"Looking Forward—Writing Back"
Celebrating 175 years of Student Creativity at Marietta College
A Prose Poem by Alex Jones
We walk home from Muskingum Park past the ancient Ashlar of the Washington County Courthouse, and I tell you about the magical realism story I almost wrote about the ancestral Kingdom of Antoinette—one involving a scared child who perhaps, even in that early time, mistakenly believed in his own maturity. One who treks across a vast stretch of fetid buckeyes and oaks, chased by a giant animated claw—the "robot dog head" of the Big Muskie Bucket—arriving frayed but largely intact in a compact sort of kingdom, where the wildlife live closely with one another, so they sometimes happily get along and are sometimes forced to, for better or worse, studying mysterious formulae but inching the way into deeper truths, however slowly, however unconsciously. The work sometimes fills up their days but by some trick in the stars the weeks pass in an instant. They call the bowls, hills, and grasslands that separate their towers the hippocampus, and the days are written across it in obscure, oscillating patterns. They grow older. The boy may end up going on walks like we are now, down to the river, feeling thousands of years old, waiting for the riverboats to disperse and leave empty tracts of water, wondering if his connections ran deep enough, if he loved enough, to the riverbed. Wondering which parts were magical, which parts were real.
Excerpt from "Barefoot" by Kathleen Farris
"I thought we were going to walk around campus barefoot." Bill said and smiled. Laura laughed, and moved her hands to the sides of her dress, clenching the silky material. Bill continued, "I asked if I could walk around campus barefoot. With you."
Suddenly Laura couldn't breathe. She had taken a call from someone wanting to do this about a month ago at work. It had to be the same person. "I meant you can visit the school anytime." Laura said breathlessly, "We like to see alumni back on campus."
"When I was here, it was very different. You’re right about that."
An excerpt from "A Withered Face" by Melanie Hendershot
Finally, I get to Erwin Hall. I look up at the clock now and it stares at me like my mother had. Its face is old, the paint is chipped in places. It can only see a past time. It still proudly holds that reflection. 5:23 it tells me. I listen, letting it tell me stories of the past. Stories of getting people to class on time, stories of uniting lovers for a lunchtime picnic, stories of keeping a student, a college, a city, alive. When had it stopped? When had we settled for overproduction? When had we given in to the unnecessary? 5:23, on a day long ago, it tells me. And it was that time that it would forever tell me and anyone else who dares to look.
An excerpt from poetry by Mike Cress
"The wild things come out at night.
Even the full moon swoons;
frightening forms: fear, inferiority, with great ferocity
small fish syndrome--it makes us scaly.
To stay and do battle with it would be to die;
I have no hippo brute, I am not cobra sly
I cannot flee the mess and hide within my zebra flesh;
mechanical animals don't tire
no triumph here could transpire from it
need to innovate-
Gazelle-like and glowing,
I scorch forward into that brave new world
uncertain but yearning, my heart kabooms beneath that jewel-toned sky.
The beast is big! It's crimson eye, it's pang-fanged tusk
but still I charge,
weaponed with my wanderlust
Surging and searching, on I go
I will not fear the threat of dusk."
An excerpt from "The Mound Cemetery" by Mary Crotty
"Yeah, and then while loading his gun on the battlefield, he was shot and died instantly! Then that same friend that had joined with him brought his body back to his family," the girl finished her friend’s thought. "I bet he had a sweetheart and was a son his parents were proud of."
"Oh, wait, look at this one! It’s got the same hand pointing up as the others!" their other friend called from another area. They rushed quickly over to join him, immediately forgetting the lad that had just been lying beneath their feet.
Who would have thought that their imagination was correct? Who would have thought that John Edleston was once as young as carefree as them, before war plagued the nation and called him into service. All that is left now of a man who barely told his story is a worn out gravestone inside a tourist attraction, which can barely be interpreted by idle visitors guessing the life that had been too quickly extinguished. A soul left alone to rest in peace, with only the wind howling its remorse.
An excerpt from "The Signing of My Independence" by Sean Kenny
I had been sitting down for about an hour watching the President and the Provost speak to us as well as various faculty and staff members. The President of Student Senate also spoke. Even the Mayor of Marietta took the time to welcome us. I stared down at the covered floor of the court. It was a light brown almost like vomit. In a way, it almost made me sick, and I was this close to matching its color with my digested lunch. My right palm began to sweat due to the program I had in my hand. I looked forward and saw many of the faculty dressed in their academic gowns. As I saw the various types of gowns they were wearing, I asked myself one question, "Will I go that far?" It was an important question to ask, but I hesitated to answer. Most of them did not wear the typical mortarboards upon their heads, which I was used to, considering that I was a recent high school graduate. Many of the professors wore black, velvet caps that were rounded. I did not know what they were, but I knew that distinguished them from us freshmen. When the President spoke to us, my eyes widened.
"There are going to be times when your professors will assign you readings, and you may need to read more than once to understand the material."
"What?" I thought. My mind raced with questions some were speeding by so fast, that I did not take the time to think about them.
A cool breeze met my face from the air conditioning. The speeches were over and it was time to sign the scroll. Rows of freshmen began to rise slowly as they made their way to the long table that possessed this document. It finally came time for my row to sign, and I began to stand up.