Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meggie Girardi
Event Oct. 24

The theme of racism and equality in Walt Whitman’s poems From “I Sing the boy Electric” and One’s Self I Sing and the theme of music as a power of beauty in the short story “Lush Life” by McCluskey both were perfect readings for my reflection of service at Care-a-van.

Care-a-van is my weekly experience that I always look forward to as a Tuesday challenge. Last night at Care-a-van someone counted the number of people we served. More or less there were around sixty-five people who I served drinks to. Out of the sixty-five, there were two white people. I have never counted the number of friends down in the park, nor have I counted the number of races I encounter at the park. I have never put a number on the amount of sandwiches served, drinks poured, or snacks distributed. I have only noticed the numerous smiles greeting me weekly at the park. I do notice when it is the end of the month because it becomes more crowed due to diminishing food stamps. The change in weather also effects how many friends I interact with at the park. I realized after last night that putting a number on sandwiches and drink makes no difference to me. I would go to the park if there was one friend that needed something to eat.

Another way in which Care-a-van has really made me think about the underappreciated things in life is the gratitude that people show for appreciation of respect. The men and women who are homeless show genuine thanks to the Loyola students who bring more than just food and drinks but conversation and love. Many times a gentleman in the park will break out into song. It might be a religious song, it might be a made up song, it might be an oldie but no matter what the words, the real content of the song is thanksgiving. People can express their gratitude and inner emotions or thoughts through music. The music I hear in the park is like the beautiful music composed in “Lush Life.” The intimacy and energy I get from Pops and Mike when they sing is truly incredible. Music can affect a human being from deep within the soul all the way to their fingertips.

The theme of the poem Form “I Sing the Body Electric” is the equality of all things, not just external an internal body parts but equality in a general sense. Our society today can not function without diversity and the mixing of cultures and people. Society would be extremely boring and uneventful if humans were all the same race. The rhythm and rhyme of Walt Whitman’s poem From “I Sing the Body Electric” really connects to the issue that are prevalent to Baltimore and the issue of equality and race. The patter of the poem is really fast pace and constant. The words and the repetition just keep going which mirrors the fast pace city life of constantly ignoring the under appreciated things in life. We can be traveling the same route every day into the city to do service work and not be noticing the streets names we take, the buildings we pass, and the people we see. Paying attention to the details that surround us and connecting the micro with the macro unveils the true Baltimore.

In From “I Sing the Body Electric” this poem made it clear that the two: body and soul don’t have to be separate and they shouldn’t be separate. It is also important to talk about things we deliberately exclude or separate in Baltimore. We should be pealing back the layers of Baltimore one by one whether if by going to a museum, conversing with a Baltimorean, or working at a service site we choose. We know and love Baltimore from an external perspective. In relating to the Whitman poem, first he supplies the descriptive analysis of the body but then he uncovers the functions which make a person tick. What makes Baltimore tick? Popular views of Baltimore are things such as the Orioles, Inner Harbor, and Fells Point but there is more under the surface that we need to reveal it in order to better understand some of the inequality that exists today.

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