Last week Donald Trump caused outrage by suggesting that women who had illegal abortions should be punished; so much outrage, in fact, that he was forced to backtrack. This week a Belfast woman was convicted under the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act after she took pills to induce an abortion. Abortion is illegal in […]



Short Story: Gods and Rivers

Short Story: Gods and Rivers

Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Haris Ahmed


There sits a village perched between two hills. Here flows a river so pristine that people would sing eulogies to its name. Around hundred families populate either side of this mighty river which, they say, descends directly from the heavens as a gift for their virtuous deeds in the previous life. On either side, the village borders on an impregnable forest, thus effectively severing all contacts with the world that lay beyond.

In the local mythology, humanity was a group of two complaisant tribes living in harmony in the land of Gods. It was the unrelenting wrath of the Gods on one man’s folly that would banish entire humanity to Earth. Humanity was then doomed to wander on Earth until they could identify the group to which this debauch belonged to.


It’s the seventh day of the week. It is believed that the gods would…

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In Defense of Poetry: “Oh My Heart”

radical eyes for equity

“No, no. You’ve got something the test and machines will never be able to measure: you’re artistic. That’s one of the tragedies of our times, that no machine has ever been built that can recognize that quality, appreciate it, foster it, sympathize with it.”

Paul Proteus to his wife Anita in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano

“So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens” is, essentially, a grammatical sentence in the English language. While the syntax is somewhat out of the norm, the diction is accessible to small children—the hardest word likely being “depends.” But “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams is much more than a sentence; it is a poem:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

A relatively simple English language sentence shaped into purposeful lines and stanzas becomes poetry. And like…

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The Vanishing: What Happened to the Thousands Still Missing in Mexico?

The Vanishing: What Happened to the Thousands Still Missing in Mexico?


Grace Rubenstein | Longreads | April 2016 | 19 minutes (4,634 words)

Somewhere in Mexico, someone knows the answer to the question that drives Araceli García Luna day and night. The person or persons who know might be criminals or government officials—or both. The jagged beige mountains around the northern city of Monterrey, which hold so many horrible secrets, surely know. You would think, given the circumstances, that someone would help her find out.

Araceli lives in a small apartment on the outskirts of Mexico City. She gets up in the morning and goes to work in maintenance at a local middle school, the same job she’s had for 24 years. She comes home by 5 p.m. and stays there, with two of her grown children, her grandson, and a little frizzy-haired dog named Chiquitín. Araceli doesn’t go out anymore—not for events or unnecessary errands. Except that, once every…

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What I Think About When I Think About Conceal and Carry On A College Campus

During my first year as a graduate student, my professor or one of my fellow students, brought up how we felt if students were allowed to bring a firearm on campus or in the classroom. My professor’s answer was “The day they allow firearms on this campus is the day I no longer teach at this university.” This professor had everything to lose if she left, being someone who had tenure, and she would still rather quit her job than lose her life to one person who decided to open fire, no matter their reason.
Yes, being in college is scary when there are a million things that can happen to you, but that’s nothing new. Colleges have never been safe. To bring a firearm to campus is simply lighting a fire and hoping you can control the flames.

Teri Carter's Library


  1. I think about the staggering number of people on a college campus—15,000, 30,000, 50,000.
    1. Who are the good guys?
    2. Who are the bad guys?
    3. How can you tell the difference?
  2. I think about rape, already rampant on campuses (read Jon Krakauer’s MISSOULA), with the added bonus of a perfectly acceptable firearm to intimidate the victim.
  3. I think about questions to ask teachers:
    1. Do you want to carry a gun? Do your peers?
    2. Where would you keep your gun in the day-to-day—office, desk drawer, briefcase, purse, suit pocket, under the dais?
    3. How do you feel about standing exposed before a roomful of students carrying concealed firearms?
    4. How will you feel when meeting alone with a student in your office, with the door closed, if you think he/she is carrying?
  4. I think about skill and ability with weapons.
    1. How do I know you’ve had enough training?
    2. How do I know you’ve had

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The Choice

That was really moving and a great addition to the on-going discussion underway that will probably be underway for the rest of our lives.
Thank you for sharing your mother’s story.

Teri Carter's Library

img010 My Mother, age 18, 1963

On January 22, 1973, by a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law and made abortion legal in the United States. Roe v. Wade stated that a woman had the choice to end a pregnancy in early months without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months. This ruling was based on her right to privacy.

In the years before Roe v. Wade, my mother gave birth to 3 children: in 1965, 1968 and 1972. Her first 2 pregnancies began without a husband, which in the 1960s meant she had to get married twice to men she should never have even considered marrying. My mother did not have the option of ending her pregnancies. She also did not have access to birth control, though Enovid, the first birth control pill approved by the FDA, had been on the market since 1960, and…

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