Montclair State University CUPSI 2014 “Crayola”

“Crayola” by: Audrey Dingler, Adam Melchor, and Sherlita McCann

It was the first day of kindergarden class and no one knew we were supposed to raise our hands to be called on so

We sat criss-cross apple sauce on the rug shoutin out questions

When did you meet racism?

Mrs. Cohen handed everybody a connect-the-dots coloring assignment

It was a picture we traced a week ago

And now she wanted us to color it in

Sherlita traced her family with black crayon

But adam said her family would blend right in

Then she was about to color their skins brown, like dirt

Not black

That’s when I know that adam just don’t know his colors

It’s not fair

Mrs. Cohen always talks to me after naptime

She told daddy I don’t know my colors

But that’s because daddy’s not any of the colors in the box

He’s not red, he’s not green, so I colored him brown,

But Sherlita used all the brown in the box and now there’s not any crayola crayons left

Mommy says that she’s black

Why won’t sherlita just use black?

Am I supposed to raise my hand in here?

Oh, no, I better not

Sherlita will talk too much and my mom says that adam is wild

Hey…how come adam is using the brown crayon?

We’re not brown…we’re white!
Just not as white as the crayons in the box

He SHOULD be using peach

I know! I’ll just tell Mrs. Cohen that he is using the wrong color

Psst! Hey Adam! What color are you using? Are you using brown?

Sherlita won’t let me use any of the other colors

You’re using brown?

We met our friend racism at the crayola box

Did you find your color for your family portrait?

I did! I did! I did!

Racism taught me that Crayola crayons are like people wearing clothes

It’s like we all had different things under our paper-wrapped skeletons

Said black and white were never to be mixed,

And the darker the crayon the messier it got

Taught me that black and brown were the same,

Tuaght me to associate brown with dirt,

There is no mistake in teaching a child about race

The ignorance is in teaching a child

That one color is better than the other

A yale university case study shows that

The scent of a crayola crayon is one of the most recognizable scents for adults

We hold onto everything we learn as children

That everything you taught me about color is a lie

I was too little to know any better,

So I believed you

But my children will know otherwise

My children will never meet racism like this

When I teach them about color association they will not think

One color is superior to the next

When my children open up a fresh box of crayola crayons,

They will all smell the same

And the white will be no taller than the browns

The color peach will be just as beautiful as the mahogany branches that cradle it

My mommy taught me to keep my crayons inside the box

Maybe, we should keep racism there too


“From the perspective of Chanukah” by Eric Sirota

I am the American dream personified

The essence of a self-made man

Most of you think I am the most important Jewish holiday

I am not even in the bible,

Yet look at me along side these others

No one has heard of

Schimni atzeret, tubishvat, simchat torah

When was the last time you saw a Yom Kippur hallmark card?

Yom kippur is about repentance and fasting

Call it a high holiday if you want, but guilt and hunger don’t sell

I sell

I started from the bottom, Drake started a child star

I started with nothing, yet here I am

Eight days of X Box games, of slow dancing with Geoffrey the Toys R us giraffe,

I am so popular that middle-America wal-marts say happy holidays on Christmas

Because of me

While I ride the season like a racehorse

Yelling “location, location, location”

As rosh Hashanah looks on longingly from autumn

Sure, if I was a better man I might share the limelight with these holier days devoted to family and forgiveness

But this is capitalism

My value is in your hands

And every year you choose me

Against all odds

I’m not some feel-good fourth of july “Hey, we’re free from England, we don’t have to wear those fuckin wigs anymore”

My tale is one of militant Hebrews gaining leverage to better oppressed moderate jews

But still, everyone loves me

I’ve got lunchboxes and shit

And I do it on my own

I don’t need that pansy ass thanksgiving

Mc-graw hill textbook consultants to knit a quilt from my broken glass narrative

I succeed without help, I don’t need help.

I was born on Christmas

Jesus wasn’t even born on Christmas.

So take it from me, jewish high holidays with your three hour liturgies and introspective world peace bullshit

What was your miracle, pesach? swarms of locusts? Stone tablets? I’m sure those just fly off the shelf

Oil was my miracle

That’s that shit we got to war for

Halliburton doesn’t hire mercenaries to capture unleavened bread

Your archaic rituals are fossils

I am the petroleum meniscus rising above them

Just watch my dreidil spin

Watch the winner snatch up the pot


And why shouldn’t he? He earned it.


