Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Africa Says, by Carl Phillips

Hi guys!
Today in poetry class, we read a poem about preconceptions in Africa, and I thought it would apply to my trip really well so I wanted to copy it down here:

Before you arrive, forget
the landscape the novels are filled with,
the dull retro-colonial glamour
of the British Sudan, Tunis's babble,
the Fat Man, Fez, the avenue taht is Khartoum.
Forget the three words you know of this continent: bakara, baksheesh,
assassin, words like chipped knives thurst
into an isolation of sand and night.
These will only get you so far.

In the dream of the first night,
Africa may seem just another body to
sleep with, a place where you can lay
you own broken equipment to rest.
You have leisure to wander at her being
a woman, at your being disappointed
with this. You come around to asking
what became of her other four fingers,
how she operates on six alone.
you wipe the sweat from
your chest with her withered hand, raised
and two-fingered; observe, as she sleeps,
how that hand casts the perfect
jackal on a wall whose color
is the same as that of the country

itself, a dark, unpalatable thing who
uses a bulbed twig to paint her lids
in three parallel zones taht meet and
kiss one another. She smells of henna or
attar, or rises steeped in musk that in other
women does not stray from between the legs.
She says she has no desire to return
with you. Don't be surprised if
she takes nothing you offer, and moves
on bare feet away from you, or if
you wake feelign close to something,
the gauze damp and loose on your face.

And should you choose to leave, know better
than to give this city a farewell sweep of
the eye. To the pich-helmeted mosques, the slim
and purposeless boulevardiers, the running
sores at the breasts of the women who beg
for stalled trains, you were never here.
For this reason, you may decide to stay put,
thinking you have left nothing finished.
You may have an urge
to make each move coung.
You may have learned nothing at all.

Heh, this poem resonated with me. Sounds like I'm gonna have a wonderful time in Africa, yah? Anyhoo, I received a small description of what the highschool track(s) for senior year is like, and I can't decide which one I want to do! EEK!!! I still have some time, though, so it should all be good.
*AHEM* Going into 11th or 12th grades:
For students who will be placed in the 11th or 12th grades in Mali, there are four courses of study to choose from:
Human Sciences: main subjects are Philosophy, History and Geography, minor subjects are English, Math, Physics and Chemistry.
Bio Sciences: main subjects are Biology (duh) Physics and Chemistry, minor subjects are French, English, History and Geography, and Philosphy (I think I would take some of these minor subjects not all)
Exact Sciences: major subjects are Math, Physics, and Chemistry, minor subjects are English, French, History, and Geography
Language and Literature: major subjects are Literature (suprise surprise) French Grammar, and English, minor subjects are Math, Physics, History and Geography, and Philosophy.

Apperently, major subjects get more hours per week, as well as higher credit. Also most 12th graders will be studying for the Bacculaureate which probably means less chilling, but I guess its a good thing because I will have college apps to complete :/

As for my subjects of interest, I want to take Math, Physics, and Philosophy (possibly french grammar, because I could use the help). But there is no such track with all those subjects as major subjects :( I guess I will just have to compromise *Sigh*

Anyhoo, I am getting tired, so I will go to bed now
Bonne Nuit!

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