The poetry of Muhammad Kasule (’18) has been a frequent delight at Clark Writes forums and on the blog since Kasule’s sophomore year. His work provides unique and very raw perspectives on human life and the natural world. He was written about a lesbian couple through floral imagery in “The Seeds We Grow,” and about the suffering of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease in “The Picture Album.” Read editor Mehr Gunawardena’s interview with him, and check out some of his work below.
MG: How did you get into poetry?
MK: I used to write poetry for my mum, when I was young. Then I stopped after my teenage years.
MG: Your angst-y teenage years? [Laughs].
MK: [Laughs] Maybe. But when I first came here, in my FYI, for my final project, I wrote a poem. And after that… I just wrote. For that poem, I tried to embody how the earth feels. In a way, I tried to make the earth animate. Most of the time, environmental issues are because we lack this kind of perspective—we say “Mother Earth” and all, but it sucks, we look at the earth and just see an inanimate object. Which it technically is, in a sense, but not really. In that piece, I tried to make the earth seem a lot more alive, a lot more human. I gave her dreams, ambitions, feelings… being able to connect to earth on that level might change the way we treat her. I want to make things more relatable. Continue reading
“The Seeds We Grow” is a piece by Muhammad Kasule that personifies the intolerance faced by a lesbian couple using floral imagery. This poem is delicate and poignant in its presentation as it connects with many universal feelings on the topic of forbidden love.
The Seeds We Grow
Love that sprouted, in secrecy
Where heaven’s light doesn’t shine
Seeds will grow, left peacefully
Blooming as we intertwined
But sadly, we never fully blossom
The topsoil won’t let us through
They say our seeds are truly rotten
And what we feel, isn’t true
Our truth might not be theirs
But what we have, feels the same
Like drowning lungs catching air
Or barren roots, soaking rain Continue reading
Below is a revolutionary rap written and performed (acapella) by James Patin at the first Clark Writes forum of the semester. The rap addresses the frustrations of the working class and the injustices of capitalism. Read the lyrics below.
I don’t really wanna die
Just need a change in system
Bosses talkin bout the benefits
But workers done missed ’em
If I saw a union rep
Damn, I swear that I’d kiss ’em
All this rage inside the workers
It’s like steam without a piston Continue reading
The following short story is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, a fairy tale about a princess who rescues her eleven brothers from a curse that transformed them into swans. Using stunning imagery and mythological allusions, Mal Sklar presents a creative account of the emotional journey the youngest brother goes through after being unable to return to his full human form. Read “The Swan Prince” below.
The Swan Prince
It’s been four years, three months, seventeen days since the end of the curse, since my sister tried to turn us back into people.
Sometimes I resent her for it. I can’t help it. When I stand in the shower in the mornings I wash my body with my left hand, shampoo my hair with my left hand, and sluice the oils and grime off the great white wing that hangs limp against my right side.
I don’t wash it as often as I ought to. I know I should ideally do it every day, but if I try to force it, I end up curled on the cold floor of the shower in a ball, feeling the water drum against my back, face hot and snotty with crying. What that means is I go around looking like half a dirty pigeon most of the time. What a prince. People forget we used to be princes.
Sometimes I can hardly stand to look at it, at the wing. Sometimes I can’t stop looking. When it’s both is the worst. I’ll stand in front of the mirror, smoothing the tiny feathers of my shoulder and ribs, the fuzzy white filaments, over and over, stroking where the skin gives way to pale, pale feathers. Continue reading
At our last creative writing forum, Muhammad Kasule captivated the audience with four poems, two of which utilize the topics of memory and nature to convey very dark but true aspects of human life. Read “The Picture Album” and “The Sound of Rain” below.
The Picture Album
She rocked back and forth in her velvet chair
Listening to the soundtrack chime
From The Count of Monte Cristo
Being watched for the first and fifteenth time
She turned to see me and flashed a smile
As if she’d been waiting for me to come
Always obsessed with meeting new people
But that was simply mum being mum
The Leather album, skin old yet tough
Sides withered from the past use
Memories that she always adored
Of Life before she turned recluse
But today she was mum as before
Cheerful, happy and loving friend
A pillar to hold during the lows
I thought would stand until the end Continue reading
Being a witness is often a strange situation, especially in the case of this short story written by English major Emily Denny. She illustrates for us a rather precarious relationship between two lovers who happen to witness a murder. Read “Mutually Assured Destruction” below.
Mutually Assured Destruction
There was a woman who lived on Harvard Street who murdered her husband on a Tuesday just before dinner. She was the kind of person who would borrow your pencil and forget to give it back to you, something that bothered you, but ultimately could be forgiven. Her husband was the kind of person who would borrow your favorite pen and purposely keep it for himself. They were the kind of family filling emotional voids with new home appliances and expensive wallpaper. The kind of family that went out shopping for groceries together and yelled and caused a big ruckus in the supermarket that the whole store could see and the whole town could hear.
They lived in one of those neighborhoods where the lawns had been rolled out like red carpets for nuclear families of four apiece. The little quarter acre plots lined the freshly paved roads like dominoes waiting to fall. They were all exactly alike save for color. The woman who murdered her husband, her home was a light yellow. Continue reading
The following story is an untitled piece by Isaac Nemetz, a sophomore at Clark. This piece of writing is meant to be an allegory for the September 11 attacks, and it is part of a draft of a longer piece Isaac is working on. Being from New York City, Isaac was affected by the attacks in a personal way, which is why he chose to center the piece on this subject.
An Untitled Piece
The boy’s footsteps echoed through the vacant streets. He swung his arms madly, spit flying from his open mouth, as the grey buildings and black streets whizzed by. The boy stopped at an intersection and looked around; he heard no one and saw no one. The silence disturbed him. He knew he was still being followed and continued running.
He ran over a mile but the cityscape remained unchanged; only vacant skyscrapers, all gray and windowless. A full moon peeked out between the rooftops. Out of the corner of his eye the boy saw a figure, shrouded in darkness, on the road to his right; the figure held a sword which gleamed in the moonlight. The boy ran faster now; he didn’t know where he’d find shelter, only that he had to keep going. Continue reading