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					               oracle
              odyssey

               Created for and by the students of the UW-Madison Odyssey Project
                               Volume 3, No. 16         May 2, 2007


      Contents                              More Poetry of Odyssey
                                   The Odyssey Journey                       Can I Be Happy?
This Page...Poetry of Odyssey            By Sonia Spencer                        By Katy Farrens
12...Transformations             It’s not Friday, Saturday, or Sunday,   Let me tell you about a lady named
15...Odyssey by the Numbers      It’s Wednesday,                         Katy.
16...More Odyssey Profiles       not hump day,                           She felt like she needed a change.
                                 Odyssey Day,                            So she thought long and hard
23...Love From Madison
                                 that I’m giddy about.                   about what would make her happy.
     by Mary Wells               Like a child on Christmas day           The first thought was,
24...Opening Scene from          I feel the same about Odyssey day       it would be nice to go back to
     Chicago Christmas Carol              “Is it here yet?               school.
     by Kathleen Brown                    Is it here yet?”               So then Emily and the Odyssey
                                 I don’t feel pity for those             Project came along
25...Odyssey Students
                                 who don’t know my odyssey.              and gave her a chance to make the
     at the Overture
                                 They don’t know where I’ve gone         first change.
26...Profiles of Odyssey         what I’ve done                          Now she knows what she wants to
     Children by Erica Plybeah   what I’m doing and                      do,
27...Davion’s Day at Monster     where I’m going.                        so she’s staying in school.
     Truck Nationals             I’m taking that journey—                When school is done,
                                 The Odyssey Journey.                    she will get a job she likes
     by Davion Washington
                                                                         that makes her happy. . . .
28...Thoughts on Going
     Forward
29...Writer Spotlight:
     Robert Frost
30...Odyssey Sonnet
     Competition Winners
32...Blue Man Group Review
     by E. Oroki Rice
  Congratulations to the-
    Class of 2007!
   www.odyssey.wisc.edu
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                                             Page 2

             Back on the Bike
            By Curtis Williams

 I sat wondering what my life
          should have been like
 what made me fall off my bike
 Dwelling in the past, asking
          myself how long
 would my pain last.
 Day by day the hourglass never
          stops—
 I learn life’s lessons, but can I ever
          teach
 what I’ve been taught—
 Along came a woman who gave
          me a chance—
 She made me believe I could still                                              locked away and buried        considering re-entering school as
          learn                                                                 deep.                         these women are to me.
 if I took a stance—                                                     Although the journey’s over, I’ve
 So Wednesday after Wednesday I                                                 awakened                            Granny on the Phone
          learn something new                                            and am ready for life.                      By Yasmin Horton
 from men and women young and                                            Thank you, Odyssey family, for
          old who share the same                                                helping me                    She done left that chile again girl
 burdens I’ve been through.                                              Get back on my bike.                 Ain’t it a pity?
 The Odyssey we’ve been taking                                                                                Sweet boy like dat
          may only be brief                                                      I Know I Can*                Alone in this city
 but it has opened a door that was                                              By Yasmin Horton              Gangs tryin’ to git him
                                                                                                              Or drugs in they stead




     oracle
                                                                         Before I came to Odyssey             If that girl don’t get it together’
     odyssey                                                             I did not know my destiny            She come back and find her boy
                                                                         But now I know what’s best for       dead!
                                                                         me
     Created for and by the students of the UW-Madison Odyssey Project
                                                                         My mind is free and I can see                   Free Flight
   Volume 3, No. 16, 05-02-2007                                          The path that’s opened up to me               By Anne Meyer
                                                                         And I can now indubitably
  Editors/Contributing Writers:
                                                                         Be the best that I can be.           I am my cocoon, my cocoon is me.
                                                                                                              What was once my shelter has
  Kegan Carter                                                           *I thought I was making a big step   become my prison.
  Odyssey 2004 Graduate, Designer                                        continuing my education at 50,       Inside it is lonely and cold.
  hooked2kee@msn.com                                                     but Sandra’s grandma returning to    I stay inside not because it is
  608-442-8893
                                                                         school at 80 is really a brave and   enjoyable, but
  Marshall Cook                                                          determined woman. I also share       Because it is familiar and safe;
  Writing Coach                                                          the classroom with Ms. Juanita, a    Safe from the cruel uncertainty of
  mcook@dcs.wisc.edu                                                     dynamite woman of 71, by whom        the outside world
  608-262-4911                                                           I am truly impressed. Knowing
  Emily Auerbach
                                                                         that I am in the company of such     I struggle to release myself from
  Project Director                                                       commendable women causes me          this
  eauerbach@dcs.wisc.edu                                                 to push on even more diligently.     Hardened shriveled skin.
   608-262-3733/ 712--6321                                               One day I hope to be as much an      My struggle within my cocoon can
                                                                         inspiration to women who are         not be avoided.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                            Page 3

 I must struggle to overcome my         down.                                        Silent Observer
 fear                                   The winds of discontent are               By Derrick Washington
 struggle to grow strong                sweepin’ the world.
 struggle to release my beauty          The wretched of the earth have a      Being silent, Being observant
 struggle to believe in myself          gripe.                                Doesn’t necessarily make me
 struggle to be free                    Profit, greed and aggression          malevolent
                                        conspired                             Being silent while unwillingly
 I long to spread my wings;             to unleash their global assault.      processing
 long to fly carefree without fear or   People are rumblin’.                  The woes of a whole community
 inhibition                             The earth trembles.                   You have one choice, one decision
                                        Wonder what change is in the          Choose pain, or choose apathy
 I want to fly high with those that     makin’?
 have long taken flight                                                       Listening to all and being heard by
 And have embraced their beauty                *Chicago-born militant         none
 along the way                              George Jackson (1941-1971)        Feeling like a character of Ralph
                                           joined the Black Panther Party     Ellison
 Those beautiful creatures inspire       while incarcerated and published     But this is the profession that has
 and support me with                     Soledad Brother and Blood in My      chosen me
 their strength, wisdom, and              Eye. He was gunned down in the      More than a certificate to cut hair
 encouragement.                           prison yard of San Quentin days     More like a degree in psychology
                                        before going on trial. Martinique-
 They tell me:                          born French thinker Frantz Fanon      You see every part, every pain
 I am strong                             (1925-1961) wrote about the evils    Every palimpsest attempt at being
 I am capable                               of colonization and helped to     new
 I am beautiful                           inspire anti-colonial rebellions.   You see every birthday every
                                                                              wedding
 I am ready to be free                                                        Every graduation day without a
 Free at last                                                                 clue
 No looking back
 I spread my wings and
 take off in glorious flight

            Mailbox Blues
          By Tillman Morris

 I got the mailbox blues.
 I got the mailbox blues.
 I woke up this morning and
 walked down my hill.
 My old steel box was full of blues
 and bills.

            Rumblin’ Feet
          By Tillman Morris

   In the Spirit of George Jackson
         and Frantz Fanon*

 i got my ear to the ground.
 i’m waitin’ for the real deal to go
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                             Page 4

 But what I see truly                        incompletely erased and                ‘repent’; refers to the lines
 Is the magnificent beauty in                often legible.                         or marks which remain
 humanity                            I dwell in possibility: First line of          after an artist corrects his/
 another way of saying the same              an Emily Dickinson poem                her drawing (or painting).
 thing                                       about imaginative vision as            Traditionally, this meant
 But saying it differently                   liberating.                            that these lines or marks
                                     Mahalia Jackson: Gospel singer                 remained unintentionally,
 I still remember those classic              who suggested on August                in the quest for the
 words                                       28, 1963 when Martin                   perfectly drawn figure, for
 “I dwell in possibility”                    Luther King, Jr. was about             instance. In later drawings
 Wait, I hear Mahalia Jackson                to sit down after delivering           and paintings since,
 Yes! I will tell them about the             a short, formal speech on              however, some artists
 dream                                       discrimination, “Tell them             have taken advantage of
 About the technique I would use             about your dream, Martin!”             the expressive function
 to patch the seam                   fresco: Wall painting in water-                of pentimenti and have
                                             based paint on moist                   left the marks/lines
 But it won’t be an original                 plaster, mostly from the               deliberately, or even
 Just a pentimento                           14th to the 16th centuries;            created them on purpose.
 Or a fresco                                 used mostly before the                 They can add richness to a
 A skillful chiaroscuro                      Renaissance produced                   work.
                                             oil paint as a more easily
 Notes to Derrick’s Poem                     handled medium.                          My “Odyssea”
 character in Ralph Ellison:         chiaroscuro: (kyar-oh-scoor-                    By Diane Dennis
        African-American novelist            oh) Italian term for light
        Ralph Ellison published              and dark, referring to the      I’m drowning in a sea of papers
        Invisible Man in 1952.               modeling of form by the         in helping coordinate the Odyssey
 palimpsest: A manuscript,                   use of light and shade.         class.
        typically of papyrus or      pentimento: Italian
        parchment, which has been            term, from
        written on more than once,           the word
        with the earlier writing             meaning




 Mahalia Jackson                                            Ralph Ellison
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                             Page 5

 I’m swamped in an ocean of books      Looking like slate boards,              through the jungles of Africa
 and homework taking the Odyssey       With church steeples trying hard        colliding with people who could
 class.                                To touch God                            be my cousins,
 I’m treading in water to find         Lakes and streams struggling to         Years watching my classmates
 the next wave for my future of        stay                                    root for the cowboys as they kill
 learning.                             Clear amidst the muck and mire          off the Indians,
 I’m floating in the water watching    Electrical towers rising up like a      Years singing My Country ‘Tis
 my wonderful, awe-inspiring           ‘Phoenix’                               of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty,
 classmates graduate.                   To spread power throughout the         even as Four Little Girls were
 The wealth of knowledge and           countryside                             killed while in Sunday School in a
         heartfelt joy I’ve received   And houses dotting the countryside      Birmingham church.
         from the Odyssey Project      Looking like Home!
         will continue to keep me                                              Mrs. Castile did a remarkable job.
         afloat.                                  First Grade                  She nurtured wounded spirits with
                                                 By Oroki Rice                 love and care through recycled
         I Am Three People                                                     Look and See readers and Think
        By Angela McAlister            1959                                    and Do workbooks.
                                       Chicago’s Westside                      Mrs. Castile gave me a gift that
 I am who the world wants to see.      Theodore Herzl Public School            was never tarnished in all the
 I am who I want the world to see.     Teacher: Mrs. Cecilia Castile           damp, dark, dusty, desolate,
 I am who no one sees when I am        She’s pretty, she’s colored.            sometimes damning places that I
 alone.                                It’s her first year as a teacher.       have traveled since 1959.
                                       We students are many varied             Mrs. Castile determined that I
      A Spring Drive along the         shades:                                 would read.
            Countryside                Chocolate, Coffee, Tan, Russet-         When I read, I look.
        By Angela McAlister            Potato, High-Yellow, Dark, Real         When I look, I see.
                                       Dark, Black.                            When I see, I write.
 As we drove along the countryside                                             When I write, I think.
 One Saturday morning                  Mrs. Castile presents us with a         When I think, I do.
 Several things caught my eye.         used reader, delivered from the
 Landscapes, some looking like         white schools.                                      Dreams
 Elderly, almost bald headed men       The reader is named Look and See.               By E. Oroki Rice
 Holding on to that last glimpse of    It is accompanied by a workbook
 hair;                                 named Think and Do.                  When I was a little girl I dreamed
 And others looking like the           In my reader and workbook I meet     of being a ballerina.
 ‘butch haircut’ of the solider long   new friends, pink friends.           But that was in the 1950s.
 ago.                                  There’s Dick and Jane, their little  As far as I knew, colored girls
 Blue skies with clouds                sister Sally with curly, yellow hair,could not be real ballerinas.
 Looking like puffs of cotton          their Mom and Dad, their cat, Puff,  Oh, my cousin Val took ballet
 Billboards standing out like          and their dog, Spot.                 lessons,
 Beacons beckoning for you to                                               but I’d never seen a grown-up
 Partake of their wares:               I love school.                       colored ballerina.
 Stop here!                            I love Mrs. Castile.                 So I decided I would never be a
 Eat here!                             I love reading, but something        ballerina.
 Lodge here!                           seems wrong somewhere.               I would never be an astronaut.
 Grass awakening through the                                                I would never be a cowgirl.
 winter foliage                        I spent years with Dick, Jane, and   I would never be a Mickey Mouse
 After a long hibernation              Sally, their Mom and Dad, their cat, Musketeer.
 Cemeteries with bright white          Puff, and their dog, Spot,
 markers                               Years watching Tarzan swinging       But I read books.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 6

