Issue 402 | The Sun Magazine

June 2009

Readers Write


An automatic transmission, a punch in the nose, Roy Rogers

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Beyond Vietnam

A Time To Break Silence

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

By Martin Luther King Jr.
Sy Safransky's Notebook

June 2009

The morning light makes promises it has no intention of keeping, but why quibble? Look how it shines on my aging face and my fading to-do list. Look how it caresses my wife of twenty-five years. As if darkness has been banished. As if everything is lit from within.

By Sy Safransky


There are situations in life to which the only satisfactory response is a physically violent one. If you don’t make that response, you continually relive the unresolved situation over and over in your life.

Russell Hoban

The Sun Interview

What Jesus Would Do

John Dear On Nonviolence, Civil Disobedience, And Doing Time

For the record, I don’t believe you can be a Christian and support war in any form — or, for that matter, support greed that leads to global poverty or any form of injustice, racism, or sexism. Christians are supposed to be peacemakers. The only thing you can say for sure about Jesus is that he was nonviolent. That was his whole message. Martin Luther King Jr. said that this is actually the most exciting era for a Christian to be alive, because we’re at the brink of destruction, and our only choice is to lead humanity back to the nonviolence of Jesus. Gandhi said that Jesus was the most active practitioner of nonviolence in the history of the world, and the only people who don’t see that are Christians. It’s incredible!

By John Malkin
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


“Please, call me Dr. Jim.” My father, whose boots were caked with hog manure, appeared relieved, and they sat down to review what would happen on the day of my sister’s surgery. Dina had to have her back operated on, or her S-shaped spinal column would eventually crush her heart.

By Doug Crandell
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Vertigo

My vertigo came on suddenly. It was past midnight, and I was listening to Coltrane for Lovers and doing the dishes when I began to wobble.

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Martyr’s Mirror

Two shotgun-wielding sheriff’s deputies barred our entry through the gates of the naval transmitter station, but our group of twenty-one protesters radiated the assurance of the overly prepared. We had trained a whole month for this moment. Though the deputies couldn’t tell from looking at us, we were skilled in the art of moral jujitsu.

By Fred Bahnson

Brightest Corners

My sponsor told me this would happen. “Temptation comes from the brightest corners and at the most unexpected times,” he said. I washed my hands and face in cold water and flushed the toilet to make it appear like a genuine bathroom visit. I walked out of the bathroom, said I had to go. She scrambled her sorrys and for the first time in my life I meant it when I said, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

By Erin Stalcup

Green Street Incidents

I open my eyes and an ex-stripper tells me to fuck off. Then it must be a couple hours later and I’m upstairs and it’s dark and I’m thinking of quicker ways to kill myself. A far-off foghorn is warning ships away from the cliffs. It’s a sad sound, long and low. I can taste on my teeth what I drank all night. Darling Nikki is asleep on her back on the mattress next to me — I call her that after the Prince song.

By Jon Boilard