Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: Elderberry Magic

In the Native American tradition, the elder is sacred. The soft whistling song I often hear in the branches has been heard by others as well. Elder’s long association with wind instruments suggests that the magical sound comes not from the wind but rather from the tree itself, as well as any instruments carved from elder branches.

July 16, 2022 · 13 Comments

Paul Christensen: What Binds Us. Together

We’ve had two small heat waves since I arrived here in southern France in mid-June. Neither was terrible, neither quite made it to the level of a canicule, a blistering heat bloom usually starting out its career in northern Africa and drifting down onto western Europe where it stagnates over the red-tile roofs…

July 15, 2022 · 6 Comments

Deborah Bogen: Two Poems

I think of the ways we got it wrong.  All the things we didn’t know. Who did it — and why — where it was done and how we can think about the Lord’s Prayer as thirteen ways of looking at a tragedy.

July 13, 2022 · 4 Comments

Rebecca Gordon: In the Shadow of Roe’s Undoing

I still hate electoral politics, but you don’t always get to choose the terrain you’re fighting on. Through its machinations at the federal, state, and county level, the Republican Party has been all but screaming its plans to steal the next presidential election.

July 12, 2022 · 1 Comment

Baron Wormser: Ghosts

All the chatter about “family values” presupposes that women pick up whatever difficulties they are faced with and go forward with a happy, maternal smile. Seduced and abandoned does not exist in such an aggressively wholesome universe.

July 11, 2022 · 9 Comments

Adrienne Maree Brown: Murmurations | Returning to the Whole

To heal ourselves, we must remember that we are a small part of a much greater whole.

July 8, 2022 · 2 Comments

Patricia A. Nugent: Father with a Gun

Years working in human resources convinced me that no school employee should have a gun. Period. 

July 5, 2022 · 5 Comments

Paul Christensen: Return to France

And I come, suppressing my eagerness for as long as I can, until I burst with affection at the sound of a cork being pulled by a solemn waiter, who waits politely while I sink my liver into a pool of forgetfulness at the first sip.

July 3, 2022 · 7 Comments

Michael Simms: Puppy Rolling

When I take Josie to the dog park she likes to find a puppy, preferably a rare breed like a Shiba Inu or a New Guinea Singing Dog and roll it down the hill.

July 2, 2022 · 20 Comments

Mike Vargo: Delusions

I cannot help imagining René Descartes as a comedian. The surviving portraits show a polymath with a prominent nose and a sly smirk, as if to say “Heard this one?” … Continue reading

July 1, 2022 · 2 Comments

Steve Mentz: I swim to think and to stay afloat in an ever-wetter world

Pools open portals. All bodies of water issue invitations, but there’s a special doorway provided by a familiar concrete rectangle, usually 25 or 50 metres long, filled with warm water. In that unnatural … Continue reading

June 22, 2022 · Leave a comment

Robert Lipsyte: Take My Gun, Please

The gun I carried on the streets of New York City in the late 1960s was a Beretta, similar to the pistol James Bond packed in the early Ian Fleming … Continue reading

June 15, 2022 · Leave a comment

Video: My Descent into America’s Neo-Nazi Movement — And How I Got Out

At 14, Christian Picciolini went from naïve teenager to white supremacist — and soon, the leader of the first neo-Nazi skinhead gang in the United States. How was he radicalized, and how did he ultimately get out of the movement? In this courageous talk, Picciolini shares the surprising and counterintuitive solution to hate in all forms.

June 8, 2022 · Leave a comment

Paul Christensen: Jasmine Blossoms

A chilly, damp, paralyzing Spring, with soggy skies and faded landscapes. Reality feels like a pair of washed-out blue jeans. But the ground keeps birthing its progeny of weeds and … Continue reading

June 3, 2022 · Leave a comment

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