Two poems: "The Going Away" and "The Herons & the Catfish..."

Two poems: "The Going Away" and "The Herons & the Catfish..."

The past is rust, as oxidized: whatever clings
     to our conversation, back-&-forth of friends,

six pack of Miller High Life, Camel cigarettes
     if we quit quitting again. Back in this town

blessed by OxyContin & black tar heroin
    the coach still calls shit plays from his gridiron

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If you've never shot drugs, you ain't got a clue: Steve's story

If you've never shot drugs, you ain't got a clue: Steve's story

"This is a dangerous undertaking. You have to go to where the people are. I had to go into dope houses to bring stuff to people who needed it the most." In our Spring 2017 issue, we published the remarkable, first-person stories of two advocates who've spent years fighting for the humane treatment of drug users in North Carolina and elsewhere: Steve Daniels and Louise Vincent. Here's Steve's story.

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A letter to Black mamas

A letter to Black mamas

For Mother's Day this year, Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a regional queer liberation organization focused on the South the South, made a simple, transformative request of its members, its communities, and its affiliate organizations: Bail Black mamas out of jails.

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Harm reduction is compassion, harm reduction is love: Louise's story

Harm reduction is compassion, harm reduction is love: Louise's story

"I wouldn't wish [addiction] on anyone.... [What we do,] It's harm reduction. We meet people where they are. I have to remember to meet people where they are as far as coming to accept harm reduction as well. It doesn't just work one way. I have to remember that it took an experience, being in Atlanta in The Bluff, working in the most devastated community and it came to me all at once: this is exactly what we're supposed to be doing. This is compassion. This is love."

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Acts of remembrance

Acts of remembrance

Twelve and a half million Africans shipped forcibly to the so-called New World from 1525 to 1866 in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. At least two million died en route—by murder, suicide, illness, exhaustion, shipwreck—their bodies occupying the bottom of the Atlantic. These are facts that I know like I know the geography of my last name, and that gravity is indifferent to the movement of ocean tides—no matter who they carry away.  This is a story of remembrance.

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North Carolina's strange election

North Carolina's strange election

North Carolina’s partisan politics are moving—like the nation’s—toward the extremes. The power “redistribution” orchestrated by North Carolina’s GOP flies bluntly in the face of American traditions of democratic rule and respect for electoral results. But it was hardly a flash in the pan: the laws were only made possible by a skewed district map guaranteeing overwhelming Republican control of an evenly split electorate; they follow logically on a longer-term project by state conservatives to redefine whose votes count. Disregard for the messy business of democracy is a practiced habit: having crept into the state’s margins years ago, it had worked its way to the government’s core. As the same tendencies worm their way onto the national stage, it is critical to understand how North Carolina’s democracy came undone.

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The curious loss of a friendly stranger

The curious loss of a friendly stranger

In life, Roechelle Cox reigned supreme over the two narrow checkout lanes at Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket in Uptown, New Orleans. Customers were drawn to her masterful, everyday patter, conducted in a big, cheerful voice. Only later, when they plumbed their memories, did they realize that, despite hundreds of conversations, they knew almost nothing about her. In death, Roechelle Cox became a sphinx. It was up to a reporter to piece together her story.

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Review: In Blue Texas, all that is old is new again

Review: In Blue Texas, all that is old is new again

In early 1938, the city of San Antonio arrested over a thousand of its residents during what the police chief called a “revolution.” In the city’s hundreds of pecan sheds, a mostly mexicana, mostly female workforce husked the nuts on their way to market for poverty wages -- and at the end of January, they decided to strike. That strike changed Texas politics permanently, and the work of the organizers who followed in their footsteps has lessons for the present-day left.

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