Scoundrel Time

Catfight at the Polling Place: November, 2018

We had been standing in line for hours. Days. Months. It felt like we had been standing since the beginning of thought or reason, for centuries. Some of us had been waiting, every hour, every minute, for two...

Alien Language

Day in, day out, I go over my vowels, my back-to-back consonants, my stress and intonation. I am at the mercy of an alien language. I hide under it pieces of a previous life: the memory of a first kiss in...

Reliving My Trauma in the Wake of the Kavanaugh Hearings

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford grew up near me in a Washington, D.C., suburb, during the 1980s. I went to an all-girls private school near Ford’s girls’ school. I was sexually assaulted, within a year or two of the...

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Thank you for helping to keep the scoundrels at bay. We are a volunteer-run publication, and your generous support keeps us going. Scoundrel Time is a 501(c)(3) organization, and your donation is tax-deductible.

News & Announcements

Robert Anthony Siegel’s new memoir, Criminals: My Family’s Life on Both Sides of the Law, is now out from Counterpoint Press. Booklist calls it “an engrossing, highly readable memoir.” Siegel is a Contributing Editor for Scoundrel Time.

Alissa Quart’s new book Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, about the struggling middle class, is out now. In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “thoughtful and compassionate.” Quart has written poems for Scoundrel Time, including “Thoughts & Prayers” and “Comey: Cut-Up.”

Reginald Dwayne Betts has been named a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry. His poems, “Secrets,” “Mural for the Heart,” and “For a Bail Denied,” appeared recently in Scoundrel Time and will be included in his collection Felon: A Misspelling of My Name, forthcoming from Norton.

Joan Silber’s novel, Improvement, has won the Pen/Faulkner Award in Fiction and the NBCC Award in Fiction. Her story “Unspeakable” appears in our How It Ends series.

Joshua Weiner’s Trumpoems, two of which appear in Scoundrel Time, are now collected in a free virtual chapbook at the Dispatches site: Everything I Do I Do Good – TrumPoems, by Joshua Weiner

Winners, Scoundrel Time’s first annual Editors’ Choice Awards, selected from among the outstanding works we published in 2017:

Fiction: Maria Saba, “My First Friend”
Poetry: Elly Bookman, “Plasticity”
Creative Nonfiction: Regan Good, “The Double Punch: Trumpian Violence vs NYPD Patriarchy”

Our fiction editor, Karen Bender, has a new story collection, THE NEW ORDER, coming from Counterpoint Press in November 2018.

Our poetry editor, Daisy Fried, was interviewed by 24 Pearl Street. She says nice things about us.

We’re thrilled and grateful to Entropy Magazine for selecting Peter Trachtenberg’s essay, “I Lift My Lamp,” for their terrific “Best of 2017” list.

Contributor Hillary Jordan’s novel Mudbound has been made into a film that premiered at Sundance and is now available on Netflix. The film has been nominated for 4 Academy awards in 2018, including best adapted screenplay. Jordan’s ekphrastic poem, “Flamboyan,” appears in Scoundrel Time.

We are excited to announce Scoundrel Time’s first-ever Pushcart Prize nominees. The following works and authors are nominated by our editors:

Maria Saba, “My First Friend”
Matthew Olzmann, “The Blanket Room”

Gabrielle Brant Freeman, “Girltrap”
Amanda Newell, “thousands of spirit limbs [were] haunting as many good soldiers, every now and then tormenting them”

Timothy Denevi, “The Future Is a Ceiling of Impossible Water”
Raqi Syed, “My Mother’s Pilgrimage”

In addition, we’re excited to share that the following works appearing in our journal have been nominated by Pushcart Prize contributing editors:

Peter Trachtenberg, “I Lift My Lamp”
Dana Sachs, Factory Men: Migrants in Patras, Greece

Carolyn Ferrell, “How the World Really Feels About You”
Tracy O’Neill, “Shuffle Off”
Karen Brennan, “Requiem”
Karen E Bender, “Describe Hope: Assignment Given to Undergraduate Creative Writing Class on November 9, 2016”
David Ulin, “Any Humans Here?”

We are proud of the work that we’ve featured in our first year. Thank you for reading!

Alissa Quart’s poem, “Comey: Cut-Up,” has been reprinted in The Nation. The poem is made of fragments from James Comey’s testimony before Congress.

Rachel Ann Brickner’s dispatch, “Another Year Older and Deeper in Debt,” will be reprinted in a new edition of the anthology, Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, forthcoming from Seal Press.

