by Jody Forrester             On August 15, 1970, in Salinas, California, seven thousand lettuce pickers went out on strike against the Teamsters and growers who refused to recognize their newly formed union. Before the sun rose that morning, Maria Dolores Sanchez, a United Farm Workers organizer, phoned me seeking reinforcements for the picket lines. We first met at an anti-war demonstration in San Francisco and exchanged telephone numbers for just this sort of call. Within an hour of activating the San Jose activist phone tree, five cars, all filled, gathered in front of my eastside apartment. Most held steaming cups … Continue reading Strike

Kicked Out and Alone

  by Brett Kozma “Get in, Brett.” He said, pulling up to the curb I had been sitting on for hours. I got in the car, still in the tattered, wet dress clothes, I had on when they kicked me out. I had been on the street for two days trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t deserve any mercy, pity or support but Grandpa didn’t see it that way. When my Mom called him to ask for help, he didn’t hesitate to ask where I was and then didn’t hesitate to get into his car and drive … Continue reading Kicked Out and Alone

Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

by Diane Cameron In the 1940’s a young Marine returns from China to a small Pennsylvania town. He enrolls in graduate school and begins to work as a high school teacher. He marries the young woman who had waited for him through the war. They buy a house and invite her widowed mother to live with them. One year later finds the body of the mother-in-law sprawled on the kitchen floor, the body of the wife in the living room, both perforated with bullets. The former Marine is handcuffed and taken away by the sheriff. The local newspapers are filled … Continue reading Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War

Woman at the Gate

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa June 8, 2009 Dear Friend, Thanks for your concern. You are right – this lifestyle of uber paranoia does not suit me. But I have to say the narrowing of horizons and seclusion has forced reflection and strangely latent creativity that normally I am too distracted in “normal” life to make time for. So, although not comfortable, it has been productive and satisfying in its way. When we were in Joburg last year, I was very nervous in our gated community. Now we are in a village (very Afrikanse), it does seem safer. That said, no white folks walk our … Continue reading Woman at the Gate


by Gina Gareri-Watkins   He knew what he was doing when He gave her to me.  If not for her smile, my feet would be under the earth instead of on it.   Each morning she scales the rails on her crib, swings her slender legs over, dismounts, and pads across the hall to the edge of my mattress.               “Good morning, Mama!” she chirps.              I lay still and take inventory.              Stomach nauseous?  Heart racing?  Skin crawling?              All three, but her powder scent pulls me to shore.    I take three breaths and dive up.   … Continue reading Innocence

The Road

by Joellen Kubiak-Woodall My life began on a dirt road, Rural Route 3. By my sixth birthday in 1965, America launched a man into space, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, and our president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was an exciting, turbulent, and often confusing era in which to be a child. For a while, my family and I led a slow-paced simple life on a slow-paced and simple road. My upbringing was not typical of the South or the time. We lived side by side with people of color. In my youth, I did not see race or … Continue reading The Road