“Justice is a game not worth winning.”

— Tina “Pink” Chakraborty, 2:32 a.m.

It was the third rape that did it. Honestly, the other two, I could’ve shrugged off. The first happened when I was a kid so I barely even remember it. The second happened first month of college, just your standard frat affair. But it was the third one that did it because the third wasn’t mine — it happened to my friend.

Her name was Lily Hu and she was like me, an Asian girl on the conveyor belt: studying econ, a banker-to-be. Some guy from her…


riot cop at a George Floyd protest

what I saw in the George Floyd Seattle Black Lives Matter protests

Almost the second I hit the downtown Seattle, I saw a guy get pepper sprayed. He was a gangly, white punk guy, and he’d been getting in a white female officer’s face.

“Will you get off my back?” she’d said, over and over, red-faced and irate, while he kept standing close to her, shouting about police brutality, while white high schooler girls filmed. “Will you get off my back?”

Her male colleague swept in, spraying the guy full on in the face, while me and three others watched…


We live on an island where the people didn’t dream. Trash from the nearby city washes up on our shore.

“What happens, Mommy, when you change the constellations?”

“They get all fucked-up, Honey,” she says, using the word my teachers hate. “They get all fucked-up.”

We’re at the beach, and the sky is grey and the rocks are grey and Mommy’s feet are sore. She’s sitting in a beach chair, feet up, still wearing her yellow uniform.

“Tammy gave me such a hard time today. Old cunt. She calls herself a fucking waitress. Ha! She should. She does a lot…


What happens when great crises in history don’t bring forth a great leader? That’s what I’m asking myself, as I read about Indira Gandhi and hear the name Cory Booker in reference to 2020. It seems, in history, there are times when a great idea doesn’t occur, and so we exist in a battle of bad choices. The 2016 election was one of these, in my opinion, as was the 2014 elections in India that led Modi becoming prime minister (and no doubt will return him to the throne in this year’s election.) In the 1930s you had Soviet-aligned Communists…


What happens when great crises in history don’t bring forth a great leader? That’s what I’m asking myself, as I read about Indira Gandhi and hear terrible things like ‘Kamala Harris has a chance of beating Trump.’ It seems, in history, there are times when a great idea doesn’t occur, and so we exist in a battle of bad choices. The 2016 election was one of these, in my opinion, as was the 2014 elections in India that led Modi becoming prime minister (and no doubt will return him to the throne in this year’s election.) In the 1930s you…


I’ve been thinking a lot about the summer of 2015, when I was hitchhiking around an innocent America. What do I mean by innocent? I mean the pain of conservatives hadn’t yet been exploited by Trump. I’ve been thinking about exploitation, thinking about how injustice first ripens into the fruit of opportunities before rotting, becoming the feast of parasites. The summer of 2015 was one of those moments: Let me describe to you the America I saw.

Beautiful landscape covered in needles: that’s how I’d summarize that America. Everywhere I went I was met with kindness, met with meth. It…


George Bush and Elie Wiesel (and Dalai Lama photo-bombing)

I was listening to an excellent spoken word poem the other day, by the great Kate Tempest. The poem’s called ‘Ballad of a Hero,’ and it’s from the perspective of a child hearing his father’s experience in battle. His father, fucked-up from combat, comes home and tells him to respect soldiers, but not those who send them in.

“It seems so full of honor, yes/So valiant and so bold,/But the men who send the armies in/ Send them in for gold./ …


America what can I tell you? I’ve been watching you from afar. You look better that way, these days — as bad as you look from here it must be worse up close. I believe travel is time travel — The fifties in America was not the fifties everywhere else. In Mexico you had revolution, in Egypt Pan-Arabism, in South Asia a bloody birth. I do not want to be in 2018 America. America I love you, but it hurts to love you up close.

Rapists and school shootings — Nazis and immigrants stuffed into makeshift camps like chattel. I…


I was in Prague. You might say I was there because of a shitty love affair, or because of a dead writer. You might say I was there for no reason at all. It’s all true or untrue, depending on how you flip it. I’d expected to find a dollhouse (my friend hadn’t liked Prague: ‘I was afraid I’d break it’) but instead had found something living: ornate Easter egg colored buildings covered in graffiti, mixed with that smell of autumn in an old European city: old stone, dead leaf, crisp chill. I spent the first day entirely alone, wandering…


Undercover cops, subtly tailing us.

It’s hard enough finding your hotel in rural China when you’re not being tailed by an undercover cop. The road is bumpy, lights are scarce. You make a left, a right, then shit, dead end. You want to just back up, only he’s behind you, unmarked license plate an all. So then you have to motion for him to reverse, thus breaking the delicate dance in which you pretend you don’t see him, and he pretends the same thing. And he thinks you’re trying out some trick you’ve gotten straight out of a Hollywood movie, while you’re wishing you’d watched…

Michaela Stone Cross

Writer/Journalist/Travelwench

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