An Interview With Charles Coles

Charles Coles was an old man by the time he was interviewed at his home by an out-of-work writer employed by the Federal government. Mr. Rogers, the writer, was a slim fellow with a receding hairline. His clothes weren’t the finest old Mr. Coles had seen, but Mr. Rogers didn’t seem to notice. He stood there on his door step with the kind of twisted pride that came from three hundred years of being told people like him were better than most.

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When I hated You

You made me hate you
Curse your name and
wish death upon the same

You taught me things
How to hate, manipulate
Bend and twist my foes.

You taught me this
Through delicate manipulation
Desire and temptation

With a twitch of your finger
You twisted my soul, bent my will
Until you had the control.

I was sound asleep
Within those thorny, gentle arms
Hypnotized, awake but unalarmed.

Remember that day?
I woke up in pain
And was never the same.

Horrified, I tore myself away
I spit in your face, cursed your name
Swearing that you’d be the one I’d maim

I vowed I’d be the who ends you
Imagined ways of making you pay
Starting with that first day.

From the start, you were a snake
A ghoulish monster sporting
Human flesh, you were fake

I used to blame myself
How didn’t I see?
But it wasn’t my fault, I was naive

All naïveté is
Is having trust in a person
That doesn’t deserve it.

It took a long time
But I know that now
I accepted it, somehow.

You made me hate you
Curse your name and
wish death upon the same

But again, I woke up
Not horrified, or afraid
But with the knowledge you had already paid

You’re broken inside
Left for dead on the road
Without me, you have no home.

But I don’t pity you
You don’t deserve it
Your status in life is a perfect fit.

A coward lives
As a coward dies.

CREDIT: The gif was created by Xavier Lopez.


Exploring Satanism with ‘The Lazy Satanist’

The following is a brief interview with a Satanist I spoke to last week. The Lazy Satanist encourages people to visit the Church of Satan’s website for more detailed information.

Who are you?
I prefer to let my dumb posts speak for themselves, but I’m no one in particular.

A post from The Lazy Satanist’s Official FB Page. 

What is satanism to you?
It’s an ethos which guides what I owe to myself and to others.

How does your form of satanism differ from other satanists?
My particular flavor of Satanism is more of a philosophy than religion. Other Satanists may place more importance on the rituals as laid out by Anton LaVey in his original texts, but I don’t find them particularly useful. Instead, I focus more on the guidelines for personal conduct and introspection.

What is a common misconception about Satanists and Satanism?
A lot of people think Satanism is the same as devil worship; that Satanists are out there, looking for children to sacrifice, or that we are aggressively dangerous.

Consent is important in Satanism. A practicing Satanist would not harm anyone unless they explicitly asked for it, or they attacked the Satanist in some way – we absolutely do not turn the other cheek.

In general, we reject the teachings of the Christian church as dangerous and harmful to its followers, which many people misconstrue as a rejection of any ethical or moral standards. Satanism specifically condemns unprovoked and undeserved violence and aggression.

How long have you identified as a Satanist?
When I actually got a copy of the Satanic Bible and read the core tenets, I realized I’d always naturally been drawn toward those values. That’s been about four years or so ago now.

Do you have daily, weekly or monthly devotionals, like prayer, offerings, etc?
Black Mass is supposed to be performed for special occasions where ceremony would be appropriate – weddings, baptism, funerals, etc., but there’s no real devotional schedule.

Since each Satanist is their own god, each day one is true to one’s self and behaves according to one’s own will, you might call that an offering or devotional.

Can you describe your practices?
In the interest of brevity, it’s probably more useful to briefly outline the core beliefs about what to strive for and what to avoid:

People are animals and aren’t above any other beast in the natural world, except by virtue of our cunning, which makes us capable of cruelty unseen in other animals.

One should seek physical, material, and mental satisfaction. Abstinence leads to personal misery and spiritual stagnation.

Love deeply those who deserve your love, and forsake those who would be emotional parasites. Do unto others as they do to you.Value wisdom and truth and be especially wary of self-deceit.

What would you like people reading this to know?
Satanism is basically atheism with heavy-metal trappings. We believe in no theological deity, but worship our own, individual potential. If you have questions, just ask!

What is being apart of the Satanist community like?
The Satanist community is pretty warm and open. We are supportive because we choose to be, not because of any obligation. Unlike most other religious communities, there’s no pretense or holier-than-thou posturing. If a Satanist says they’re your friend, you can believe it.