Elizabeth Rosner has a new book out: Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory. Her essay, “Before and After,” appeared in Scoundrel Time in July.

Scoundrel Time editor is interviewed for Bethesda Magazine: Searching for Truth: Bethesda writer Paula Whyman heads a new journal intertwining art and politics” by Janelle Harris, Sept/Oct 2017

Scoundrel Time is featured in “Writers, Editors Resist,” by Sarah Seltzer in Poets & Writers Magazine, May/June 2017



“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

words made flesh

I am reading about a 400-year-old document found in a gap in the buttocks of a statue of Jesus in the Cathedral of Burgos when restorers removed a piece of fabric used to cover Christ’s behind when K. says she is perplexed by her extreme repulsion...

Thirty years pass and

Again I dream I’m stuck in a room with my rape—my rapist is long gone and it’s just me and the rape now. I could say that the rape was a beast with red eyes breathing smoke and fire at me But, no, it’s just a tired looking thing (a big one) piled up...

My Mother’s Alzheimer’s Test

He said: Who is the president? And she said: George. Did she get partial credit for that? Maybe three points for the trio of Georges, or just one for the George who invaded Iraq. She couldn’t count backward from one hundred in sevens. Can you? If...


By the time I made it to the school bus, there was one seat left, the one next to Candy. I scanned each row again until Freddy the bus driver, pink and patchy face fuzz, yelled “Take a seat!” Then, a little lower, “Next time you better hustle, girl...


When you have to kill every motherfucker in the room accept no substitute is what he says as he shows off his 26 guns, which don’t include the one near the rack of ribs on the kitchen table, or the one making company with dust left in a gap between...

Catch and Release

A lonely trout swam in circles among the pebbles in the shallows of the lake, murmuring about fillets. She knew it was unhealthy and pointless to dwell on morbid fantasy. Yet she could not forget. Her nightmare recurred. True, it was a happy fact...

Let us draw near

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time,” Virgil, The Aeneid, National September 11 Memorial Museum Ten days after 9/11 my father’s heart exploded, his life collapsing in a matter of moments. We could not find each other in our own familiar...

Two Poems by Aaron Smith

The Trump Years The fireflies are lit and the field makes a Rothko with the sky. The stray cats eat food my mother left—the sound of their bites like someone unwrapping a package. The gray one sneaks up behind me, runs when I try to touch its head...

2018: A Counter-Factual

Hillary Clinton limps into her second year in office badly battered and in poor humor. She has lately refused to hold press conferences, or even speak off-the-record as she had done regularly in the early days of her presidency. That openness fell...

The Ashen Light

It was July and James, my husband of four months, and I had just driven straight through from Oregon to Chicago. I had lined up a second-year summer internship at a cat hospital in Chicago so that when I graduated from Oregon State’s veterinary...


A sugar sphinx is lying on her stomach the balls of her knees pressed hard into the ground palms of feet kissing like this so everyone can see everything so you won’t try to look away so you can add her to the collection so you can memorize the pull...

A Cloud Like a Person Standing Upside Down

This story was inspired by a Chinese news report. For decades, the town on the Yangtze River in southern China had been known for its two kinds of clouds. There were the black clouds billowing out of five big chimneys of a cement factory on the...

“As yet but knock, breathe, shine”

–from Donne’s Holy Sonnets in this time of terror that has yet to make the flesh of the bourgeois bleed, though our souls tatter in this time of the cruelty in our names against which we send money and signatures through the electric...

Two Poems by Ed Ochester

Trump in the 19th Century the following lines are from Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now, 1875 This man was undoubtedly a very ignorant man. He had probably never read a book in his life, had no preference whatever for one form of government...

June 16, 2016

  I am listening to talk radio as I drive home to visit my mother Who has Alzheimer’s and is in a diabetic coma. A hot day in late June, orange barrels dividing The bumpy lane I am driving on from the smooth black one Where the workers are...


He knelt on the ice and watched his brother Craig skate the wide oval they had cleared off the flood. On the straights, Craig crouched and stretched and pulled with one arm then the other, his crocheted scarf trailing out behind, then glided into...

The Truly Screaming Baby

Thank God says the woman in 13E we’re not back there she means back there with the mom with the truly screaming baby and the two toddlers to boot (by God she’d never boot these two) these other two who didn’t once between them...

Elegy in Glass & Stone

Crows working the ground, picking at husks. Harvest one place starves the rest, crosswinds can’t be read, and nothing can parse the syntax of the soul. Listen: it’s the thin wail of a world gone wrong; what takes cover under the tongue is the song...