Scoundrel Time

Fighting for Racial Justice

Monday, June 19th marked the 152nd anniversary of Juneteenth: the day—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation—when slavery in the United States finally came to an end. But a century and a half...

If You See Something, Say Something (a trademark of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security)

Across the nation, we’re all part of communities. In cities, on farms, and in the suburbs. We share everyday moments— the face that sneers even when it’s saying ‘fantastic,’ the crowds whose joy...

Please State the Nature of Your Emergency: Scoundrel Time Portfolio Interview with Aaron Anstett

Here are some poem titles from Aaron Anstett’s fourth book, Insofar as Heretofore: “Self-Portrait as Jackass on Dash Cam,” “Please List All Previous Addresses,” “If the TV Will Not Be Used at All During the...

Another Year Older and Deeper in Debt

  Say I tell you a story about a girl who’s afraid of money. From a young age, she learned that there didn’t seem to be much of it and that hard work didn’t mean one would ever have much of it. She knew...

“In the increasingly convincing darkness / The words become palpable…" —John Ashbery

“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley

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Note from a Mother

My middle child is fascinated by his ethnicity. He looks the most Ecuadorian with his dark almond eyes and wide nose. He stretches his arm next to mine to see the contrast of his brown skin against my white. He teaches his younger brother to say...

The Future Is a Ceiling of Impossible Water

I was driving in a rented yellow convertible through the desert, near the eastern border of California. A bright spring morning: overhead, the sky was brilliant and blue, like a ceiling of impossible water. My forehead was damp. My hair was wild. My...

Disappointment

Remember, remember, the eighth of November; of gunpowder, treason and plot.[1] Benjamin, do you recall sixteen years ago how we sat all night before the black-and-white Great Wall television set (with its hues of light green on a warped electronic...

Depending on How You Look at It

In the weeks before Donald Trump became president of the United States, I travelled to Greece to volunteer and distribute some $35,000 in donations that a group of us from North Carolina had collected for humanitarian relief for refugees. These...

Welcome to My Highway

It was her last day, the last hours she’d spend a full night in that box. The gel on her chapped hands, the roar of traffic from the E-ZPass lanes. Was she ever really here? In a matter of time even the memory of the tollbooth would lose the smell...

Square Fictions

Around the time of the election, I started writing mostly square fictions about the president-elect. It began with one a day, then went to two, then three, then more. They were short because he has (we are told by many who know him) a small...

Shuffle Off

There was a time where I was breaking a lot of things I’d fixed, which is to say I was wasting second chances. I smoked myself right out of a position when the regional manager caught me puffing in the stockroom. Then when I found a job at a...

We Need a New Story

A few years ago, a writer friend gave me a bracelet that had a charm on it that said “stories save our souls.” I loved that phrase so much that I began to use it—and a variation (“stories save our lives”) when I signed books. I knew it was true...

I Lift My Lamp

  From the Oxford English Dictionary, digital edition. Asylum. < Latin asȳlum, < Greek ἄσῡλον refuge, sanctuary, neuter of adjective ἄσῡλος inviolable. 1. A sanctuary or inviolable place of refuge and protection for criminals and debtors...

Still Life w/ Gay Lil’ Patriots

yu so fun so danger so smoke so ready 2 deady [next stop: F I R E W O R K S spend $ & get &z off] we bubble buy blame bead up the sky w blood [the libertree thirsty & i wonder what this b 2 me] as yr local majikal hapahaole mite say a...

Murillo’s Saint Catherine, c. 1650

–Hospital de los Venerables, Sevilla She stares with a bearing – experience having brought her soul this far – and lifts a frond, one kind of sword, in one hand, effortless. In the other, clutched to her, the silver plated sword of her own...

Bonnet

The woman on the waste site tour bus wore the kind of bonnet my grandmother kept in her purse for emergencies. She squared her shoulders in front of us, the plastic kerchief knotted to her head and not a cloud in the sky. Our guide in charge of...

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...

Congrats! The Revolution Is Now

buff buffe / buffer buff/reibu / buffrebufffring / & fervently awaitin ya pass       code o, word      ? we wonder how we will in2       existence: amazonial primal access & 1070p rejection      o’ taxes science will save ya ass / a seat...

Calm-Downers, Resisters, and Bags by the Door

“Jesus, what are we going to do now?” Out of the mouths of babes, or one babe in particular, comes the question du jour, and possibly du mois and de l’année, too. A day after the recent presidential election, what some grieving voters call...