“Pride” by Sibel Sayiner and Violet Trachtenberg

San Francisco Pride Parade 2013

After spending ten minutes watching corporate floats and cis men parade by

In their rainbow logos and paraphanalia

I’m acutely aware that everyone in the stands is white

The crowds are cheering for marriage equality,

Laughing as thought the movie for gay liberation is rolling its final credits

Crunch, crunch, crunch

The pride parade marches down market street

Verizon, Toyota, bank of the west

Let’s call it…free market street

With the floats trickling down the financial district to the tenderloin

Nike’s float asks us to #Be True

Be True to the invisible hand of capitalism

Don’t worry, that’s mother’s indentured labors stitching your flags, your t-shirts, your rainbow-colored basket ball shoes

Because look—it’s wearing a wedding band

The crowds are screaming, delighted that between Doma and Citizens United,

The 479 male-owned Fortune 500 companies can marry each other now

At the festival, San Francisco police monitor the entrance because homeless people have nothing to be proud of

This plaza, most days, is a safe place to sleep

Now, only a place to be shooed

The policemen smile, hoping maybe, if they protect enough fruits, we’ll forget about fruitvale

Hoping the many colors of pride will cover the black of Oscar Grant

Let’s take a moment to dismantle the six colors of pride

First, there’s that sunset red, the bright tint of blood when an emperor demands you give up your religion, your language, your skin, and if you do not comply we will put you in

Orange, twisting you into a criminal, stripping you of the sunlight

Yellow, like the gold they exploited from you, swallowing every dollar of

Green you ever made and called it justice

Called the blue of the freezing hands of those queer kids on the street corners justice

Witness the purple bruises of pride struggle forgetting how it shines so proudly against their white skin

There’s more to celebrate than a parade

There are voices to be heard that cannot make their way to these limousines

Queer people don’t need sponsors, don’t need spectators,

We need immigration justice, and racial justice,

We need meployment and homes

And equal access to healthcare

San Francisco Pride, with your corporate, conglomerate, co-sponsors

And policemen lining the sidwalks

Whose equality are you celebrating anyway?

let’s try to make a resolution

here i am today to give you a difficult task: make a resolution. “oh, this is so easy, i need to lose weight. i will eat more green foods,” you say. yeah, right. like you’re going to keep that. okay, maybe if green sour patch kids count as a green food you’ll keep it, but most likely, you will keep on acting like brussel sprouts never existed (they shouldn’t have).

but this year, i want to keep a resolution or two. so here are some of my new year’s resolutions:

1. do one nice thing a day–and no, i don’t mean stopping at a crosswalk. it’s not as hard as it looks, either. tell the stranger on the bus that you like her shoes (don’t do it in a creepy way though). or tell the intern she’s doing a good job. it takes a whole 30 seconds of your life to make someone feel more confident. extra points if you tell someone who wouldn’t expect it from you. recently, in the world you adults call high school (i just call it the homeland of people-who-can’t-think-of-anything-but-themselves), a, let us say more popular girl, told me she liked my dress. i honestly don’t care how popular i am and i definitely don’t want to be her friend, but it was really nice and i don’t even think she was pulling a regina george.

2. purge your house–over the span of the year, try to get rid of that super awesome hat that came from a bar mitzvah all those years ago. you say you’re holding on to it because you want to remember the event? yes, i’m sure the dusty hat that doesn’t leave its home in the back of your closet will be super important. instead, save the pictures and organize them into a scrapbook.

3. put a ring on it–this is the expression i like to use. as beyonce sings, “if you liked it, then you should’ve put a ring on it.” and then she does some fabulous dance moves. back to the lyrics. if you have a dream, don’t go around saying you have the dream, actually do it. it may take a while, but you need to start working to your goals in small steps. usually what happens along the way ends up being more important than your end goal. so make it final. actually act on your words.

4. don’t be a doormat–my very favorite actress jennifer lawrence recently said her new year’s resolution is, “to stand up for myself. it’s hard for me. nobody wants to be disliked. you always want to be polite and be nice. i tried to find a balance in saying what i mean and still being nice. i can’t do it. i have this ‘okay’ attitude and everything. i end up allowing myself to get walked over and resenting it.” maybe that’s a good resolution for all of us. voice your opinion. obviously some things are better left unsaid, but when your hairdresser asks you if you like your hair and you’re like ‘uh-huh’, i know inside your secretly like ‘oh, god, this is terrible.’ so this time, SPEAK UP! i know it’s a little scary and daunting, but in the end, you end up with an even more fabulous haircut. and what gives you better confidence than that??

5. value what you have–i am blessed with a nice home, clean clothes, and health. and sometimes i forget about that. so as the new year starts, i don’t want to only be wishing for what i want, but i want to go into the year appreciating all that i already have. so as that big ball drops in time square, let your worries drop with it. this is a new year, a blank slate, and a refresher.

did you notice what i did in this? i said these are my resolutions, but i was talking to you as if they’re yours. because i didn’t put a copyright on these, so you should use them too. make the world a better place a little bit at a time. i hope you all have a healthy, happy new year. and i hope you have some fun accessories to wear for our entrance into 2013. here’s a tip: wear the glasses, even if you look stupid. because guess what? you’ll only have this new year’s once, so you better take advantage of it!

ps–sorry if i got a little preacher-y on you. regular programming of sarcasm comes back a few days after the holidays.



so will and kate are having a baby….(and why it’s relevant to me)

DID YOU HEAR DID YOU HEAR ONE OF MY FAVORITE COUPLES EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE IS FINALLY HAVING A BABY. of course you heard, but i want you to know how much it means to me.