 I read more books, and more            Saturday, May 12, 29 S. Mills St.     And so I thank my angels
 books, and more books.                 Odyssey students have a free pass     Of inspiration and endurance.
 I pretended I was those little white   to attend; others may purchase $5     You will always be
 girls in those books I read.           tickets in advance (513-8053) or $8   Part of my life.
 I was exposed to the worlds they       at the door.
 traveled.                                                                           Poem of Myself
 It wasn’t that I wanted to be white.      Covered in a Cocoon Shell                By Sandra Ramirez
 I just wanted the privileges that             By Lily Komino
 those cute, smart,                                                           I’m the smell of blossoming coffee
 brave girls I read about had.          Before a butterfly,                   lands
                                        I was like a caterpillar              I’m the color of sugarcane fields
 Today I am not afraid to dream.        Covered in a cocoon shell             The fury of volcanoes and
 In fact, you’d better not tell me      Battling to break free.               The softness of the ocean breeze
 what I can’t do.                       Once I had not known                  I’m a daughter of a war
 If I want to create a one-woman        Of life’s possibilities               But a lover of peace
 production                             And the power of dreams.              My strength is God
 called Inappropriate Laughter,*        So I still lay                        My weakness a sad child’s face
 I’ll do it.                            In my comfort zone,                   Jesus is my best friend,
 I’ll dream of having my own talk       Hoping to break through               My Angel Guard, my spiritual
 show, kinda like Oprah.                And spread my wings.                  guide
 Maybe I’ll be a guest on Oprah’s       And here came my professors,          People say I’m tiny, but the power
 show.                                  Emily, Coach, Gene, Jean, and         inside my heart can’t be measured
 Maybe Oprah will be a guest on         Craig,                                I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend,
 my show.                               With a hammer of knowledge            and
 If I want to write wonderful stories   From UW Odyssey                       I’m a super nanny.
 I’ll do it.                            To break me out of my shell.          I take care of someone else’s kids,
 I’ll dream of others benefiting        So I flew in wisdom,                  And that is satisfying to me.
 from my dreams.                        Knowledge, enlightenment,             I’m a mestizo, Spaniard-
 I’ll get my finances in order and      And courage to a better               Precolombian Indian.
 have an abundance of wealth            Future with great expectation         I’m Central-American, I’m Latina,
 To donate to good causes               For me and my son.                    I’m Salvadorean.
 Like the Odyssey Project.
 I’ll buy a big house with a big
 porch.
 I’ll sit on that porch, chill out in
 the evenings,
 Dreaming under the pitch black
 sky
 As it bursts with wild stars.
 I’ll dream.
 I’ll dream.
 I’ll dream.

 *Sometimes dreams become
 reality. Oroki will perform
 her one-woman show called
 “Inappropriate Laughter
 and Other Stories that Just
 Might Make You Cry” at the
 Neighborhood House at 4 PM on
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                          Page 7

 I’m proud of my heritage.                 “You’re Too Old for School”       The journey I didn’t know
 I’m caring, honest, shy, intelligent,         By Molinda Henry              was there came to me.
 A strong young woman.                                                       It knocked on my door
 I’m special, and my soul is             Oil, oil, for my creaking brain.    and I opened it.
 immortal.                               You can hear me thinking.           It came in and stayed,
 I’m an important part of the            You hear me strain.                 Never letting go.
 Universe.                               You say I agree with you.           It stayed with me.
                                         Yes, I am too old,                  Everywhere I went,
            Floppy Maw                   Yes, too old                        It was with me.
          By Molinda Henry               to buy the snake oil you sold.
                                         Say, I’m cool!                      This journey I’m talking about
 When I open my mouth, doors             I’m going back to school            was the Odyssey.
 close.                                  to be better, to renew
 When I close my mouth, dreams           so I don’t turn into the                    Womb2theTomb
 disappear.                              old lady in the shoe.                       By Stanley Sallay
 I lament in the tears of defeat.
 Defeated, I languish.                              Journey                  Mamma you jus’ wait
 You have the power to destroy or              By Lakeitha Sanyang           I’ve been waitin’ for two decades
 build.                                                                      Jus’ to see a smile on your face.
                                         It wasn’t long ago when             Even though I disobeyed yo’ rules
 You build me as a replica not free      I didn’t have a journey             And didn’t stay in school
 to explore.                             But then I found Odyssey.           Mamma you didn’t raise no fool
 My mind full of thought,                                                    I wonder if you approve of the
 I vanish quietly, with no bumps or      It wasn’t long ago when             thangs I do
 bends.                                  I didn’t know correct grammar       Used to smoke mary jane—used
                                         But then I found Odyssey.           to slang it too.
 I am placid as a smooth lake with                                           Sittin’ on the porch blowin’ haze
 no ripples.                             It wasn’t long ago when             wit’ fools
 I bend in the wind dutifully, and I     I didn’t know my history well       Even though the club was
 don’t break.                            But then came Odyssey.              “jumpin’” like a
                                                                             Kangaroo
 I must break the silence and the        It wasn’t long ago when             I would rather have the times
 stronghold.                             I didn’t understand Philosophy      When you came on through
                                         But then came Odyssey.              Wit’ some grub from “the Chi”
           Song of Molinda                                                   —that’s my favorite food
          By Molinda Henry               It wasn’t long ago when             With you the sky shines
                                         Art history didn’t cross my mind    And it stays light blue
 I’m not from the gutter,                But then came Odyssey.              Inside I felt strange
 I threw myself there.                                                       And that day I knew
 And for a time I didn’t care.           It wasn’t long ago when             That somethin’ was wrong
 I hit the bottom,                       I didn’t have knowledge of          Cuz I felt the pain through you.
 That is usually how it goes.            literature                          When they told me you were in
 I came to the surface.                  But then came Odyssey.              the
 I touched my finger to my nose.                                             hospital
 Balancing on one foot,                  It wasn’t long ago when             I thought it was a joke—
 I touched my toes.                      I didn’t really use my pencil for   Man quit playin’
 I’m much more skillful now,             writing                             Stop it dude
 I write prose.                          Or even pick up a book to read      But then I knew it was true
                                         But then came Odyssey.              Soon as I talked to you
                                                                             You said, “Son, I had a stroke
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                               Page 8

 But it was mild and                    but when I do                                        Just make sure you
 I’m much better now.                   it will be a relief                                       are
 Don’t worry, you can smile             I’m a person with goals                                    proud of what
 I’ll be outta here in a while.”        and also big dreams                                         you are!
 When I hung up I felt                  very big dreams
 Butterflies in my stomach              I am me.
 Felt like my life was just crumblin’
 Try to collect my thoughts                       Missing You!
 Cuz my mind won’t stop runnin’                By Kathleen Brown
                                                                                                      Stepping
             Walk Away                  As you lie still                                            Stone
           By Katy Farrens              I feel your soul                                      By Lorena Lovejoy
                                        I can not help but
 Why is it so hard to walk away         want to hold on                                        I am a daughter, a
 from you?                              to the memories we once had                            sister, and a mother.
 Is it because I love you               I can’t believe my                                    Just an ordinary
 Or because I think I need you?         eyes cry red                                          person trying to
 You keep my stomach in knots and       a bloody desire to be in lust                        capture what life has
 my mind confused.                      and it’s only you I trust                           to offer.
 I feel I need you near me all the      You were there for me                               I am nervous, anxious,
 time,                                  night and day                                        and determined.
 But when I come back to reality,       It is hard to ease                                   Confused, unsatisfied,
 I remember that we can’t be            the pain away                          and hungry.
 together.                              without coming back to you             Striving to succeed just to feel
 So I have to hold you in my heart,     It’s really hard to do                 free.
 Even though it hurts,                  Odyssey Program                        I will be something someday.
 And hope that one day you will         I will miss you!                       Just have to make it happen and
 understand                                                                    believe.
 Why we will never be one.                    Outstanding Woman!               Work hard and set an example for
 Why is it so hard to walk away                By Kathleen Brown               my son
 from you?                                                                     So he knows all I have done.
                                        An outstanding woman is a woman        Working hard and trying to go to
            My Poem                            that don’t let anyone get her   school
        By Latoya Robinson                     down                            Looking to some people as if I am
                                               through rain, sleet, or snow    a fool.
 I am me                                       she always around               The things we have to do to
 very laid back                                to the higher T                 survive,
 one who likes to sit back                     to the low parts of life        Some things I had to let pass me
 and observe                                   she always maintain             by.
 one who puts                                  to get what she wants           It will be worth it in the long run,
 very little trust in people            An outstanding woman has               And then life will be fun.
 but also loving and caring                    an outstanding mind             The Odyssey Project just made a
 willing to help anyone                        to lead her through             stepping-stone.
 who’s in need                                 all the outstanding times       This journey is now my own.
 very hard working                             to guide to the light
 always working                                to show off all her might               The Life of Brian
 whether it’s at home                   An outstanding woman                           By Brian Benford
 work                                          never have to fight
 or school                              Being an outstanding woman             I’m a sensual thinker.
 it seems I never finish                       is not too hard                 In my dreams I taste, smell, and
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                  Page 9

         feel.                             He taught me things only a daddy       With my skin ranging
 Blinded only when I’m awake.              could,                                 From a light pale brown in winter
 Tenderly I held my babies between         and my Dad always had a smile          To a dark brown with reddish tint
         jobs, meetings, and               from ear to ear.                       Makes you wonder how my skin
         relationships.                    Growing up in the PROJECTS to          Could change like a chameleon
 For my children, I cooked tried           some
         and true ancestral foods.         was a Horror Story, Ugliness and       With my many piercings
         Stirring in extra love as I       Shame.                                 In my left ear and
         nourished our bodies and          But for me, I was blessed,             my baby piercing in my right
         soul.                             living and learning                    with my labret pierced
 At times the electric was lost to         and following sound advice.            to follow in with the rest
         pay the rent. Used it as a        “It’s not where you live,              makes you wonder
         teachable moment on how           but how you live,” my Dad said.        what the hell was she thinking?
         the ‘old timers’ lived.           “Baby girl, be all you can be.”
 Gave my blood to pay for food.            So I took his advice,                  Along with many other secrets
 Pushing shame and guilt aside             and it was ever so nice.               that you cannot see
         with artificial pride, as I try   My Odyssey began without an end.       or will ever see
         to justify that my plasma         I grew up living a dream,              Who do you think I am?
         gave life to others.              remembering all he taught me.
 In the face of poverty, I bowed           Now my Dad has gone on                 The one question I will always get
         and embraced a lifestyle          to that place called HEAVEN.           and no longer will be mad about is
         of simplicity and grace. I        I will always remember the days        “Are you Native American
         introduced my children to         of sitting on his lap, singing our     or are you Mexican?”
         him with hopes that they          little songs.
         would never be friends.           There is one song in particular as I   This I will tell the truth on
 Education has brought me out of           grew older,                            And my answer is
         the cave, enriching life as I     and it went like this:                 BOTH!
         race to the grave.                    YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW              I am Native
 I read about realities unknown,                   NO MORE DADDY’S                My ancestors were born here!
         new ways of thinking were                     LITTLE GIRL                I am Mexican because
         shown.                            But remembering all the memories       That’s what you made me!
 In my dreams I’ve tasted pain,            he has given me,
         smelled fear, and felt the        I will always be
         light.                            DADDY’S GIRL.
 Now I’m awakened, I can see, and
         the future looks bright.                    Me
 I’m a sensual thinker.                        By Erica Garcia

            Daddy’s Girl                   With my long slick black
          By Roslyn Phillips                      straight hair
                                           Run your fingers through
 In August 1955, a beautiful baby          You’ll never find
 girl was born,                            The end or the beginning
 with hair so curly, body so plump.
 My Daddy named me Lil Miss                With my eyes so dark
 Plump.                                    You wonder are they
 As I gazed at him with eyes so                    brown?
 wide,                                     Or are they black?
 he said, “Look at my baby,                This I will never tell!
 Daddy’s Lil Girl.”
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                Page 10

                                                                                  I used to roam around in the same
                                                                                  streets that eventually hindered
                                                                                  some of my peers.
                                                                                  I used to be on some of the fastest
                                                                                  4x100m relay teams in the nation.
                                                                                  I used to jump into my mother’s
                                                                                  arms whenever Thriller came on
                                                                                  the television.

                                                                                  I am capable of reaching the sum-
                                                                                  mit of this mountain called life.
                                                                                  I am vulnerable to making mis-
                                                                                  takes that may re-shape my life
                                                                                  quicker than I think.
                                                                                  I am durable because I’ve been
                                                                                  tested time and time again,
                                                                                  yet I still haven’t
                Eyes                                                              cracked.
           By Erica Garcia               never say you’re going to                I am approachable,
                                         if you’re never going to start           according to anyone who has spent
 When you look into my eyes                                                       even a small amount of time with
 What do you see?                        never look into my eyes                  me.
 Are you too scared to look              if all you do is lie
 into my eyes?                                                                    I am going to stop dwelling on
 Are you scared that they hold           never say hi                             what others think.
 Too much mystery                        if you really mean good bye              I am going to make my family
 in the black brown abyss?                                                        proud.
 Or are you scared that                  never say forever                        I am going to earn a degree some-
 what you might see will be              when you know you mean never             day.
 the truth and not lies?                                                          I am going to continue to be me.
 People are always scared to look                I’m Just Being Me
 in my black, brown abyss of eyes               By Cameron Daniels
 because they tell the truth
 of pain, suffering, and sadness.        I used to be the kid in class that got
 People wouldn’t be scared               picked on.
 if my eyes held
 happiness, delight, and beauty
 but they know these are lies!

                Never
             By Nou Yang

 never say I love you
 if you know you don’t care

 never talk about feelings
 if you really ain’t going to be there

 never hold my hand
 if you know you’re going to let go
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                          Page 11

     MARY’S 2007 ODYSSEY
        by Mary Wells
                                                           The Confession
                                                          By Corinthians Reece
 O - Extra ORDINARY (The class                When I finally woke up I     pleading, crying, praying to the
 went beyond what I envisioned)      realized there had been a terrible    God that would hear us and grant
                                     murder. There was blood on my         the other’s demise.
 D - DRIVEN (I am driven like        hands. I sat up and looked at the              Finally I laid hold of him
 never before for education)         young man lying on the ground         with all of my might. He struggled
                                     next to me, and then it all be        and gasped, but there was no
 Y - YEARN (I want to conquer        came very clear to me. A struggle     choice in the matter. He had truly
 my educational goals)               between us had ensued, obviously      intended to kill me; he hated me
                                     unto the death.                       with his whole soul and being.
 S - SERIOUS (I am serious about              I remembered that while he   Only one of us would live. With
 education)                          fought with me he had struck me       my hands wrapped around his
                                     with desperation and a vengeance      neck, I did not let go. The more he
 S - SENSITIVE (I am sensitive to    to live. I countered every blow       struggled, the tighter I held on.
 needs of others)                    defensively. I never had the desire            At some point after I
                                     to take another’s life, but this      woke up I heard a voice: “You
 E - ENTHUSIASTIC (I am eager        young man would not take no for       are the dream that I have placed
 to give back as I have been given   an answer. He picked up a sharp       in Corey, to be the man that I
 to)                                 object and cut my arm and then        have called you to be. You are the
                                     my face. He tried to stab me, but     hope that his mother prayed that
 Y - YOUTHFUL (I am young at         there was something in me that just   he would become. You are the
 heart)                              did not want to die. He grabbed a     song I placed in his heart that he
                                     large weapon and landed a blow to     would sing, you are the fire of my
          Militant Humanist          my side. He beat me mercilessly       spirit that I placed in him to fight
          by Tillman Morris          until I saw lights of all different   fear, obscurity, shame and doubt.
                                     colors. At one point he held me       You have forever laid to rest the
 every morning i awake               down so long with my face in the      foul lie that life has told him. You
 i slip into my mental armor         mud, while kicking me in the side,    are the future of his dreams and
 to confront a world of oppression   that I actually believe I saw my      aspirations. You are strong. Live.
                                     life flash before my very eyes. All   Live and do not look back at this
                                     night we struggled with each other,   place ever again.”
                                                                                   Song of Juanita
                                                                                  By Juanita Wilson

                                                                           First day of class—scared—
                                                                           I felt that I couldn’t perform
                                                                           to the level of the class.
                                                                           I didn’t know what to expect.
                                                                           We began to talk about ourselves.
                                                                           As the students started sharing
                                                                           similar experiences,
                                                                           I began to relax.
                                                                           I learned that
                                                                           making mistakes was okay.
                                                                           I now feel confident
                                                                           and can perform.
 Love Untitled by Justin McGonigle
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                             Page 12



                           Tr a n s f o r m a t i o n s
    Odyssey students were asked to think back to summer 2006 when they came to the South Madison for an
     interview for the Odyssey Project and reflect on whether or not they had changed. Here are excerpts.


 I am much more encouraged. . . .      inspirational and rejuvenating.        me more than just hope and
 I am not where I ought to be, I’m     (Tillman Morris)                       education—it’s also given me a
 not where I could be, but thanks                                             newfound family.
 be to God I’m not where I used to     I have found some good people          (Kathleen Brown)
 be. (Corinthians Reece)               that like me and accept me for who
                                       I am. . . . My future is wide open     Since that interview in the library
 The change is for the better. I do    now, and the Odyssey Project has       a whole new me has emerged. I
 believe that because of Odyssey       helped me realize that it’s not over   actually think about what I write
 my life will go in a different        for me.                                more intensely, I think more
 direction, a better direction. I am   (Tiffani Puccio)                       critically, I express myself more
 more focused on school and on                                                vividly, and I am more confident
 life. (Dwayne Bland)                  I am empowered to learn and teach.     in who I am becoming.
                                       I now have the ability to reach my      (Angie McAlister)
 I have been changed beyond            full potential.
 words. I have gained confidence       (Brian Benford)                        I can say that I have changed a
 and hope, yet I continue to be                                               lot. . . . I often see myself saying
 timid and scared. I continue to       This class has inspired me so          I know I can do this. I know I can
 stand mute and frozen in my outer     much. It has made me want to learn     go on. Also I have not read this
 world, but I have found confidence    more and also give more to others      much ever. (Angie Williams)
 in my inner world, my inner voice.    who haven’t had this opportunity.
 Before Odyssey I thought I knew       I have got myself to the point of      I have learned to accept and
 so much. I now realize how much       no return and plan on continuing       embrace the thoughts of others.
 I don’t know. I am excited and        my education until I graduate from     . . . I am more content inside my
 intimidated about the learning        my program of interest. (Katy          soul. I want less, need less, care
 process.                              Farrens)                               more. I know that I don’t know
 (Anne Meyer)                                                                 who I am because this process is
                                       I have changed because the             taking place daily.
 I have found the whole experience     Odyssey program has given              (Molinda Henry)

                                                                              The biggest change is my ability
                                                                              to speak in front of others. . .
                                                                              . Secondly, I now have more
                                                                              confidence in my day to day life
                                                                              now that I know that others in
                                                                              history had rough times and strong
                                                                              convictions that were contrary to
                                                                              popular belief.
                                                                               (Derrick Washington)

                                                                              My world view has changed; it has
                                                                              been expanded to higher levels. I
                                                                              now listen to talk radio, and I also
                                                                              have a thirst for education I’ve
 These photos are from the very first class in September, 2006.               never experienced before.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                               Page 13




 Remember the uneasy looks on the students’ faces that first day?                  myself despite my past. I used
                                                                                   to blame others for my lack
 (Mary Wells)                          whole perspective on learning. . . .        of progression, but now I can
                                       I before didn’t know me or where I      face up to my responsibilities and
 My life is completely changed.        was going or what my purpose was        accept the fact that I have a very
 My brain is very well polished by     or even my journey. . . . I’m clear     valid opportunity now, and I’m
 the knowledge I have received. I      now and so open to things that          the only one who can control the
 have learned to open my mind and      sometimes I have to take a chill        outcome. (Stanley Sallay)
 my horizons. (Lily Komino)            pill to cool down. This odyssey
                                       has influenced me and changed my        Because of the Odyssey staff
 At the interview I was very scared,   whole life. (Lakeitha Sanyang)          and my Odyssey classmates I am
 also nervous. . . . I changed a                                               positive I can accomplish my long
 lot since the beginning—very          Since I started the Odyssey             lost dreams. I can say that for the
 comfortable with class, and also      program I am more determined            first time in a very long time I
 excited when Wednesdays arrive.       than ever to be successful in life. I   have completed not just started
 (Latoya Robinson)                     have learned to appreciate things       something. For that I am very
                                       like art and just simple little poems   proud of myself! (Oroki Rice)
 I’m not the same. I feel so proud     that mean more than what the
 of myself. I’m so happy to have       words actually mean.                    I am awe-inspired by the
 met all these great people—all        (Lorena Lovejoy)                        professors and students alike who
 my classmates, Emily, and the                                                 are all a part of this journey called
 teachers. I’m a new Sandra, and       I feel that this odyssey will forever   Odyssey. (Yasmin Horton)
 I will keep this change forever in    be with me. I want to continue
 my life. (Sandra Ramirez)             expanding my mind and soul. I           I now feel that if I make a mistake
                                       want my children to know that           it’s OK. . . . I have changed from
 I feel like I’m not as scared of      there is so much more out there         a scared rabbit to one that is
 meeting new people like I used to     than what they are learning in          relaxed in a group and one that
 be! (Erica Garcia)                    schools. (Sonia Spencer)                participates. (Juanita Wilson)
 It has changed me and the way         I’ve become more social and
 I think, feel, write, read—my         willing to make something of
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                  Page 14

 I have awakened to a
 new philosophy that
 learning will only
 help me in my travels
 through this life. I
 should have never
 given up on a higher
 education, but thanks
 to this program I have a
 new start.
 (Curtis Williams)

 Then I was too shy, but
 now look at me. I have
 friends that I shouldn’t
 have been scared of
 saying hi to at the time.
 . . . I really wish that I
 had this feeling back
 then and had walked far
 and not been scared. . .
 being able to talk then           The faces of the Odyssey students now show confidence, optimism, and love for one
 in class like I am now.                                                another.
 (Nou Yang)
                                             church members--have noticed as       Church I am the Church Annouce-
 Remembering my first visit at the           they say A Bounce In My Step, A       ment Clerk. Just this Sunday, I
 South Madison Library is sort of            Glow to My Face, Excitement in        have been asked by my Pastor to
 a blur. I felt anxious, confused,           My Voice, a Smile that Lights up a    do a 30-second promo on the Radio
 scared, bold, excited, misty-eyed,          Place. It’s called unspeakable joy,   for our church. My Self-Esteem is
 and lastly, leaving the Library,            and doors have opened up around       High. (Roslyn Phillips)
 Self Confident. I have grown                me. Through another promotion
 so much with Odyssey. Every-                on my job, I am now a presenter,      My expectations have elevated,
 one--friends, family, co-workers,           coordinator, and mediator. At         and I believe I have a better feel of
                                                                                   what is out there for me, since the
                                                                                   interview. Before this class, some
                                                                                   of the things I set out for seemed
                                                                                   very distant, and at times I’d get
                                                                                   discouraged, even to the point
                                                                                   where I would give up altogether.
                                                                                   Since odyssey, I feel like the world
                                                                                   is much closer to grasp and I see
                                                                                   that great things can be, and stay,
                                                                                   in my reach as long as I continue
                                                                                   to push forward and work hard
                                                                                   for what I want. I know now that
                                                                                   I really can do whatever I want,
                                                                                   and that is an indescribable feeling.
                                                                                   (Cameron Daniels)
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                         Page 15


                   Odyssey by the Numbers
          On Wednesday, April 25, 28 Odyssey students turned in a survey asking them to
  complete a sentence beginning with the phrase “Because of the Odyssey Project, I believe I
        am more likely to” and ending with some choices or an answer of their own.
                                       Here are the results:




         Because of the Odyssey    Encourage others to reach their        philosophical, and artistic context,
 Project, I believe I am more      full potential; visit the Chazen       with heavy emphasis on writing
 likely to:                        Art Museum; love the diversity         and critical thinking as well.
 keep going in school (28)         in humanity; laugh—now I laugh                 There will also be
 speak or write my opinions (24)   bigger; develop more confidence;       Student Number 32 this year:
 feel better about myself (21)     graduate.                              Diane Dennis, Odyssey Project
 read (21)                                                                Coordinator, has successfully
 be a better parent (15)                   Of the 31 students admitted    completed the course as part of
 vote (7)                          to the Odyssey Project for 2006-       her own parallel odyssey toward
 Other Write-in Choices:           2007, we believe 3 will receive        a college degree. Congratulations,
                                                    3 credits for fall    Diane!
                                                     semester only,
                                                     and the remaining
                                                     28 will earn the
                                                     full 6 credits, an
                                                     all time record.
                                                     The UW course
                                                     numbers are
                                                     English 350-167
                                                     and 350-168,
                                                     testifying to
                                                     work in English
                                                     and American
                                                     literature in
                                                     its historical,
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                            Page 16



                     More Odyssey Profiles
     My Mother, Annette Bland          drug abuse, homelessness and           daddy, too. Curt stayed on me, and
          By Dwayne Bland              crime to maintaining her own car       I just want to say thank you.
          You can recover from drug    and apartment, working with others              Curt got into some trouble
 addiction; Annette Bland is proof     in the community and staying           and missed his nephew K.V. being
 of that.                              clean and sober year after year. The   born, and it hurt him badly. Curt
          She was born in Chicago      Odyssey class was her stepping         promised us that he wouldn’t get
                                       stone to success, and if it were not   into any more trouble, and you
                                       for her, I would never have taken      know he has kept his promise.
                                       that first step myself.                         Curt has been there to see
                                                                              all of my children being born. I
                                                                              remember for my last one he came
                                                Curt, My Brother              up to the hospital and said, “I’ll
                                                By Angie Williams             be back before midnight, and I
                                               There are three people in      bet by the time I get back he’ll
                                       my life who are not here today         be born.” At 11:46 p.m. as my
                                       whom I truly                           son was coming into the world,
                                       miss: my                               Curt walked in the door and said,
                                       grandmother                            “I told you so.” And my son was
                                       and                                    born.
                                       grandfather,                                    Curt spoils his nieces and
                                       Bernice                                nephews. Whatever they want
                                       and Barney                             he gives it to them. I think this
                                       Carter, and                            is because we didn’t have much.
                                       my Uncle                               He has not missed any of their
 in the 1960s. Annette had two         Darnell Jr.                            functions or Shanae’s graduation.
 children, one boy and one             I know that                                     They all call him Pop-
 girl. From the early 80s to early     they are so                            Pop, except Shanae, who calls
 2000, Annette was in and out of       pleased with my brother and me.        him Curt. On Sundays he comes
 jail for various crimes related to    That’s why I chose to profile my       over and plays with them. K.V.
 her drug addiction. After over 20     brother Curtis, whom I call “Curt.”    and Chris climb on his back, and
 years of drug abuse and addiction,    Curt is one year younger than I am,    Shanae wants him to see her dolls
 she decided that living a life of     but he acts like he’s the oldest.      and stuff. He gives and plays with
 poverty, crime and addiction was              When we were growing up,       all of them; there is no favorite
 taking its toll. She decided to get   we didn’t have the best, but we had    one.
 off drugs for good.                   the important things. My brother                I love my brother Curt
          Annette checked herself      would always say it would be           because he helps us with his
 into an in-patient drug treatment     different when he got older, and it    nieces and nephews. Curt, I love
 facility. Immediately she began       is.                                    you and thanks for everything.
 working on the main cause of her              Curt went off to the Army
 troubled life, drug addiction. Over   after seeing his first niece born,       Daphne Daniels (Odyssey ’05)
 the next couple of years she          and after a few years he got an               By Cameron Daniels
 enrolled at M.A.T.C, where this       honorable discharge.                              (Odyssey ’07)
 year she made the dean’s list. In             Curt came to stay with                 When her children would
 two years she plans to attend the     me and his niece, Shanae, and he       threaten to run away from her
 U.W.-Madison.                         began to spoil her very much. Curt     home because of the harsh
          I am proud to say that my    and I would stay into it because       conditions she implemented, she
 mom, Annette Bland, went from         now he also wanted to be my            would slyly reply: “Don’t run,
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 17

                                                                               attending school also, while
                                         Darnetta Carter (Odyssey ’06)         holding down a job at all times.
                                       By Curtis Williams (Odyssey ’07)                Eventually things looked
                                                Ladies and gentlemen,          up; all her children have graduated
                                       girls and boys, who is the person       from high school, and my mother
                                       I not only look up to but adore         keeps pushing, continuing her
                                       and admire? This person has had         education while encouraging me
                                       a tremendous effect on my life          and my sisters to do the same.
                                       from the first breath I ever took.      “Never give up” is all I can hear in
                                       Obviously, if you know me, you          the back of my mind. This is why
                                       know whom I’m talking about,            she is the most influential person
                                       but to the others I would like to       in my life.
                                       introduce you to my mother, Ms.
                                       Darnetta Carter.                                   Super Woman
                                                Sadly, it’s a somewhat                  By Stanley Sallay
                                       common story—a black woman                       How is she still here?
 walk. You’ll get farther!!” Not       raises her children as a single         If it were me, I probably would
 only did she put her hands on her     mother—but with a twist because         have been
 kids, but she did it in public. At    not only has she seen me progress       committed
 stores and restaurants alike she      in my life, but I’ve also had the       to a nursing
 would never hesitate to pop her       privilege of watching her progress.     home at an
 kids in the mouth for misbehaving. I won’t put my mother’s business           early age,
 And boldly, she would counter         out there and tell situations about     or broken
 that with, “Now stop crying           her life because there’s no way I       down from
 before I give you something to cry would have enough time on paper. I         bad nerves,
 about.”                               can say in a nutshell she has in my     or even
         This description may          eyes single-handedly raised three       worse, be
 or may not sound like effective       children and two foster children,       dead by
 parenting, depending on your          and she is still currently continuing   now. She
 take. Although she cannot apply       her education while helping raise       brushed pain and suffering off
 these tactics to her foster children, her grandchildren. This is all from     her shoulders like a person would
 Daphne Daniels is and will be the     a woman who got her GED in her          brush off dandruff. It was just
 biggest influence on the kids she     thirties, again with three children     another day for her.
 parents.                                                                               Well into her twenties,
         Daphne began parenting                                                her trials and tribulations
 some 25 years ago with her first                                              metamorphosed her into an
 born son. She has raised four                                                 unstoppable entity, evolved from
 children of her own and has taken                                             a cocoon of her blood, sweat, and
 in over a dozen foster kids in the                                            tears.
 last seven years, and recently she                                                     Born in Arkansas and
 adopted two children who are                                                  raised back and forth between
 brother and sister. For as long as                                            Chicago and Gary, Indiana,
 she has been in foster care, she has                                          Brenda Manning could no longer
 always sought siblings who would                                              bear the pressures of trying to
 otherwise be separated due to the                                             gain social acceptance and family
 foster care system. She has taken                                             approval, while at the same time
 in children of ages from three to                                             enduring an abusive relationship,
 17. Alongside raising four of her                                             trying to raise two boys, living
 own, her efforts truly show just                                              on section 8 and government
 how dedicated she is as a mother.                                             assistance—never having a
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 18

 substantial amount of money or          later she recovered and now can      now are reading and writing.
 affection—and constant evictions.       walk (with a cane) and talk (fairly  She sometimes submits articles
 So she turned to drugs to fill          well).                               to the newsletter at the nursing
 that void in her heart that was                  Nothing could stop          home. She also has over the years
 famished from deprivation.              her—not trials, tribulations, pain,  developed a collection of short
          Brenda moved in with           suffering, sorrow, grief, rejection, stories, poems and essays by her
 her mother again, now with              abuse—nothing. So again I ask:       friends and family.
 three children (all boys) and           how is she still here? I don’t think          Presently, she is tutoring
 their father in prison. The 112th       that I could have survived all that, two little Chicano girls. She
 block of Edbrooke in Chicago            unless she passed down some of       prepares them bilingual lessons
 had no shortage of drug addicts.        that strength to me by DNA. I’ll     in English and Spanish and mails
 Hooking up with old friends,            gladly accept it. In the words of    them to their home. Occasionally
 she continued her habit of doing        Tupac, “Even as a crack fiend,       they visit, and then she helps
 drugs. Ironically, this would be        mamma, you always was a black        them with their English lessons
 the place where she called it quits.    queen mamma.”                        and any problems they may have
 She decided to go to rehab in the                My mother, Brenda           with those lessons. The nursing
 year 2000 because she realized          Manning, is the real definition of a home holds a weekly bingo
 that she wanted a better life for her   Super Woman.                         game. The prizes are small items
 three boys.                                                                  like candy bars, toiletries, pens
          Her sons ended up                             Castaway              and notebooks. Since she is a
 getting divided to three different                By Tillman Morris          teacher through and through,
 places. (Fortunately none of                     In this society the elderly whenever she wins she opts for the
 those included government               are castaway people. Visit any       notebooks. She distributes these
 interference.) The oldest, James,       convalescent                         prizes to the little girls, to her own
 went to Job Corps. The middle           home and                             great granddaughters, and to me.
 son, Stan, Jr., went to live at a       you will                                      Having been born and
 friend’s house. And the youngest        see scores                           raised in the depths of poverty and
 son, Brandon, moved to Atlanta,         of people                            colonial oppression herself, she
 Georgia with his aunt.                  languishing                          developed a lifelong empathy for
          Completing her rehab, she      and suffering                        the struggles of poor people. Her
 moved out of her mother’s house         from all                             family moved from Puerto Rico to
 and into her own, with a stable         sorts of                             Philadelphia and then New York
 job at the Chicago Tribune, never       illnesses and                        when she was four years old. She
 again even coming close to drugs        waiting their                        knows from experience what it’s
 or alcohol.                             turn to die.                         like to come to a country where
          Life seemed to be taking       The atmosphere is lonely and         you don’t speak the language.
 a turn for the better, until a          depressing. Residents and staff      Being a person with a generous
 couple of years later, Brenda had       alike are stressed by monotonous     spirit and a strong sense of self-
 her first stroke. But as always,        routine and the drudgery of hospital reliance, she feels that this is the
 Brenda wouldn’t let anything            caretaking.                          best way to prepare these little
 hold her down in the dark depths                 Some people have their      girls to cope with challenges of
 of suffering. With stroke two,          mental capacities but have bodily    today.
 she recovered unaffected by the         handicaps while others have no                The reality of the nursing
 illness. Now stroke three (good         bodily handicaps but have “lost”     home is a class reality. Some get
 thing this isn’t baseball, or the       their minds. My mother-in-law        the best of care, and others don’t
 rules would have forced her to          is among the former. She is 91       get a modicum of care. Being
 convert to the other side) was          years old, wheelchair bound,         an educator is not a pathway to
 significantly more damaging than        but still intellectually sharp. In   becoming wealthy, so when she
 the first two, crippling her right      her prime, she was a teacher and     retired she did not have a great
 side and her ability to talk. Months    university professor. Her pastimes   deal of wealth. As her body gave
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                             Page 19

 way to the natural deterioration,     bouncing baby boy named “CJ.” As       with him.
 she required more and more            you might guess, having a baby at               Chaplain Thomas and I
 medical assistance. Eventually this   19 will be challenging, but we are     became good friends. He’s not
 depleted all her savings. This is a   scrambling to build a support team     only a chaplain but a real man.
 shame, especially when most of        to give this family the chance the     He’s married and has two boys
 the elderly have labored all their    hood can offer.                        who play basketball in Milwaukee.
 lives to come to the end and find             This young man will                     He revealed to me his
 themselves social castaways.          be an inspiration to his whole         testimony. He spent seven years
                                       community because he has come          in prison at Fox Lake and Waupun
                DJ Clark               from the bottom up through hard        Correctional Institutions, but he
       By Derrick Washington           work and high morals. Because          decided after doing his time he’d
          Where do I begin when        of an endowment for the Spoken         never go back or let the obstacles
 speaking about a young man            Word First Wave Program, he has        of this life set him back. He’s an
 who gives                             received a scholarship to attend       inspiration to me, and I’m glad to
 adults in my                          to UW-Madison based on his             have been a part of his life and he
 community                             potential and gifts.                   a part of mine.
 such hope for
 our children’s                                  Tommie Thomas                An Undeserved Blessing Reveals
 future? I                                         By Troy Terry                      the Gates of Heaven
 think I’m                                     While I was in the Racine             By Corinthians Reece
 supposed                              Correctional Institution doing a 15-            Quintella and Anthony
 to be a big                           year sentence,                         Ward (Odyssey ’04) are friends
 brother or                            I met the                              of mine. They have four beautiful
 mentor to this                        chaplain,                              kids, two girls and two boys:
 young man,                            Tommie                                 Aniah, Micah, AJ, and Mekhi.
 but it is really                      Thomas, at                             I would just report about one
 he who motivates and gives me         a Protestant                           of them, but they all are pretty
 hope.                                 Church                                 amazing in their own right.
          I’m not a detail kind        service. At                                     Aniah, 12, is the oldest and
 of guy, but this young man            that time I                            lives in Milwaukee. Her birthday
 personifies what it means to be       didn’t believe                         is 2-13-95. She has beautiful
 resilient in the face of strong and   in church and                          long black hair, a deep brown
 unjust adversity. He has avoided      especially                             complexion, and a beautiful smile,
 the trap of dealing or becoming       not in God;                            with dimples to boot. If ever
 addicted to illegal narcotics and     however, over time, boy did things     anyone thought of themselves as
 successfully graduated from East      change.                                a Diva, this young lady has that
 High School, a school where the               Chaplain Thomas stood          whole department locked down.
 numbers for minority graduation       about 6 foot tall and was 51 or        She would give Ms. Ross a run for
 leave much to be desired.             52. As he preached the Word to         her money.
          This is in no way an         a bunch of convicts, I felt the
 attempt to ubermensch him; he         sincerity and saw the excitement
 struggles with several things like    and the tears flowing down
 the rest of us. He’s growing up in    people’s faces.
 a part of town (south side) where             After a few more services,
 much of the value system places       I saw the conviction of his faith.
 material possessions over the         I heard the message of how God
 virtue of wealth from within. But     so loved the world, but how could
 he’s doing a lot right.               he love me after all the things I’ve
          DJ and his beautiful         done? I personally felt like Joseph       Anthony Ward with daughter
 fiancée, Markita, just had a          in the Bible, when God was still          Micah in 2004, Odyssey film
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                               Page 20

          Next is Micah, a little girl,   father, brother, friend or, in my       compassion in him. He has taught
 Laotian and black. Her birthday is       case, my husband, Therren.              our children the importance of
 7-4-02. She is no Diva but a true                 Imagine losing your mother,    being independent and strong.
 Princess if ever there was one. At       father, and grandmother all within      Whenever my kids ask for certain
 one point when she was a toddler         a year. After losing his parents        things, he tends to get it for
 she had really short hair, and she       and grandmother, he lived with          them. He always goes back to his
 refers to that part of her life as       many different relatives but never      childhood and recollects how hard
 when she was a ‘boy.’ This little        stayed more than a year or two and      it was for him growing up with his
 girl is quite the comedienne. We         experienced hardships that most         parents and tends to make up for
 have made up silly names for each        of us at our teenage years do not       that by being
 other so we get the opportunity to       experience.                             there for
 laugh as soon as we get to meet.                  As a child, Therren was a      our children
          Last and not least are AJ       very determined boy with a strong       emotionally
 (5-29-04) and his baby brother           will. He was able to survive for a      and
 Mekhi (9-15-05). These two are           couple of years on pension checks       financially.
 about a year apart but look like         from his mother’s death. His
 twins. AJ mostly tries to steal the      survival skills were like a lion’s in     The Quiet
 attention from Mekhi, but being so       an African jungle. Because of that       Giant in My
 young, Mekhi really has no clue.         he had to make some decisions in              Life
 He is a humble sort, very happy          life that weren’t always the right        By Angela
 with the way life has been treating      ones.                                     McAlister
 him, even though his older brother                After so many years of                  He was born into a strong,
 starts fights with him for no reason     struggling and being alone, there       loving, hard-working, poor,
 at all.                                  was a break. His older cousin           uneducated family that picked
          When I come over to             Jerome took him into their home.        cotton, cleaned other people’s
 their house, they all run to me          He was able to blend into a family      houses, ironed other people’s
 screaming, “Corey! Corey! Come           that was loving, supportive, and        clothes and drove other people
 play with us!” If you have ever          funny, and they already considered      around. He was named after
 experienced anything as beautiful        him family and made sure he was         his father’s employer, a white
 as this, then you also know that         aware of that. Therren managed          man whom he chauffeured. He
 it is an undeserved blessing from        to stay with the Montgomery’s           is one of four brothers and four
 some higher power showing his or         for a couple of years, which was        sisters, twin to a sister named
 her creativity,                          surprising, because if anyone           Pauline, who died at the age of
 power, love,                             knows him, he doesn’t stay in one       19 from meningitis. He has been
 and grace.                               location for more than two years.       widowed twice and is father of
 In the eyes                              He packed his bag and left. No one      11, grandfather of 27, and great
 of a smiling                             knew where he was going, but they       grandfather of 17. He is my father,
 child one can                            knew he was a survivor and would        Lyre Peterson McAlister.
 see inside the                           make it out there.                               My father grew up in
 very gates of                                     Prior to my meeting my         Ripley, Mississippi picking cotton
 heaven.                                  husband in 1995, when he chose          at an early age. He never had a
                                          Madison as his next adventure, he       chance to go to school. The family
       True                               was all over the world. He ended        moved up north and settled in
    Survivor                              up working as an animal handler         Beloit, Wisconsin when he was
           By Sonia Spencer               for The Ringling Brothers Circus,       in his early twenties. He met and
          A survivor has been able to     where he gained some sense of           married my mother in his late
 overcome obstacles and hardships         family.                                 twenties; that marriage produced
 in life, putting the past behind and              Therren and I became           four girls.
 looking to the future. A survivor        friends pretty quickly. Every time               My mother succumbed to
 can be anyone, a sister, mother,         I look at him I see strength and        cancer when I was 12. My father
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                             Page 21

