August 30, 2015

The Unraveling

Nearly two decades after the end of World War I, Yeats wrote: “If war is necessary, or necessary in our time and place, it is best to forget its suffering as we do the discomfort of fever, remembering our comfort at midnight when our temperature fell, or as we forget the worst moments of more painful disease.” It is tempting to agree with Yeats, or to find wisdom in my colleague who recently said, when I asked what she thought about Guantanamo Bay: “I try not to think about that.” There are a number of ways to erase history. One […]
July 2, 2015

The Book of Men

The year is 2050.  The city is Baghdad.  The following is my contribution to The Book of Men, an anthology of short fiction curated by Colum McCann, Esquire, and Narrative 4.  Other contributors include Khaled Hosseini, Ian McEwan, and Salman Rushdie.  To purchase the entire volume, click here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Men-Eighty-Writers-ebook/dp/B00DA6XLYI     It was the hottest summer on record, the streets of August usually empty for fear of the heat. But as he traveled north on Haifa, Faris saw a crowd on the bridge: a cluster of buses, the scorched faces of beggars and protesters lining the sidewalks. To his right […]
May 4, 2015

The Secret Life of Bruce Ivins

Americans are both terrified and intoxicated by the word “conspiracy.” The suggestion of a criminal system—rather than a constant supply of lone “nut jobs” flying off the handle—seems to unsettle us. Many of us tend to shy away from the lessons of our parents’ generation, the lens of Watergate. We seem to prefer to see the world as particles, not waves. We find comfort in the micro, stress in the macro. The devil is in the details, right? Well, if the classic American dilemma is viewing a political crime as the product of either a lone wolf or a grand […]
April 28, 2015

The Ghost of Gulf War Syndrome

Wind is more than just wind in the deserts of Iraq. Wind stones. Wind sneaks into your ears. You understand the sickness of the first Gulf War a little better in the middle of a sandstorm because it’s here that you know through the sudden crunch in your teeth how the shit gets in. In the way that your tongue turns to paper and your nose starts to clot and your glasses ash, you start to know: what you bury in the ground, what you pile-drive deep into the earth becomes the earth, and when there’s no rain the earth […]
April 22, 2015

Murder at Camp Delta

I used to teach at North Carolina A&T, the historically black college that graduated the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A&T does not embrace Mohammed, or KSM, as he’s sometimes known, and who can blame them for excluding him from their brochures, their list of famous alumni like Jesse Jackson? Sure, Mohammed chose to go to a historically black college in the 1980s for a reason, but what does the story of race have to do with the Global War on Terror and this man who has been water-boarded more than one hundred and eighty times? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, […]
April 15, 2015

We’re Not Going To Take It

Today college students and professors across the country will be staging a walkout. As most of us now know, higher education in America is crumbling, and it’s because our colleges and universities, stripped of funding in the global recession and terrified to speak up in a wartime climate, have taken on the toxic model of corporate governance that solves every financial crisis by placing the burden of the budget cuts on the lower class, the poor. I am poor.  I have taught at UNCG, Greensboro College, North Carolina A&T, Guilford Tech, and Guilford College. Everywhere, the story’s the same: the […]