too monotonous. Us undergrads are tirelessly told by our advisors that the best possible use of our time during the summer, outside of college and other than working for pay, is time spent volunteering and building up our resumes. After some online research and phone calls, you break down your volunteering options to three different nonprofit organizations in your area: Your first option is to spend 3-5 hours once a week helping a local community center care for its flower garden, fresh herb greenhouse, and wildlife sanctuary. Your second option is to spend Tuesday and Thursday evenings bathing, petting, and reading storybooks to all the dogs and cats at a nonprofit rescue shelter. Your third option is to spend 5 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at an inner-city homeless shelter and rehabilitation center for men who have been recently released from prison.

This where the conflict begins. Deep inside, you know that volunteering at the men's shelter is, in your opinion, the most valuable kind of work you can do. Human beings require more attention than plants and pets. Humans beings need to be kind to each other, and so, you may want to volunteer at the shelter.

The problem is certainly not that nobody wants to volunteer at homeless shelters. I consider myself an optimist, and I still think that the majority of people living in the United States wish to care for and support each other. The true problem is that even when a good-minded, empathetic, caring person wants to offer their kindness to the homeless, there are layers upon layers of illusions, false impressions, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and (most importantly), miscommunications which prevent them from doing so. What must truly be addressed is not how much attention is being paid to homelessness, but how attention is paid. There are many kinds of layers of illusion; the majority of them are certainly racial illusion. A vast number are economic. Others, however, are emotional. A lot are just flat-out moral as well.

The growing epidemic of homelessness, as an affliction, is the product of political injustice, racist systems, and greed. But the homeless lifestyle itself, however, is not political in nature. Homeless people are not statistics in a study, neither are they variables in a social equation. Homelessness is a daily struggle for a human life, and those who are homeless suffer. They are as emotional and as sentient as the well-off office workers who pelt them with quarters as though they're fountains.

Understanding homelessness is especially hard for people on the polar opposite side of the social/economic spectrum from the homeless. It is somehow harder for a wealthy and educated person to understand homelessness than it is for someone from lower-class origins to do so. As I said before, I genuinely believe that the vast majority of people on this Earth have the moral initiative to help those less fortunate - but this initiative is excessively overridden by the reflexive tendency most people have to compare and juxtapose themselves. This act of reflexive juxtaposition is what scares most people away from homeless shelters.

Call it what you want - "juxtaposition" is not the only word one can use to describe this feeling. Some people might call themselves "overqualified." From a political perspective, some have referred to it as "white guilt." Regardless of what you call it, it is reflexive. Homeless people, just upon sight, are registered with labels and false truths. The visceral, instinctive reaction to a homeless person is "Look forward, walk firm, and don't make eye contact." This is what needs to change.

In western society, people who grow up privileged - with parents, shelter, an education, and relationships - are subconsciously taught, unintentionally encouraged, and silently conditioned by the people around them to treat the homeless with, above all else, pity. The etiquette of reacting to a homeless person suggests something of a "passive melancholy." Like I mentioned before, under this mannerism of avoidant sorrow, homelessness is not a condition of life. It is a political symbol. The stumbling beggar in the subway and the raggedy busker on the street corner are effectively dehumanized by default; as long as they are evidently homeless, their role in the social dynamic of these public places is automatically different from yours and mine. The status of homelessness completely nullifies - no, prevents - a person's worthiness and rightful entitlement to human attribution, and without mercy, they are turned into something which is not human: a figure which is nothing but a representation of itself.

After years of riding the bus and subway, I have become aware of several different categories in which the people around me fit; I see the day laborers, who are categorized by being older men, clad in paint-stained construction pants, functioning in close-knit groups of six or seven. I see the government employees, who are categorized by the loudness of their gazes of exhaustion, directionless and unfixed, garbed in outdated albeit notably well-fitted suits, bland floral blouses, sky-blue button downs, the incredible pant suits, and khakis, and khakis, and khakis. I see the college-aged summertime interns running coffee for politicians who never remember their names, and they, too, are categorized; specifically by their calculated movements, blatantly artificial exteriors, and the endearing aura of simultaneous youthful naivety and capitalistic millennial-themed ambition (they also act like they know where they're going, when really, they don't, but they never stop to ask for directions). I see the mothers, the trust-fund white kids from Gonzaga, the beatniks from Howard, the Reagan-bound luggage-bearing vagabonds, the punks, the academics, the racists, the anarchists, the activists, the drunks, the wandering, the sleeping, and of course, the emblematic tourists in their MAGA hats, graphic tees, and jorts.

What kind of a response is demanded of those who choose to protect the weak? How are the wounded addressed by the healers? How should I talk to someone who suffers? The photographers, the journalists, and the volunteers cannot hope to rile a revolution alone. Neither can the teachers hope to raise a generation freed from toxicity alone, nor can the young politicians on the Hill hope to deliver their country to safety and stability alone. The problem of homelessness can be addressed, as can it be confronted, observed, studied, and journalized. Don't get me wrong, though - this type of action is deeply important: The awareness of a problem creates an opportunity for its solution. But the raising of awareness is not enough. The confrontation of our reality is not enough. To take the first step beyond awareness is to give attention to those who are in need of it; to attend to the weak and the wounded, and to act for their protection and their healing. In the words of the French revolutionary Simone Weil: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


Song suggestion: LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

Cover Image Credit:

Paul J. RIchards/Getty Images

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