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I was a kid from Kansas.

I was 18 years old when I flew to New York City to attended
Columbia College, the traditional undergraduate liberal arts school
of Columbia University. At that time (1962). Columbia College
was all male, but Barnard, one of the so-called "Seven Sisters"
colleges, was all female, and all you had to do to see incredibly
bright, and often also exceedingly attractive young women, was
to cross Broadway (at 116th Street) and you were there.

Langston Hughes, one of America's greatest poets, grew up mainly
in Lawrence, Kansas, only a mere 24 miles from my hometown, Topeka.
In 1921, he entered Columbia College. Hughes was black and suffered
greatly from the malevolent racial prejudice that permeated Columbia
at that time. And even though he maintained a B+ average, Hughes
dropped out after the end of his freshman year and headed to Harlem.
He became one of the brightest stars of the Harlem Renaissance, a
famous artistic community and movement whose members were, in
effect, the intelligentsia of Harlem. He finished his higher education
at the all-black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

All students had to take the Core Curriculum, regardless of their major.
Referred to as simply "The Core," it was a two-year rigorous course of
studies ranging from philosophy to literature to art to music to writing to
language. It was founded in 1919. It was Columbia College's attempt
to study the roots of western civilization and hopefully to find ways to
avoid forever the flaws thereof to prevent any more world wars. Obviously,
it did not realize its lofty goal, but it did make every Columbia College
student learned for life. No other school in what was to become known
as the Ivy League (founded in 1954) has the equivalent of "The Core."
In 2019, Columbia College celebrated its Core's centennial anniversary.

I majored in American history and found out, among many other salient
facts, that our nation was founded on the evil institution of slavery and the
ignominious policy of genocide, and yet we have the audacity to call our
country a democracy. Eight of our presidents were slave owners themselves;
Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence, and in so doing, immortalized the phrase "All men are created equal," owned over 600
slaves as he wrote and later became our third president. And today, the progeny of slavery, racism, permeates our country from the Oval Office through virtually all cities and towns of any and every size.

Living in and exploring New York City for four years makes a student a
veritable citizen of the world, even if that student chooses after graduation
to reside in some other location, as I, in fact, did--Boulder, Colorado.

Two years before I showed up, Columbia College admitted a class (1960)
that still holds the record of having the highest average SAT scores per
student of any other college or university in the annals of higher education, and I had to compete academically with many of those students.

Just yesterday, 26 March 2020, Columbia College admitted a little over 2,000 out of a total of a little over 40,000 applicants both from the USA and around the world, thereby creating an admit rate of 6.1% and making Columbia College the 3rd most selective school out of a total of 5,300 other colleges
and universities in the United States.

Lastly, Columbia University has the largest number of Nobel laureates who
graduated or taught at my alma mater (84), more Nobel prize-winners
than any of its Ivy League peers.

Thank you letting me share with you just some of what I still consider to be among the best years of my life.

And, by the way, I am still, at heart, a kid from Kansas.  

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
anon Sep 2018
long before the days of the netflix
streaming services
people either had cable
on demand
or got netflix dvds
like a mail order
redbox

but i grew up
with public television
pbs
the the public broadcast station
filled with stories
and shows
that wanted to teach
while entertaining

liberty kids taught me history
while cyberchase showed me
math can save the world
when it's important
arthur allowed children
everywhere
to see that we all are equal
and we all can be friends
because everybody that you see
has an original point of view

and i say hey!
why have we abandoned
the important lessons
for the sake of entertainment

my little brother makes jokes
about logan paul
recording
and exploiting
a suicide victim

my little brother told me
he wants to be the next
bachelor
on abc

my little brother called me
a **

when i was nine years old
like he is
i asked my mom
for extra television time
so i could tune into
fetch with ruff ruffman
at 3pm
and see science
in action

i begged for a game boy
not for madden17
i read by the light
of a little reading lamp
not with a blue glowing light
exuding from a new samsung tablet

i'm not saying technology
is bad
or that we should
regress

i'm saying our children
our siblings
and maybe even our friends
are growing up ******* up

and we can change that
but we never do

i want to tell my children
dragon tales
dragon tales
not to turn off youtube before bed
i want children now
to learn before they even
enter a classroom
but i suspect that no one
will listen
or even stop
to care
Time flies, you are lost.‬
Time flies when you are driven.‬
Time flies, regardless‬.
Life goes on
Mark Apr 2018
You will leave this place soon,
This haven of brick and asphalt
And have decided to make
One more mistake before you depart.

