To begin our issue this week, Quinn Spencer gives us an in-depth look at the history of black studies and dissent at Reed (1). Following Quinn’s article is a short story about the Golem by Misha Lerner (5). Sky Ford treats readers to a creative piece (6). Next up is graphic art from long-time Grail artist, Ema Chomksy (8). Our penultimate piece in this issue is a short story by a new contributor, David Kerry (9). And Miss Lonely Hearts provides her always-valuable advice on our last page (10). If you’re interested in writing for us, we meet every Monday at 9pm in the PAB Atrium.
Claire P., Claire S., Guananí, and Kelsey
News & Features
Reed College will always celebrate its activists in hindsight. The popular history of Reed activism rarely acknowledges the bureaucratic opposition to activists that occurs behind closed doors, allowing the school to quietly silence dissenters even as it places them on promotional materials as champions of institutional progress. Any official statement regarding Reed in the 1960s will be quick to emphasize the success of the Black Student Union protests of 1968 and 1969 and highlight the peaceable establishment of the Black Studies Center in 1971. This narrative belies the powerful coalition of faculty and administrators who worked in opposition to the Center and played an active role in its collapse.
Fiction & Poetry
A young man sits alone, his large frame taking up the driver’s side of a cherry red 2005 Honda Element. Hand pushing down on the left dial of a broken radio, the familiar chords of "Life in the Fast Lane" sputter out to fill the vacuum of trapped heat and closed windows. The car is warmed by an unrelenting Sonoran sun that refuses to notice that the AC has been broken for months. His body arches forward; a streak of balmy sweat left on the seat clings to the drenched fabric of his white t-shirt, unable to part in the car’s sweltering interior. Sinew and tendon bulge below umber skin, fingers pound the steering wheel, their glistening marks coating the boiling vinyl resin. With each downbeat, shining black hair leaps from his head—chin bobbing up and down, eyes tightly closed, fingers bounding between dashboard and wheel. The scene is almost religious in the singularity of the man’s fixation.
I wonder if you, too, ever find yourself caught in late night cycles of bittersweet recollection of the months we spent together, and, after drifting through a night of sleepless longing, you wake up to a world that appears colorless and muted in comparison to the world we shared. But perhaps I am just imposing my own experience onto you. I still feel your presence stirring within me, and the truth is, I hope that you do feel the way I do, that I haven’t already become irrelevant. Those months where we roamed from farm to farm across Europe, wild adventurers with only each other to rely on, were a time of utter liberation and personal discovery for me. I felt, essentially, happy.
And with the spoon of creation he stood, bending over banks of the river, carefully placing spoonfuls into the casket. The soil—white, burning bright, bleached, sucking in desperately with its porous, speckled mouths the skin of the Rabbi, sensing the Hebrew blood that coursed within. It clung tyrannically to his hands, merging in with his flesh to the point that his blood began churning, swooshing, pulsating, crashing, buzzing, blasting to the rhythm of the primordial earth. The river water, stopped to the point that it began to run backwards, forming little cancerous pools along the banks under his feet.
Miss Lonely Hearts
Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,
Woe is me: I have feelings for my best friend. Things started off completely platonic, but lately I’ve seen him in another light. To make matters more complicated, he already has a girlfriend. But hear me out. I’m completely opposed to the whole concept of the “other woman,” but I think my best friend might be unhappy in his current relationship. He and I talk about everything—we’re basically dating on an emotional level—and he often tells his girlfriend he’s studying or going to bed to hang out with me instead. I don’t like that he’s hiding something from her, but the fact that he feels he has to keep it a secret makes me think he might feel something between us, just like I do.