Issue Thirty-Five - Winter 2020

It’s a Man’s Life… or is it?

By Stephanie Barbé Hammer

We are hearing and reading a lot about powerful men in the news these days. Our president for one, and the many men who support him. These men admire and are drawn to other men. Men with guns and men with money. Or with both. And of course, men with oil.

Then there are interruptions of that power. Angela Merkel visiting the Auschwitz death camp and reminding Germans that there is no way around that history. Our own Nancy Pelosi wagging her finger at a male reporter. “Don’t mess with me.” Activist/journalist Karine Jean-Pierre physically putting herself between Candidate Kamala Harris and a guy who rushed the stage in Texas.

Women intervening.

In this issue you’ll read a lot about suffering men. Grieving fathers, traumatized sons listening at kitchen doors, brothers alternatively torturing and supporting each other during a possible emergency, and one young man who – comically — would do anything to get his bowels moving. A man who is literally blocked.

Elsewhere, a high-school teacher/poet presides over his charges, hoping to find a moment to write his own words.

And you’ll also read about women and the houses they lived in and the houses they pick their kids up in front of. Houses, inside of which people die, around which homeless neighbors wander. You’ll read about a woman who was almost raped in Chile many years ago during a time of insurrection. And you’ll read about two women – both poets – following each other’s work over years in a complex dance of intimacy and distance, as they walk intersecting roads of depression and writers’ block.

Women who move, escape, and write about their kids, their parents, their lovers, their friends.

As a reader I am empowered and enlivened by writing that seeks to open up spaces for me to understand the world I live in differently. And to act differently too.

Welcome to 2020. May we grieve and may we literally get ourselves moving in the direction of justice. In the direction of freedom. We hope these pieces contribute in a small way to your doing that.

Copyright 2020 Hammer