I didn’t go to Ultra


On the sojourn back to the city of the homeless and the dreamless, I sat next to a shady, mildly attractive man in his mid-thirties. He was wearing a fedora and he smelled of earthy musk. I was both repulsed and attracted to him.

I got the window seat. The bus started to grind along the throughway from Kennedy Plaza and I inhaled his cologne – duly noting that his jeans were the notorious BDG brand.  This made him exuberantly less admirable, but it also humanized him.

Three hours go by. Actually, it was more like four and a half. A tear trickled down my cheek as we screeched by East Harlem to West SoHa, before inching down Broadway.  I pass 72nd street. My hand grazes against the thigh of the BDG-jean-wearing man.  My inner goddess has goosebumps.

We reach Port Authority. I do not ask for the man’s number. Continue Reading

Friends describe their spring break adventures as sand-strewn beaches that sparkle with the light of a thousand suns

"The clear turquoise water lapped at my feet like an eager puppy, its salty fingers tickling my toes until I giggled with joy at my perfect tropical spring break."

“The clear turquoise water lapped at my feet like an eager puppy, its salty fingers tickling my perfectly tanned toes until I giggled with joy.”

A rippling sea of familiar faces greets me as I step into the Blue Room, and I sigh with happiness at returning to my beloved university after Spring Break. As I breathe in the sweet spring air scented with freshly baked cookies, I spot my friend through the gaggle of chattering students.

“How was your spring break?!” I cry, my voice high with my lack of caring.

“I went to the Bahamas!” She replies, giddy with excitement, and my face falls. “I lay on the beach and soaked in the beauty of my surroundings for hours on end. The sand sparkled as it reflected the daggers of sunlight like tiny diamonds. The ocean reflected my joy in its leaping waves, while the sun caressed my face until my melanin levels shot up in delight.”

“That sounds amazing!” I say, a fake smile plastered on my pale, melanin-less face. “What else did you do?” Continue Reading

Thoughts on Community (Health) at Brown and beyond


The Public Health Program announced in a Tuesday press release that Community Health concentrators after 2014.5 will be required take three community-based methods courses, from the previous two.

Acting Community Health Concentration Advisor Mitchell Ray, who was wearing a slim-fitting beige sports coat when I met with him on his fourth-floor South Main Street Office, said that the increase in the number of community-based courses is a “good” one.

“With more emphasis on community-based approaches, we’re making our curriculum more in sync with recent trends in public health and medical anthropology,” Ray said, boyishly tucking a lock of goldish-brown behind his ear, as light poured in from the North-facing bay window.

*            *            *

“Community.” We hear that word a lot around Brown, but what does it mean? Are communities real? Continue Reading

A feast from the heavens


Piquant fragrances arise, from a humble stove, and waft up, up, high into the atmosphere. They billow and float away into the mystic, then — suddenly, serenely, tantalizingly, down to terra firma. Olfactory nerves the world over are titillated by the scent — what could it be but a gift from the heavens, a divine lagniappe? Entire continents are gently fire-bombed with this transcendent aroma, a sublime secret mix of spices and seasonings that leaves God himself in awe. No medley of His earthly essences has ever provoked such visceral burning; like a deep, carnal, sexual passion amplified to the hundredth power.

Populations migrate en masse, as one, to the source of the historic delight. Otherwise honorable men, transfixed by the hypnotic allure of the awaiting treasure, founder and tumble over one another with no regard for norms of decency. These mere social constructs are of no interest to the determined travelers, who march toward their food Mecca like moths to a porch light. Continue Reading

The Faunce Steps: “The Climb”

I can almost see it
The dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it.”

Each step takes one on an ascent toward the pinnacle of Brunonian civilization. One that houses the strength and determination of each and every student on this campus. The experience is daunting. Anticipation and fear abound. We await arriving at the structure in which we find countless visions of the Brown experience: the muffins, the hydration stations, and the perfectly labeled receptacles for rubbish. The study groups and the student groups. UCS. Even the cathedral ceilings in the noiseless Leung Family Gallery cannot contain the work ethic, the unconditional love, and undying passion of each and every student.

Indeed, Faunce House, yes, houses several aspects of greatness of our fine university that take human form in our students. But this is not complete oneness. Indeed, we are not whole. Indeed, we are scattered between three disparate levels. Some here, some there, like a bag of strewn M&Ms all over the living room floor after at 10 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. Bold in color. Stale in flavor. Handfuls are grabbed from a large bowl, yet some inevitably fall through the cracks of the greedy fat man’s hand.

The irony is that the truest manifestation of human greatness is not what everyone hopes to reach, but what transports them there. The ultimate utopia, however, is the Faunce Steps. Continue Reading

Deconstructing the Pembroke Seal: A Monologue

(BlogDH) Scarlet Letter

They all step around it. Over it. Next to it. Jump. Skip. Hop. Walk. But never on it. It’s like it holds some sort of curse. But in reality, it is a piece of stone. Stone — that hard stuff. Stone, the stuff that when dropped from heights doesn’t break into millions of pieces, rather thuds to the ground- making a loud, cracking noise. Kind of like thunder, except not thunder. All this stone says is the name of our school — Brown University. Nothing more. But it has been given much greater meaning. At least that’s how it seems.

Because as I watch people walk down the eight steps that lead from one piece of walkway to the next, they all seem to stray away from this piece of stone. This flat, hard, carved surface. It repels them away. Like magnets. But the opposite. It seems to say, “Hey you…don’t step on me. I’ll fuck you up.” But obviously it’s not saying that…well, because it’s a piece of stone. What if it doesn’t understand why people are so scared of it? What if at night when the weather turns from humid, to slightly chilly, it sweats out tears of sadness? I guess it isn’t possible to bestow so much meaning upon this piece of stone. After all, it’s just a stone. But other people seem to do it. Other people seem to think it possesses some sort of quality, that when stepped on, will ruin their lives forever. If you can give so much meaning to a thing like this, can you give meaning to a leaf? To a shred of grass? A lump of dirt? Continue Reading