Has been painting the larger than life stories of New York’s tunnel-dwellers for 30 years and counting. When the first tower was bombed, New York’s finest was given the order to sweep the tunnels. Those evicted and or jailed were charged with “quality of life” crime. It was estimated that 5,000 people, some in families, lived below ground at that time. One ‘mole’ said people scare him more than the trains and rats he contends with every day. