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Who Are You?

Who Are You? That seems like a simple question to answer, but if you think about it, that inquiry is much more wide-ranging and deep than we first suspect. In America, we are taught at an early age that we are our jobs. We are defined by the work we do and to seek definition beyond the 9-5 workday is to not have value in society and your essence isn’t allowed to linger long beyond the cubicle unless you are staked to a family.

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Dead Collectors

They collect bodies. They take DNA. They look for signs of murder. They are the Dead Collectors of Hurricane Katrina and they are a freelance band of volunteer “death experts” from around the country who helped process bodies. They are morticians, medical examiners and anthropologists. A good friend of mine returned from Katrina collecting with the horrors of her experience rotting in her mind. Katrina re-defined the meaning of gruesome for her and how callousness and disregard led dying lives into the dead.

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How Anti-Americanism in France Lacks Self-Questioning

by Violaine Messager

(Warning: This article does not aim at agreeing with one side or the other, either Bush or Chirac to extrapolate. It just aims at reflecting a French person’s feeling about the question of French-American relationships or rather the lack of debate in her country.)

Everyone heard the French Foreign Affairs Minister’s well-applauded speech during the UN session about the war on Iraq (or “against Iraq” if you prefer). I was impressed and I encountered difficulties figuring out my actual opinion about it. Indeed, I was torn between some kind of approval of the part to be played by the Old Europe and an inability to understand the American project I could not be satisfied with.

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Who Am I?

by Steve Gaines

I spend an hour every morning
working up a sweat on exercise machines
in a gym,
in a coronary care facility,
in a hospital,
in an age of heart
problems run amok,
in a brand new century,
in the very first year of the new millennium, in
my sixty-forth year.

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The Isherwood Indictment

My biological father’s last name is Isherwood. I was born David Isherwood. My biological father left my mother and me 10 days after my birth (the divorce court, I am told, had ordered him to stay 10 days after I was born and he stayed exactly 10 days to the minute). Not a moment longer. Not a month in the basement to help out my mother and their new son. Nothing. He was gone and in the arms of another woman so he could start a new family with her. My biological father went on to father three more children with his second wife. They divorced a few years ago.

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