The DAY AFTER issue of On The Issues Magazine; Fall 2012
Success on equality and justice takes activism in every season -- in and beyond elections. Our writers and thinkers zoom in on core concerns and ideas for our future in On The Issues Magazine Fall 2012.
Featuring the poetry of Zohra Saed, Janice Lynch Schuster, Sonja de Vries, and Linda Hogan; Curated by Poetry Co-editor Sarah Browning.
On The Issues: Kabul by Zohra Saed

Kabul is really bulbul
       A nightingale disguised as a partial rubble city
Her night is the flutter of an eyelash. The women here have almond skin
butter eyes and pluck their men from a secret tree
deep in the navel of the valley.

Mountains craft spines for these women so,
When they dance, they never bow their heads.



Zohra Saed is the co-editor of “One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature” (University of Arkansas Press). Her poetry has appeared in: “Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality,” “Speaking for Herself: Asian Women's Writings,” “Seven Leaves One Autumn” and, most recently, “Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed: Misspelled Cities” (Notebook #105, documenta 13).


 Aly dreams of the SATs by Janice Lynch Schuster

She dreams she scores 3,000
On her SATs and the numbers
Transfigure her life. What is the property
Where all things are less and more,
Approaching infinity, and zero,
The less and greater than’s compiling
A score no one understands?
Here’s the dream: You exceed your worries.
You are more than you are less.
You are everything a number cannot contain.
You are most wondrous, a combination
Of cells and heart, something incalculable,
More than anything we could have compiled.
You are the genius
Of your own life, genesis and generator—
Everything lies before you.
No matter what dreams might come,
You are a whole number,
A calculation, an imaginary world
Of being, my true love, my girls, 3,000
More than 3,000, your own perfect score.



Janice Lynch Schuster writes about aging, health care and women’s issues. She is a proud member of Disruptive Women in Health Care. A senior writer for Altarum Institute, she is the author of several nonfiction books, as well as the poetry collection, “Saturday at the Gym.” She blogs at

On The Issues Magazine, Andrea Arroyo
©Andrea Arroyo


Fragments by Sonja de Vries

Over there, ankle high in dust,
that's where you left desire,
where children scatter like ashes
and adrenaline floods your veins
like the Ohio last spring trailing cracked
mud and gasping fish in its wake.

you met a soldier there
who waited by the fire
for stray dogs.
He counted 157 kills.

You almost let me
enter you
and then you were gone
giving coordinates
for an air strike
to target whatever is left

There is no desire
but desire
no prayer but prayer
and the breeze in my yard
still tastes of you.

You said that loving you would be a bad idea
as if you could map out the coordinates
of exactly where and where not
my love could fall
as if in dropping a bomb
an exact target could be hit
and not one thing else destroyed.



Sonja de Vries is a documentary filmmaker and writer living in Louisville, Kentucky. Her first book, "Planting A Garden In Baghdad," was recently published by Finishing Line Press. She teaches creative writing and poetry throughout the Louisville area and is working on integrating film and poetry. de Vries is currently working on a video poetry trilogy, with poems on the issue of Palestine.


Rapture by Linda Hogan

Who knows the mysteries of the poppies
when you look across the red fields,
or hear the sound of long thunder,
then the saving rain.
Everything beautiful,
the solitude of the single body
or sometimes, too, when the body is kissed
on the lips or hands or eyelids tender.
Oh for the pleasure of living in a body.
It may be, it may one day be
this is a world haunted by happiness,
where people finally are loved
in the light of leaves,
the feel of bird wings passing by.
Here it might be that no one wants power.
They don't want more.
And so they are in the forest,
old trees,
or those small but grand.
And when you sleep, rapture, beauty,
may seek you out.
Listen. There is
secret joy,
sweet dreams you may never forget.
How worthy the being
in the human body. If,
when you are there, you see women
wading on the water
and clouds in the valley,
the smell of rain,
or a lotus blossom rises out of round green leaves,
remember there is always something
besides our own misery.



Linda Hogan is Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation and an internationally recognized public speaker and writer of poetry, fiction, and essays. Her two new books are "Rounding the Human Corners" (Coffee House Press, April 2008, Pulitzer nominee) and "People of the Whale" (Norton, August 2008). She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, among many other honors.

Karen Wright posted: 2012-09-28 12:03:33

Neither of the major political parties here in Australia would have a even remote chance of being elected if they indicated an intention to dismantle our single-payer, universal Medicare system. While catastrophic illness can obviously still have a devastating effect on a person's economic situation due to the impact on their inability to work, it is unthinkable here that anyone would be bankrupted by having to pay exorbitant medical bills on top of that. You can have surgery following a major heart attack or first rate cancer treatment, all determined by you and your doctor, and walk out of hospital not owing a cent. It's baffling to us here that such a rich country as the US has such a strange relationship to the health if its citizens. Wonderful to hear of the strong advocacy and leadership on this issue being demonstrated by the nurses and the nuns.

Rahul posted: 2013-01-02 20:35:41

I'm not sure if our link nurses here in the U.S. are what you are tnkilag about but link nurses are nurses who work for Nurse Link. Nurse Link is a community service where people can call a toll free number to get medical help or advice from nurses trained to triage their issues. Those that need medical help would then be referred to a doctor or specialist with the appointment being made for them or, if necessary, told to go to the local ER.The service also provides seminars, health fairs and other community services.

Join the conversation. Leave a comment.

     All comments will be reviewed before being posted live. All fields REQUIRED.


Follow us on:

Choices Women's Medical Center Banner Ad
Print page      Bookmark site      Rss Feed RSS Feed


© 1983 - 2015 On The Issues Magazine; No Reuse without permission. • Complete Table of ContentsPrivacyLinks of Feminist and Progressive Interest