 had a heavy load to carry, left with   very well, but at age 50 he went to            He told me, “Mommy, I’m
 four little girls, age six months to   a literacy class so that he could at   cooking for you and Daddy and
 12 years old. He went through a        least sign his name and recognize      Aslisha.” He told me he could do
 rough patch and started drinking.      words. At 81, he was still quite       it and that he’s a big boy now.
 But through that drinking haze,        independent, so when an infection              “How come if you’re
 he decided to take us to a safe        ravaged his body and made him          hungry, you didn’t ask me to
 place with his mother. He knew he      dependent on others, it broke my       cook?” I asked.
 couldn’t care for us at that time.     heart. He looked so small lying                “You looked tired. I
 I’ll never forget the love he gave     in that hospital bed. He couldn’t      wanted to do it.”
 us. He kept us out of harm’s way       talk because of the tracheotomy. I             I watched him cook burnt
 by taking us to his mother until he    could see pleading in his eyes, and    eggs and burnt toast.
 could be a better father. He didn’t    I knew it was time to be his giant.            “Mommy, this may not
 abandon us; he made sure we                                                   look good,” he said afterwards,
 were provided for always, and he                My Son, My Love               “but I love you. I hope you still
 wanted us to be happy.                             By Nou Yang                love me, too.”
          I will never forget the day           My son is C.J., age 4. My              One day when I was
 he came to my grandmother’s            son has a heart. My son has beliefs.   watching T.V. he came to me and
 house and sat us down to tell us he            I wake up in the morning       started talking about his dreams,
 had met someone who made him           sometimes seeing my son by my          how he wanted to go to school and
 happy. He asked us if we would         bed watching me sleep. He puts me      make lots of money and buy lots
 mind if he got married again. He       to sleep, kissing me good-night,       of toys for his sister and how he
 respected us and loved us enough       and kisses me in the morning. He       wanted to be a hard worker like
 to ask our opinion. My father          has such a great big heart for his     his daddy.
 remarried, and we added seven          mommy, showing so much love                    As you can see, I never felt
 more children to the family.           from the day he was born until this    so much love in my life. My son is
          My stepmother also            day.                                   one I can’t replace. He will fulfill
 succumbed to cancer, and he was                One morning I woke up          his dreams. He keeps me going
 widowed once more.                     hearing some noise in the kitchen. I   and makes me want to become
          I have always looked to       got up and discovered C.J. trying to   who I want to be.
 my father as a quiet giant, even at    cook breakfast.
 a young age. He has always shown               I asked him, “Baby, what          A Profile Written for a King
 a quiet, unassuming strength.          are you doing?”                                By Kathleen Brown
 Now, when he lost another wife,                                                       He’s a man in my eyes and
 he showed this strength even                                                  a king in my heart.
 more. My father never separated                                                       Evans
 us, never left us, quietly supported                                          Brown is the
 us in all our endeavors, and was                                              oldest of eight
 my source of strength when I was                                              children, and
 diagnosed with breast cancer.                                                 they grew up
          My quiet giant has                                                   very poor.
 never shown much emotion, but                                                 Being the
 you knew he loved you by his                                                  oldest, Evans
 unspoken gestures. I had to have                                              always had
 surgery and didn’t expect him to                                              to protect the
 be at the hospital, but I looked at                                           house and the
 the door, and there he was, quietly                                           family.
 filling the room with his love.                                                       Evans is very gifted in
          My father has always                                                 computers. He was the only man
 been very independent. He never                                               to attend the Jones Cosmopolitan
 really learned to read or write                                               School and ranked the highest in
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 22

 his class. Evans also worked in the    Hampton, Virginia, as he
 hospital, in fast food, and on the     has on many occasions.
 railroad.                              When my sons were
          I praise my father for the    young, we spent a lot of
 love he gives to me! He never          time driving to Chicago,
 had anything, and yet he gave and      visiting family during the
 still gives me the world. Through      holidays. This became a
 all the problems with my mom           yearly event, and every
 and alcohol, my father never left      year we looked forward
 my side. As I grew from a child        doing it.
 to a teen to a woman, no matter                 At 16, when
 my mistake, my dad was the only        Fred was in high school,
 one who never lost sight that I’m      he flew to Sacramento,
 a growing person who will make         California, to attend a 4-day youth
 mistakes. My father believes in        leadership conference with a group
 anything I do, no matter what,         from the Boys and Girls club of
 right or wrong, but he expresses       Dane County. That same year,
 his opinion if it’s wrong.             Frederick’s travels landed him in
          My father tells me I’m        Atlanta, Georgia for a historically     eagles. In New Zealand, Auckland
 Daddy’s little princess, which         Black college tour.                     is known as the City of Sails.
 means I’m the next to queen.                    The next year, he went to      He took absolutely breathtaking
          I am woman, hear my roar.     Orlando, Florida. He achieved           pictures there.
 Thanks, Dad!                           finalist status with four other West            In 2005, I was on vacation,
                                        High School students for the annual     en-route to the Bahamas, by way
     Son Frederick Really Gets          100 Black Men Conference -              of Orlando, Florida. Fred was on
             Around                     African American Challenge Bowl.        spring break with friends at the
                                        During this exciting four-day trip,     same time and happened to be
                                        Frederick did what he loves most        in Orlando at the same time! To
                                        - exposing himself to people and        make it one better, his condo and
                                        to different cultural experiences.      my hotel were only 10 minutes
                                        He was privileged to meet the           apart. We couldn’t have paid a
                                        honorable Maynard Jackson, the          vacation planner to coordinate
                                        first African American mayor of a       that intersection in vacations, he
                                        major US city.                          coming from Hampton, Virginia,
                                                 In 2001, at the age of         and me from Wisconsin. He came
                                        18, Frederick was off to New            to my hotel, and we enjoyed a nice
                                        Zealand and Australia for two           dinner together in Orlando before
                                        weeks. Frederick traveled with a        going on our ways to finish our
                                        delegation of 30 students selected      vacations.
           By Mary Wells                to represent Wisconsin as youth                 Currently, Frederick is in
         My son Frederick has           ambassadors. While in Australia,        Hampton, Virginia working and
 grown up to be a traveling man.        he enjoyed many Australian foods        also taking his last few credits for
 Fred has traveled to more places in    and cultural activities. They visited   graduation. His love of traveling
 his 23 years than I have in my life.   Bundaberg, Moreton Island,              has a direct correlation in his
 I don’t think he will be stopping      and Sydney, where he climbed            current job where he installs Direct
 anytime soon. Although Frederick       the Sydney Harbor Bridge and            TV. Fred purchased a GPS system,
 enjoys flying, he has also traveled    visited the Sydney aquarium, went       because the majority of the houses
 by Greyhound bus, caught the           horseback riding on the white           where he installs are in new
 Amtrak train, and isn’t afraid         sandy beaches, went snorkeling,         developments, and the addresses
 to drive the 16 ½ hours from           and held koala bears and bald           are not yet listed on regular maps.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                    Page 23

                      Love from Madison                                             From Martin Luther King’s
                        A Travel Report by Mary Wells                                 “Where Do We Go from
          I will always treasure my      MacKay! I feel honored that Emily           Here?” Speech of 1967
 visit this spring to Columbus,          would even share these books with           Submitted By Mary Wells
 Ohio to visit my granddaughter,         my Gabrielle.
 Gabrielle. It will definitely go into            Gabrielle enjoyed video                   I must confess, my friends,
 our book of                                                     messages         the road ahead will not always be
 memories.                                                       from all of      smooth. . . .Our dreams will sometimes
 As I so                                                         her family,      be shattered and our ethereal hopes
 patiently                                                       her previous     blasted. . . . Difficult and painful as
 waited                                                          school mates,    it is, we must walk on in the days
 on March                                                        and teacher.     ahead with an audacious faith in the
 29th in the                                                     She felt so      future. And as we continue our charted
 hotel room,                                                     special.         course, we may gain consolation in the
 Gabrielle                                                                 If     words so nobly left by that great black
 finally                                                         that wasn’t      bard who was also a great freedom
 knocked on                                                      enough,          fighter of yesterday, James Weldon
 the door.                                                       Emily also       Johnson:
 Once she                                                        purchased
 arrived, and                                                    two matching      Stony the road we trod,
 after we                                                        Bucky             Bitter the chastening rod
 received                                                        Badger tee-       Felt in the days
 the best                                                        shirts and        When hope unborn had died.
 hugs in the                                                     a little treat
 world, we                                                       for Gabby’s       Yet with a steady beat,
 FINALLY                                                         classmates.       Have not our weary feet
 had our long                                                   We took those      Come to the place
 awaited Christmas,                                   to Gabrielle’s classroom     For which our fathers sighed?
 adding another piece                                 the next day, Friday,
 to my Christmas                                      March 30, 2007.              We have come over the way
 Mosaic! She opened                                           After school,        That with tears hath been watered.
 gift after gift, and was                             we visited the               We have come treading our paths
 very appreciative of                                 Highlights Magazine          Through the blood of the
 each and every one she received.        offices. Highlights Magazine was                 slaughtered,
 Believe me, she felt love Madison       one of my son Douglas’ favorite
 Style! I told her about each gift       magazines as a child, and he              Out from the gloomy past,
 as she opened it, and she knew          literally taught Gabrielle how to         Till now we stand at last
 the unique meaning behind every         read with this great magazine.            Where the bright gleam
 gift. She was pleased that each         Once at the offices of Highlights,        Of our bright star is cast.
 gift came from an assortment of         Gabrielle could hardly wait to sit
 friends and family that love and        down in the lobby area to find the       Let this affirmation be our ringing
 miss her very much.                     hidden pictures, and read me all the     cry. It will give us the courage to face
          Gabrielle also had special     jokes.                                   the uncertainties of the future. It will
 gifts from Emily: two children’s                 I could go on, and on about     give our tired feet new strength as we
 books. These were no ordinary           my visit, but I wanted to thank          continue our forward stride toward the
 books, mind you; these special          Emily for helping Gabrielle feel         city of freedom.
 books belonged to Emily’s late          “Love from Madison.”
 friend and colleague, African-
 American Studies Professor Nellie
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                         Page 24

     Opening Scene from Chicago Christmas Carol
                         An Adaptation by Kathleen Brown
 Narrator: The story takes place                                            Cornbread:
 on the Westside of Chicago, on the     Big Dee: That means it always       You calling
 corner of Madison and Chicago          comes on time, so why can’t you     Christmas a
 Avenue at Brown’s Flea Market.         two be on time?                     sham?
 This store sells everything and
 also cashes checks. The area of        Cornbread: Well . . .               Lil Mike:
 the store is right in the middle of                                        More like
 gangs, crack heads, drug dealers,      Big Dee: Whatever! Get to work,     his rates.
 and prostitutes. Big Dee often         and put up this chart of my new
 gets bad headaches, which make         special Christmas rates.            Big Dee: What?
 him think back to the day his wife
 and also partner got shot over         Cornbread: These rates ain’t        Lil Mike: Nothing.
 fifty cents. It’s Christmas Eve, and   special. They’re more than usual.
 Big Dee is in the office asleep.                                           Cornbread: You’re supposed to
 He is awakened by the sound of         Big Dee: I know. Merry              be cheerful, giving, and merry.
 his two nephews’ voices, as Corn       Christmas.
 Bread and Lil Mike walk in fifteen                                         Big Dee: Do merry pay your
 minutes late.                          Lil Mike: Xmas is about giving.     bills? Is Christmas your landlord?

 Cornbread: I hope because of           Big Dee: I am giving! Giving you    Cornbread: What?
 Christmas, Big Dee won’t be mad        ten seconds to put up this sign.
 because we’re late.                                                        Big Dee: Exactly!
                                        Lil Mike: Cheapskate!
 Lil Mike: Man, he’s always mad,                                            Lil Mike: He’s trippin’
 late or not.                           Big Dee: What?
                                                                            Big Dee: What?
 Big Dee: Well, well, well.             Lil Mike: Nothing.
                                                                            Lil Mike: Nothing.
 Cornbread: Merry Christmas,            Cornbread: I love Christmas.
 Uncle. Sorry we’re so late to                                              Big Dee: Get to work!
 work.                                  Big Dee: Humbug!

 Big Dee: Let me ask you all a          Cornbread: You calling Christmas
 question.                              a humbug?

 Lil Mike: Aw, Man.                     Big Dee:
                                        Fool!
 Big Dee: Is Christmas ever late?       Humbug
                                        is not like
 Cornbread: What?                       a roach. It
                                        is a word
 Lil Mike: Here we go again!            that means
                                        fraud or
 Big Dee: Christmas falls on the        sham.
 same date of every year, right?

 Both: Yeah!
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 25


                      Odyssey Students at the Overture
    The Night at the Symphony            enter and some people asked if they    have seemed a little odd, I had a
      By Lakeitha Sanyang                could help. We said yes and told       wonderful time and my mom also
                                         them what we were there for. They      had a great time. If I would have
          I would like to thank          looked at us in surprise, as if they   the chance to go again, it would be
 Carroll and Bob Heideman, the           had never seen black people attend     a great pleasure.
                          people who     these kinds of events.
                          donated the             Well, when we went in         Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
                          tickets for    to take our seat, immediately we       Review by Derrick Washington
                          the Madison    were being watched with these
                          Symphony       surprised faces, wondering all         Thanks to Abigail Loomis for
                          concert        kinds of thoughts in their heads.      donating tickets to the Wisconsin
                          at the         While we were sitting there waiting    Chamber
                          Overture       for the next part of the symphony      Orchestra
                          Hall on        to start, I looked around in my        concert on
                          April 22,      surroundings to see if there were      Friday, April
                          2007. It was   other African Americans there, and     27, 2007, at
                          a wonderful    sure enough there weren’t any but      the Overture
                          showing        me and my mom. What I noticed          Center.
 with very good melodies of              was a whole lot of white people,       This was an
 different kinds on instruments. I       most of them old aged people, from     experience I
 especially enjoyed the pianist and      nursing homes probably some from       won’t soon
 the violins.                            hospice and other facilities. But      forget. If
          Classical music is             even though we were the only two       hop hip had
 wonderful, and when listening to        blacks there, three ladies made us     a wife, it would be the Orchestra.
 the music you have to really be         feel welcomed.                                 Throughout the
 at point with it. You have to tune               Although being the only       performance all I kept thinking
 yourself in, feel the waves from        two African Americans there may        was how much the Orchestra
 the sounds of the instruments,                                                    reminded me of science, and
 and notice how wonderful it                                                       how hip hop reminds me of
 sounds. For me this music was                                                     a borough in the Bronx with
 relaxing and comforting. It was                                                   graffiti on the bricks of a
 like a high that put you in the                                                   brownstone.
 clouds, with you just floating                                                         All in all there were so
 in a cool, refreshing breeze.                                                     many instruments going at
 I was at peace, and nothing                                                       once, at various pitches and
 else mattered that day. Despite                                                   tones, that I could literally
 all that I gone through before                                                    feel the synapses charging and
 going to the symphony, I put                                                      shooting signals to each other
 all that behind me. I felt new                                                    in my brain. Our school system
 and refreshed.                                                                    doesn’t see the importance in
          I took my mom along                                                      music. Yeah, right!
 with me. Knowing my mother,                                                            I am eternally grateful
 I knew she could use some                                                         for the gift of experience. So
 peace too. She really enjoyed                                                     if Orchestra and hip hop are
 the symphony as well.                                                             married, I can’t wait to meet the
          As my mother and I                                                       baby, or have I?
 entered the Overture Center,
 we went to the door we had to
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                   Page 26

 Getting to Know You: A Volunteer’s Profiles of Odyssey Children
   During second semester, UW student Erica Plybeah volunteered to spend her Wednesday nights helping out
    with the Odyssey childcare and getting to know the children. What follows is a profile of Erica and her
                                         comments about the children.

         My name is Erica Plybeah.        two months, I have been working
 I am a freshman at the University        with the children of the adults in
 of Wisconsin-Madison where my            Odyssey to construct articles for
 major is Pre-pharmacy. A few             the Oracle Junior. What I have
 of my aspirations include being          encountered during the course
 accepted into the UW-Madison             of my participation has been
 School of Pharmacy (which I              phenomenal. I have begun to look
 will be applying to in December          at children from a new perspective.
 2007), graduating with a Doctor of       They were amazing and so much
 Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D), and           fun to work with.
 becoming a licensed pharmacist. I
 love to dance and am also aspiring               I would love to work with
 to obtain a dance certificate from       the Odyssey program again next
 the UW-School of Dance. I am             year, and hopefully I can bring
 originally from Greenwood,               friends to help out as well. Thanks
                                                                                   can probably conclude this by
 Mississippi. My mother is Annie          to everyone for allowing me to be a
                                                                                   observing how Celina is always on
 Steele, and she is a fifth-grade         part of this marvelous journey.
                                                                                   her side. Carol is happy that her
 elementary school teacher. It was        Jesse:                                   mother has decided to come back
 my mother and God that got to             Jesse is such a sweetheart. He is       to school to become a teacher. She
 where I am today.                        very respectful to everyone. He          is so excited and she hopes that
                                          always seems like a happy little         her mother works at her school.
         I am a member of Women           boy. Jesse is full of conversation,
 in Science and Engineering               and he loves to debate. You              Tashanna:
 (WISE), where I was introduced to        would never know that you were           Tashanna grasps attention as soon
 the Odyssey program when Emily           conversing with a seven-year-old!        as she walks in anyone’s presence.
 Auerbach was invited to give a           He likes to watch action movies          It is evident that she is one of
 talk about it. I wanted to help out      and play video games. He loves           the most intelligent, outspoken
 because the program seemed as if         school, and he also likes to do flips.   four-year-olds around. Tashanna
 it was an extraordinary experience       He’s determined to be unique. He         loves school. She always says
 to be a part of, and it definitely has   doesn’t want to be like anyone else      that math is her favorite subject
 been. Over the course of the last        or do something that someone else        and that she needs to get home to
                                          is doing. He just wants to be Jesse!     finish the math homework. She
                                                                                   always states that she is flooded
                                          Carol:                                   with homework. She also likes
                                          Carol is a little artist. She loves      Odyssey, and she’s glad that her
                                          to color and draw. She does both         mother came here. Her mother is
                                          of these things very, very well.         accompanied by her uncle, and her
                                          Carol is very outspoken and is           grandmother came to Odyssey last
                                          always one of the first to express       year.
                                          her ideas. She is always open to
                                          peace and compromise. Usually            Keishawn:
                                          busy drawing or coloring, Carol is       Keishawn is a very sweet, cute
                                          never too busy to watch over her         little boy. He seldom ever has
                                          little sister Celina. Carol is a great   a chance to play because he is
                                          role model for her little sister. One    always protecting his little sister,
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                                     Page 27

                                       Kazaray                                  A: I like to play with the toys and
                                       Kazaray is a very witty little two       color.
                                       year old. She is an amazingly            Q: Oh, what else do you like to do?
                                       adorable little girl with the cutest     A: I like to play with my sister and
                                       little piercing voice. She is very       watch movies.
                                       inquisitive, and she will profess her    Q: Are the teachers nice?
                                       knowledge on any given subject.          A: Yes.
                                       When she sees other children             Q: Oh, that’s good. Thank you.
                                       playing, she can’t help but to ask,
                                       “Can I play?” or to say, “I want
 Kazaray. He won’t allow anyone        to play.” She seems to get bored             Davion’s Day at the
 to push her around or take her        by one game very quickly, so then          Monster Truck Nationals
 toys. He likes to go to the gym to    she’ll say “I don’t wanna play
 work out, and he likes to watch       anymore.” The she runs away to
                                                                                       A Review by
 movies. He understands the            find more excitement.                       Davion Washington,
 mission of the Odyssey program
 very well and is happy that his                                                      Derrick’s Son
                                       Celina
 mother is here.                       Celina is a very mature two year                    My favorite part was the dirt
                                       old. She is always hanging around        bikes. The blue one did a cool back
 Marlina:                              her older Caroline and imitating the
 Marlina is one of the quietest                                                 flip. I liked it when the truck called the
                                       great things that she does. It takes     Raminator flipped over. I went with my
 children here, but she is very        Celina a while to warm up to the
 sweet. She likes do everthing from                                             dad and my big brother D.J. My sister
                                       children, but when she does, she         Dashai was home in Chicago, and my
 drawing and coloring to cooking       likes to play everything possible.
 in the kitchen. She never disagrees                                            oldest sister Absjah was at home in
                                       She loves to play in the kitchen,        Madison. They don’t like monster
 with anyone and is always willing     and she is always a good helper
 to compromise. She respects the                                                trucks. My mom was at work, I think. I
                                       when it is time to clean up.             liked the R.C.s (radio controlled cars)
 teachers and is very obedient.
                                                                                too because one did a back flip and
                                       Chris                                    one crashed.
 The Babies:                           Chris is a very quiet, adorable two
 Julian                                                                                    I ate a hot dog and sunflower
                                       year old. He doesn’t like to play        seeds there. My dad took his friends
 Julian is two years old. Although     with many people except for his
 he never says much, anyone would                                               who were in wheelchairs, and one
                                       sister Tashanna. He always listens       guy’s name was Chad. My dad’s other
 be able to tell that he is a very     to what his sister tells him to do, as
 sweet little boy. He never disobeys                                            friend was J.C.
                                       well as what the teachers tell him.                 We all had a lot of fun. I can’t
 what the teachers say, and he is
 always looking for someone to                                                  wait to go next year.
 play with. When he doesn’t find       An Interview: Erica Talks to
 anyone, he doesn’t whine or shed      Carol
 a tear: he just plays by himself!     Q: What’s your name?
                                       A: Carol.
                                       Q: What’s your mom’s name?
                                       A: Sonia.
                                       Q: Why is your mom here?
                                       A: Because she wants to be a
                                       teacher and she wants to learn how
                                       to be a good teacher.
                                       Q. Oh. Do you like coming here?
                                       A: Yes.
                                       Q: What do you like to do here?
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 28

