In this issue we present a variety of pieces, from poetry festival fish to a report on the Portland Black Film Festival. Read Guananí’s investigation into what life is like for a transfer or non-trad student (1). Claire contributes a short story on rotting bodies (3), and Leilani brings us a poem (4), all followed by an artistic rendition of a fish (6). Guananí gives us an insight on This Must be the Place (7), and Martha takes us along with another stunning poem (8). Catch up on the fifth annual Portland Black Film Festival with Jilly (9). Last but not least, Miss Lonely Hearts offers her much-needed love advice (10). We know it's been a long couple of weeks, but here at The Grail we send you the best wishes to stay strong until spring break!
Anton, Claire, and Guananí
News & Features
Rebeca Willis-Conger was initially attracted to Reed because of its reputation as a “weird little community of learners.” Generous financial aid convinced her to enroll, and in the fall of 2014 she moved from her Portland apartment into a dorm room in MacNaughton.
Just like for any student entering Reed, O-week is tough for transfer and non-traditional students, though not necessarily for the same reasons. For students coming from other colleges or working full-time jobs, especially older students, many of the Orientation workshops are simply not tailored to their needs. For Rebeca, Orientation at Reed was difficult more because of age differences than the fact of being a transfer. “People confused me for a parent a lot. It was a weird time,” she said.
Fiction & Poetry
“Excuse me sir,” I say to the hand,
“That is not yours.”
I am always polite, always
Placid, tepid—lukewarm like bathwater.
A well-mannered sheep, kept safe.
The hand does not withdraw.
It’s the steady click
of an 808 beat
as my heels thump against
the wet concrete
through the round
pressing winter silence
piercing and strong
‘till I lose my balance.
Sometimes I think my body is rotting inside out. It starts in the brain. On the bad nights I think of Ginsberg and his poem. I want to know what happens after I rot because I’m already rotting. I imagine pressing my finger into the seam in my chest and prying the chunks of skin and rib apart to reveal gaping, rotting guts.
The 5th annual Portland Black Film Festival took place at the Hollywood Theater on NE Sandy Boulevard, starting on Thursday, February 9th, and ending on Wednesday, February 22nd. The Black Film Festival aims to bring the underrepresented African American experience to the forefront of Portland moviegoers’ attentions by exhibiting typically underappreciated black cinema in what has been justifiably called The Whitest City in America.
“Reed must be the place where we take things apart and put them back together.”
Last weekend, my favorite Reed theater production so far came to life in the Black Box, featuring five actors and five chairs. More Eliot chairs and desks were suspended from the ceiling beyond the stage, tipped sideways, upside down, made strange by the lighting and suggested flight.
Miss Lonely Hearts
Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
I’ve had a thing with a senior for a while. It’s not really going anywhere and I’m not sure it should. He’s a nice guy, but he’ll be gone in a couple months and I’ve still got a few years left at Reed. Being with him makes me happy, but we’ve started this relationship so late in the year I’m not sure we should continue it. What if I develop real feelings for this guy? Is this worth pursuing or should I let it die before it becomes anything too real?