Your page, the Lazy Satanist, what’s it about?
The Lazy Satanist is about goofing around and having fun with popular misconceptions of Satanism and the occult. Jokes about warlocks and demons are fun for the whole family!

If you have more questions, direct them to me below, or ask The Lazy Satanist directly. “Exploring Satanism” doesn’t end with this article. 

The More You Know: Queen Nzinga

Queen Nzinga was born sometime between 1580 and 1583. She was one of several children of Ngola (king) Kia Samba, who ruled over the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms. 

Her father, Ngola Kiluanji Kia Samba, reigned during a time of constant conflict with the Portuguese, who’d arrived in Angola in the late 14th century. Her brother, Mbandi, inherited the throne after their father, but proved himself unable to handle the growing threat from the Portuguese and other African kingdoms. 

The Portuguese established a treaty with one of the strongest kingdoms in Angola – the Kongo. The Kongo king, his son and their advisers converted to Christianity to establish trade between the two kingdoms. The Kingdom of Kongo wanted alcohol and cloth, while the Portuguese wanted people for slave labor. By the 1560’s, due to increased Portuguese demands, around 7,000 people were sold into slavery every year. Most of these people were taken to Brazil. By 1576, the Portuguese established an administrative division for slave trading at Luanda Bay. 

Between the 1620’s and 1650’s, Queen Nzinga led a steady opposition against the encroaching Portuguese and African slave traders. Other than the three decade opposition she led against the Portuguese, she is best known for her clever mind, and tactful strategies.

One of the most well-known stories about her is during a meeting with a Portuguese official. According to most renditions, the only seat in the room belonged to the Portuguese official. Queen Nzinga’s servant immediately rushed to serve as a seat, so that Queen Nzinga and the Portuguese official could speak as equals. 

Today, Nzinga is remembered for being a proto-nationalist and an anti-colonialist.

Queen Nzinga Mbandi of the Ndongo & Matamba Kingdoms
Credit: Erik Kristensen

The More You Know: Aspasia of Miletus

The Golden Age of Greece is a time period most well known for the flourishing of arts and sciences. The magnificent Parthenon was erected as both a pious symbol to the gods, and as a symbol of the wealth and superiority of Athenian culture. You may know of the general Pericles, who ushered democracy into Athens and of Thucydides and Herodotus – historians who recorded the greatness as it happened.  I could go on and list other names: Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes – but you get the point. The Golden Age of Greece got its name from all of the great minds that existed during that time, despite the fact that Athens, and other surrounding Greek city-states were experiencing political unrest. However, political unrest didn’t disrupt the flourishing of the arts and sciences, until the Greek world was plunged into the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC.

Aspasia of Miletus is a name you should know if you’ve familiarized yourself with Classical Athenian history.  If you quickly search for her on Google, you may find a heap of resources designating her as “Aspasia, Pericles’s Lover,” or “Aspacia, The Concubine.” These titles do well with tying her to Pericles, because she was, in fact, his mistress. But that’s not all she was.

Aspasia of Miletus was a foreigner to Athens. She lived in the Ionian colony of Miletus, a village on the Western coast of Anatolia prior to emigrating to Athens. It’s not extremely clear how she met Pericles, but the two were an almost inseparable pair, according to their contemporaries. Because Aspasia wasn’t considered an Athenian woman, she enjoyed more freedom than her peers. She was often credited, mostly by critics, as influencing Athenian politics and poisoning Pericles’s mind with her feminine wiles.

It’s highly likely that Aspasia came from wealth, as she is known to have been extremely educated and influential. She was such a significant presence in classical Athens that her contemporary critics even criticized her for instigating wars between Athens and other Greek city-states.

Playwrights, and socratic writers had a lot to say about Aspasia, the lover of Pericles. Although most of what was said was misogynistic and negative, it’s clear that Aspasia was a central figure in Athens, socially and politically. She’s said to have given marital advice to the likes of Xenophon, called upon by Socrates himself, and to have even advised these men on rhetoric.

Even though Aspasia lived and interacted with many great men from the Golden Age of Greece, her name is one that rarely pops up. This isn’t a surprise, given Greek (especially you, Athens) attitudes toward women, and the historical biases of 19th century European men. Next time you get into a conversation about Classical Greece, don’t forget to mention Aspasia of Miletus!