                                   Thoughts on Going Forward
    Upward Bound Creed from             be my pledge to continuously            learned, I have grown, and I have
        Marquette University            further my education. In my             writhed back and forth, side to
 Submitted by Corinthians Reece         life, in my work as a barber and        side, like waves on the ocean,
          I am now a part of the        community activist, all I do is         from growing pains.
 fellowship of the Upward Bound.        speak of my ideals and how I                     Before this class I didn’t
 I have the Power of Knowledge.         view the world—the way things           consider myself a reader, and now
 The die has been cast. We have         are, and the way things could be,       I can’t wait to get my hands on the
 stepped over the line. We have         or one might say should be. Here        next book. I carry the dictionary
 made our decision. We will go to       in the Odyssey Project we got a         we received on the first day of
 college and we will not look back,     chance to meet great people from        class everywhere I go.
 let up, slow down, or back off.        across the world and across time.                There is no word created
          Our past is our foundation,   Through Shakespeare and Lorraine        yet for the process that began the
 my present makes sense, my             Hansberry, Baron Kelly taught us        day I was accepted as a student
 future is secure. We are finished      how to use our outside voice inside.    in Odyssey. Someday like google
 and done with low living, sight        Emily Dickinson showed us that          there will be a new word added to
 walking, small planning, colorless     sometimes it’s hard to name your        our vocabulary that can describe
 dreams, tamed vision, mundane          work because it’s so deep. Gandhi       the search engine that Emily and
 conversation, cheap living, and        showed us that true strength comes      Gene and Jean and Craig and
 hindered goals. We are upward          from within.                            Marshall, Diane, and my most
 bound and a college diploma is                  Myself and others here         highly regarded classmates have
 our goal.                              may have never had the courage          helped me become.
          My face is set, my gait is    that we now possess if not for                   Search Engine. Yes. That
 fast, my goal is a college degree,     this class. We might have never         is what I said. I have become a
 my road is narrow, my way is           had the ability we now command.         search engine, but from a different
 high and rough, my companions          We now have the courage to put          perspective. I am now the “little
 are few, my mission is clear. We       our thoughts on paper for others        engine that could” search for
 cannot be bought, compromised,         to scrutinize if they see fit to do     knowledge, truth, and wisdom.
 detoured, lured away, turned back,     so, and the ability to collect our      And I endeavor to become a
 deluded, delayed, or defeated. We      emotions, feelings, thoughts, and       proficient search engine, objective,
 are now among the Upward Bound         express them knowing we are in          critical, and hungry for more.
 and our goal is a college degree.      great company—Socrates and Jane         Thanks to this Odyssey with these
           We will not flinch in        Austen, just to name a few.             Titans, I too have found my task:
 the face of sacrifice, hesitate in              I remember the famous          To Learn and Be Free.
 the presence of the adversary,         words in The Matrix. Morpheus
 ponder at the pool of popularity,      said, “It is not because of the path
 or meander in the maze of              that lies before me, but because
 mediocrity. We won’t give up, shut     of the path that lies behind me.”
 up, let up until we have stayed        Those words are so true since we
 up, stored up, studied up, paid up     know not what the future holds in
 for the cause of our education.        store, but the past holds the keys to
 Now we are Upward bound, and a         the present.
 College degree is our goal.

                                                 Search Engines
       The Bow of the Present                  By Molinda Henry
      By Derrick Washington                   I am traveling on this
         If I am to fully contribute    Odyssey, and every day since
 to the Odyssey Program, it will        embarking I have changed. I have
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                              Page 29




   Writer Spotlight: Robert Frost (1874-1963)
                                                          eleven, he was
                                                          unable to find
                                                                                 The Road Not
                                                          himself until             Taken
                                                          he was nearly
                                                          forty years old.    Two roads diverged in a yellow
                                                          Throughout          wood,
                                                          his life, he        And sorry I could not travel
                                                          suffered bouts      both
                                                          of depression,      And be one traveler, long I
                                                          inner               stood
                                                          turbulence, and     And looked down one as far as
                                                          rage, which         I could
                                                          resulted in         To where it bent in the
                                                          occasional          undergrowth;
                                                          cruelty to
                                                          his wife and        Then took the other, as just as
                                                          family. His first   fair,
                                                          child died at       And having perhaps the better
                                                          the age of four.    claim,
                                                          His sister spent    Because it was grassy and
                                                          her final years     wanted wear;
                                                          in a mental         Though as for that the passing
                                                          institution.        there
                                                          Frost’s             Had worn them really about the
    Robert Frost became                                   daughter died       same,
immensely popular for writing        of tuberculosis in her twenties, and
soothing poems about New             a son committed suicide. Frost and       And both that morning equally
England’s snowy landscapes,          his wife had constant arguments.         lay
rugged farmers, and deep             Part of Frost’s genius was his           In leaves no step had trodden
woods. Even though he was            ability to transform his bitter          black.
a modern poet, he chose to           personal experiences into life-          Oh, I kept the first for another
write in old-fashioned poetic        affirming works, which for all their     day!
forms, with pleasing rhythms         positive strength do not ignore the      Yet knowing how way leads on
and rhymes. Asked why, Frost         darkness at their core.                  to way,
commented that free verse was           During his lifetime Frost             I doubted if I should ever come
like playing tennis without a net.   was honored with four                    back.
Even though Frost’s poems seem       Pulitzer prizes, and he was
comforting and homey, with           commissioned to read a poem              I shall be telling this with a sigh
peaceful rural images from an        for the inauguration of John F.          Somewhere ages and ages
earlier time, Frost was anything     Kennedy. Frost lived until he            hence:
but simple, and his poems            was nearly ninety, continuing            Two roads diverged in a wood,
capture the confusing and painful    to write poetry. At the time of          and I—
divisions of modern life.            his death, Frost was the most            I took the one less traveled by,
   Frost knew many                   celebrated poet of the twentieth         And that has made all the
disappointments in his personal      century.                                 difference.
life. Fatherless at the age of        
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                    Page 30


  ODYSSEY SONNET COMPETITION WINNERS
          Six judges split three/three on whether to award first prize to “Wisdom” or “Cancer,”
     prompting Odyssey Project Director Emily Auerbach to call it even rather than to cast a
   deciding vote. Emily comments, “My favorite score has always been a tie.” Judges pointed
      to the smooth meter and Elizabethan language of “Wisdom” and to the poetic imagery
   and intricate quatrains of “Cancer.” Congratulations, Molinda and Oroki, for winning $75
    Barnes and Noble cards! Lily Komino will receive a $50 B&N gift card for her moving,
 straightforward sonnet “The Wings of Education.” Third prize of a $25 B&N gift card goes to
 Kathleen Brown for submitting three poems (they weren’t sonnets but were beautiful!) as well
                               as her play “Chicago Christmas Carol.”
 Wisdom
 By Molinda Henry

 You slip away so mellow and genteel.
 Can I ever find you? Sweet chamomile.
 Your golden petals stand the test of time.
 Your roots are veiled from sight; this is a crime.
 I’m always here to state Your Majesty.
 If only you, Your Grace, will not leave me.
 I adore you, on a plinth high you sit.
 Shall some only take you in bit by bit?
 You pour on them your splendor and your light,
 They gnash their teeth, and then their lips they bite.
 Because you are so strong and land on cue,
 Many remain “blissful” and run from you.
 But I can see you plain and in my sight.
 And in your healing presence I delight.
                                                          Cancer
                                                          By Oroki Rice

                                                          This sonnet is dedicated to my cousin Val,
                                                          who is struggling with that mean enemy, cancer.

                                                          Will you still love my frail body when I
                                                          can no longer adorn it in clothes so
                                                          fine? My pale eyes sunk in, my lips thus dry.
                                                          The king of death passed my way to blow
                                                          a bitter kiss, its toll my life. I do
                                                          submit my bid to darkness’ door. Bones are
                                                          brittle, my blood, and hair so thin. Oh, who
                                                          dare love me in this state? Is love gone far,
                                                          or are you dear? As I endure these days,
                                                          will you be near? My body wracked with pain.
                                                          Poison eats my carcass, my mind gone crazed.
                                                          Abyss I leave, eternity I gain.
                                                          This body I shed, shift into the light.
                                                          Please remember me as I move from sight.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                Page 31

 The Wings of Education
 By Lily Komino

 Like an eagle teaching its nestling to fly,
 I reached for my first book from my mother,
 to learn how to spread my wings of knowledge,
 and fly sky high to the freedom of mind.
 By sixth grade my mother’s odyssey towards
 education
 was derailed by traditional marriage.
 The pain of being denied the opportunity of
 education
 became an eye opener
 towards enforcing education upon her children
 by eliminating the mentality
 of enlightening only male children.
 And now I’m coming to my senses
 that education for me is the key
 to explore the world and fit in.                                     Design
                                                             A Sonnet by Robert Frost
         To make an end is to
          make a beginning.                      I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
                                                 On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
 The end is where we start from. . . .           Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
 We shall not cease from exploration             Assorted characters of death and blight
                                                 Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
   And the end of all our exploring              Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth--
  Will be to arrive where we started             A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
                                                 And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
        And know the place for
             the first time.                     What had that flower to do with being white,
                                                 The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
                                                 What brought the kindred spider to that height,
     --T.S.Eliot, Four Quartets, 1943            Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
                                                 What but design of darkness to appall?--
                                                 If design govern in a thing so small.
Oracle Vol 3, No. 16 May 2, 2007                                                                  Page 32

 The Blue Man Group Rocks Our World:                                      Thanks to Kegan
   A Visual Treat for Everyone By Oroki Rice, incorporating
         the responses of Mary Wells and Anne Meyer                         Dear Kegan,
                                                                            On behalf of our entire
          The three                                                         class, let me thank you
 of us attended                                                             wholeheartedly for de-
 the Blue Man                                                               signing our Odyssey Ora-
 Group: How to
                                                                            cles this year. You have
 be a Megastar
 performance on                                                             transformed them into
 Tuesday, April                                                             works of art and special
 10 at the Kohl                                                             keepsakes. We look for-
 Center. As a                                                               ward to having a party
 result of this                                                             at my house for you on
 concert we are
                                                                            Sunday, May 20, at
 now equipped in
 the art not only of being rock stars a Rock Star on huge screens for the 5 PM to celebrate your
 but mega rock stars.                 mute Blue Men. They ridiculously      graduation from MATC
          The Blue Man group is       performed these laughable tasks       with an Associates
 comprised of three weird looking, with steady audience participation. Degree, your acceptance
 painted-blue-faced, nondescript-     Directions like Rule #7: Pumping      as a transfer student to
 clothing-wearing humans who          hands into the air, raising the roof.
                                                                            UW-Madison, your
 play percussion instruments          There was even Rule # 78, where
 of a strange variety. Pipes, an      they left the stage and returned for  Business Forum Scholar-
 upturned piano, air poles and tubes the contrived fake ending.             ship, and your amazing
 emanated musical tones we’d                  Words cannot do justice to    stay-up-all-night-to-
 never thought possible. Behind       describe the memorable experience get-it-done work on the
 them was a traditional eight piece   of our Blue Man encounter. We’d       Oracle and our yearbook.
 rock band that drove shock waves recommend any opportunity to go
                                                                            Odyssey students from all
 throughout the entire building.      see them for yourself. Until then,
          Throughout the interactive Rule # 56: Raise your hands in the     four years will be invited,
 performance were boldly              air, and wave them like you just      plus your family, friends,
 displayed, randomly numbered         don’t care!                           and teachers.
 comical instructions on How to Be                                          Congratulations!
                                                                            Emily

				
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