see? everyone is just so excited!

kate is adorable and i can’t wait for little willkate’s. they’re gonna have her gorgeous face and his…slightly balding hair. and when the first pictures come out everyone will be freaking out because OH MY GOD IT’S A BABY! even though in my opinion, all babies look the same. cute, but the same.


i want them to have a girl. do you know how well-dressed that kid would be? karl would be waiting in line to give clothes to her. even if it’s a boy he’ll still be superfashionable. i predict it will be a boy.

but i still want it to be a girl. they recently changed the laws and the first-born, boy or girl, can be king/queen. and it would be nice for a girl to inherit the throne.

i know you think it’s not relevant to me. but it is. because this kid and i? we’re gonna be friends. like bff kind of friends. like chasing ice cream trucks and building sand castles with each other kind of friends. oh, there’s an age difference you say? oh, there’s a distance problem? whatever, this has worked out before. i have a friend who lives in london and we’re supertight. for the sake of my case, we’re gonna pretend she is a princess also (because, y’know, connections and stuff).

any of you out there know will and/or kate? i didn’t think so. i don’t either, but i do know that their kid is gonna be rockin’. on a rocker, that is, but that kid will also have a cool uncle (hello, harry!) and an aunt whose name will sound cool (auntie pippa has a nice ring, right?). plus, we all know this kid will be friends with blue ivy, beyonce’s spawn.

and, duh, she’ll be a princess.

just like me.

see why we’ll be friends?



a lovely little wishlist

ok, so it’s not that little. maybe it’s a tad long. but here is what i’m lovin’ right now:

1. this necklace is adorable. end of story. kate spade has always been one of my favorite places for accessories, but i’m totally crushing on their new shop, which they call the idiom shop. i call it the shop of perfection. each item has a different little inspiring or pick-me-up message. other cute ones include a bracelet with the words ‘rain or shine’ engraved and a very colorful bracelet. you will soon learn that rainbow is my favorite color.

2. this dress is so gorgeous. i can already imagine it with tall brown boots, some big chandelier earrings, and a pretty braid. it’s such a pretty dress on it’s own, that it really doesn’t need a big parade of jewelry and accessories and perfectly blown out hair. the colors are gorgeous and would look good on every skin tone.

3. this is only one of my favorite animals combined with one of my favorite activities. HEDGEHOG MEASURING CUPS?? no way! yes way. because it’s from anthropologie, and that place is perfection. just look at his little face! i’m sure it would make any cupcake recipe taste better. now, i might be a little worried my little babies would break, but i’m sure they’re just as cute as decoration…

4. i’ve become minorly obsessed with pins lately, and this little deer is no exception. this store on etsy is one of my favorites–it also has some gorgeous clocks that i’m in love with. but these little pins would be perfect for a little gift that doesn’t break the bank. plus, there are the best adorable animals. elephants, fawns, and hedgehogs, oh my!

5. sometimes i really wish i was a cool kid with lots of parties to go to. because then i would buy this dress. it’s just so sparkly and gold. it is a perfect alternative to a lbd for your holiday parties. it would look great with some black mary janes. but really, no one would be looking at your shoes too much when you’re wearing this gorgeous dress.

6. these bow-detailed leather gloves from ted baker are pure adorable. i’ve been begging the fashion fairy for a pair of cute leather gloves and these definitely fit the bill. they would look dreamy with a long camel coat….

7. i love anything cozy and knit. this sweater is no exception. ok, so maybe it’s a little out of my price range. but this is a wishlist, right? it would be amazing with a red mini and navy booties. i do always have a fear of buying things with gems because they tend to fall off, but this sweater would be worth the countless hours of sewing. you know the people on ‘what not to wear’ who say they just want to dress comfy? i want to show them this sweater. cute and comfy? this is a surefire pick of amazingness!

8. i love this leather skater skirt. you can dress it up with pumps and a glittery shirt, or dress it down for day time with boots and a fur vest. either way, skater skirts are super flattering because they should hit you right at your teeniest part of your waist. the skirt is short and fun, but it’s not too skimpy because it’s not a tight bandage skirt.

9. this retro bag would be a great compliment to any outfit. it’s bright and fun and not too overpowering. they have it pictured with a girl who is going out, but it would be just as cute for a little weekend stroll with a patterned dress and oxfords. it’s also big enough to hold all your stuff, but it’s not bulky.

10. i smelled this perfume when a lady forced it on me, so i was expecting to hate it. i’m very picky with perfumes, but i was happy to have this one sprayed on me. it’s called ‘la petite robe noire.’ so, not only is it called the little black dress, the name is in french. can it BE more perfect? as a girl, perfume makes me feel extra pretty. it makes me hold my head a little higher and if something you want doesn’t do that, don’t buy it.

so when you’re off buying presents for everyone you loved, don’t forget about yourself. or me. i mean, if you don’t want it, i’ll always take it 😉 but also be thankful for everything you already have. it’s almost turkey day, y’all, and do you know what that means?? black friday is soon. my bags are ready…