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5 Influential African Writers You Never Learned About in School

In celebration of recent African literary history, here’s a list of the top five most influential African writers you need to know.

Africa has no shortage of influential writers though, so the five chosen here are in now way an exhaustive list. Feel free to add your favorite African writer in the comments!

Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon was born on July 20, 1925 in present day Martinique – a Caribbean French territory. He served in the Free French Army and later became the head of an Algerian hospital, tending to both Algerian and French soldiers. During this time, he observed the psychological effects that colonial violence had on his patients.

Fanon established himself as a leading intellectual in the Negritude movement, as well as an outspoken academic on the effects of colonialism on racial consciousness. His most famous works are The Wretched of the Earth, and Black Skin, White Masks. 

Buchi Emecheta 

Buchi Emecheta was born on July 21, 1944 in Lagos, Nigeria. Although born in Nigeria to an Igbo family, she spent most of her time in London. She wrote extensively about the maltreatment of women in immigrant and African societies. Her most influential works are: The Rape of Shavi, Second Class Citizen, Adah’s Story and The Bride Price. 

Yvonne Vera

Yvonne Vera was born September 19, 1964 in Bulawayo,  Zimbabwe. Her mother and father were supportive of her skill, enabling her to jump start her writing career in Canada. Her works deal with the oppression of colonialism, the realities of the maltreatment of women during times of social upheaval. Her most influential works are: Without a Name, Butterfly Burning and Under the Tongue.

Tsitsi Dangarembga

Tsitsi Dangarembga was born on February 4, 1959 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She spent some time in England, receiving education at an English high school and then studying medicine at Cambridge University. However, due to racism and isolation, she returned to Zimbabwe. Her most famous work is Nervous Conditions, which received the Commonwealth Writer’s prize and is regarded by many as one of  twelve best African novels.

 Alex La Guma

Alex La Guma was born on February 20, 1925 in Cape Town, South Africa. He lived through the oppression of apartheid. He grew up in a family that was active in the liberation movement, finding himself in prison several times for his activism. His works emphasized the harrowing effects of apartheid on his characters. Because of the controversial nature of his works, the South African government banned his works. Try reading A Walk in the Night, and Time of the Butcherbird.

Subscribe to Peaks Journal to never miss a post. Share this post with your friends and see if they know any of these African writers! 

I am From Train Tracks and Busy Streets

by Vivian

I am from train tracks and busy streets.

From motorcycles rides through the city and instant noodles,
The tofu on the streets that caused a round stomach – a baby so pure and so innocent.

I am from red velvet slippers and jumping rope in the courtyard.
From the big, mean girls who never let anyone play with their toys,
Their leader climbing up the stairs to the yellow slide after me, anger – infused face.

The slow-motion face plant as I hit the ground, leading to the broken arm in a cast.

I am from middle school “glo-ups” and makeup bags.
There’s always a first time for everything, baby girl not so innocent anymore.

From highlights to lipsticks, eye-shadow to contour.
The first pebble of insecurity, now towering like mountains.

I am from the stress tearing me apart between good grades or popularity.

“You need to do better. Universities look at this, you know?”
“Be cute, be hard to get, be confident. But watch out for Mackenzie.”
Those small little slip – ups that seem like the end of the world but actually aren’t.

I am from Gingham, Juno, and Lark.

The perfect filter – maybe X – Pro Valencia – or how ‘bout Skyline? Nah, #Nofilter.

Having to capture the perfect meal, posing with the perfect body, living the perfect Instagram life.

The staged smile on the girl holding plastic flowers pretending to be happy. No, no! I don’t want to be her!

I am from Grey’s Anatomy and Disney movies.
To grow up and help the needy, to cure diseases, to advise medicine.
To escape with the rose, flee with two glass slippers, and not kiss the frog.

Wanting to be my own woman, to do something better for the world, without Prince Charming.

I am from the fascinating world of medicine.
To witness the very first breath to the last dying breath, not just once, but a million.

That “tears and smiles” moment in life when joy and pain are seen together, holding hands.

To experience a miracle of a lifetime, or to mourn beside a deathbed.

I am from greatness and failure.
I still have a lot to learn, with many mistakes and failure along the way.

Embarking on a journey to find the meaning of life, every moment leading from:

I am from train tracks and busy streets.