Scoundrel Time

My First Friend

Drowned. That’s how I liked to think of my parents. Ironic, as they were competitive swimmers. But this was how I imagined it. I am four years old. We are vacationing by the Caspian Sea. My grandparents are relaxing in their reclining chairs, their...

In the Dark Times

In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing. About the dark times. —Bertolt Brecht There will be prayer, too, but to a different god, and dread will lurk in the songs we sing. Doom in the timpani no matter what the tune...

The Media Megaphone

In his 2007 essay “The Braindead Megaphone,” George Saunders describes a gathering of average folks—discussing topics of interest to them with openness and intelligence—who are suddenly drowned out by a man with a megaphone. “He’s not the smartest...

The Blanket Room

—After Italo Calvino and Dorianne Laux When I’m inconsolable, I like to go to The Blanket Room™. A new one just opened at the Maple Heights Mall. They wrap you in a blanket and turn out the lights. Then someone comes in, brushes the hair from your...

Drops Vanish

I remember very little of my childhood, and less as I grow older, each memory lingering like drops of dew on a mirror dropped, forgotten, in a garden. What do I remember? I remember my brother’s feet beside my face as they pumped up and down against...

Town Hall Time

This week marks the real beginning of the August Recess for Congress, which means your representatives are home and likely hosting town halls. Take advantage of this opportunity for some face time—now is your chance to be more than just an email or...

Supporting Transgender Rights

It’s been a roller coaster of a week. In a matter of days, we’ve gone from celebrating the Affordable Care Act’s survival to fearing its imminent demise—and the loss of insurance for thirty-two million people over the next decade, not to mention the...

Four Poems By Amanda Newell

For Adam, my student, in Walter Reed “Take One!” says the sticky by the AFG decals, but I don’t, though I want to, because—really— I have no claim to sacrifice, no stump swinging like a wind-wild bell, no appled fist, no marbled skin. Quite possibly...

Sanctuary, City

A “new” Lotería card appears spray-painted on a viaduct in Chicago’s near Southwest Side.   While reading Night with high school freshmen on Chicago’s largely Latino Southwest Side, I often had to explain new vocabulary like...

Protecting Immigrant Rights

In the resistance, as in so many of our personal battles, we often forget to pause and reflect upon what we have accomplished. But this week marks an important victory—neither the Senate’s revision of the healthcare bill nor the motion to repeal the...

The History of Wrongs

will take a while, doodle all you want. Dot a pupil on each pearl stacked to distraction on the margin. Argus froth out a hundred eyes of which by turn did sleep always a couple and the rest… Scribble the obvious. Life, friends, is… I cross-hatch...