In the five o’clock air,
With the streetlights off duty,
The mist struggles to mingle with the
Sweat-drenched clothes that cling to
Your sweat-drenched body

You have told them
That you’re not sure if this
Means anything,
Not sure if you’re looking for
The same things
They will take it as a challenge
And mistake you for knowing what
You’re talking about.

But you are so comfortable here,
Feet on the asphalt,
Groggy with lust and
Unwilling to sleep in the beds of
Future lovers
As if four years could make anyone
Savor the aftermath of a
Future disaster

You will leave this place soon,
This place you are so comfortable with,
This place where the mistakes you make
Don't linger into the waning evenings
But crash hard against the brick
And shatter in the five o'clock air.
Julie Grenness Feb 2017
In a museum of the future scene,
A retrospective of 2017,
What will it feature to be seen?
Lands of racism and hostilities,
Political puppets, cant evergreen,
Any good news for the future scene,
How can we change 2017?
Feedback welcome.
we have a clock up on the mantel
it's right just twice each day
but, when you get to my age
i guess that it's ok
i don't need clocks to keep in time
my body works for me
i don't need hands on an old clock
to tell me when to ***

my stomach says it's time to eat
the clock says ten past eight
it's three hours off as i can see
but, still ....i think it's great
the clocks been there through seven kids
four dogs, two cats, one wife
it's no wonder that with all of that
it barely has a life

you can still hear it try ticking
if you give it a good wind
i'd hate to look inside it
for fear of what i'd find
the cuckoo clock i used to own
went cockeyed, the bird died
i couldn't get the cuckoo back
no matter how i tried

i figure now at eighty six
that time has passed me by
i used to be quite punctual
i was just that sort of guy
but, now the clock up on my mantel
it's right twice...and i see
it's ten past eight again my friends
so...it means it's time for tea.
Jack Thompson Aug 2015
Words that began from boose and tears.
All those nights ago.
I could have sworn it were years.

But then again I never was good with time.
Now that I look back on it.
I sure as hell let you waste a lot of mine.

But what I did find amidst it all.
The summation of your shatters.
A net of words that broke the fall.
Emotional solitude to gather my scatters.

I collected all your broken shards.
Held onto them for keepsake.
Now they pave the way forward.
© All Rights Reserved Jack Thompson 2015
Nairi Kalpakian Jul 2015
I’m a breaker, at best

and at my worst, I’m broken

I can still remember the pauses

after every word that was spoken

my room is dark, I don’t quite feel alone

I don’t really miss you like i thought I would

~

My hair grows long, I think I can breathe easy

Yet sometimes, when I feel you round, I get queasy

No, I wouldn’t miss you if I could

No, but you definetely should
Courtney Gaura Jan 2015
I like my world
It's different from yours
I'm sure
I see the movements of still objects
Pain is two things
How can describe that
I feel my bones rotting
Under my skin
It hurts
But that's okay
Pain is also something
Easily discarded
I like my world
It's full of cresting
Thoughts and ideas
Dreams
Of sleeping and awakened hour
of music as dark
As I sometimes feel
Or as lost
As I wonder
In my mind
A grand maze
8  dimensions
So in the end
I know my world is different
from yours
What's yours like?
Is there a radio on
With all the songs
You listen to?
Well I am breathless
As my masks
Lock in place
Maybe one day
Someone will see
The world inside of me
But for now
I like my world
It might be dark
Some days
And light
Others
It is mine
Just a look
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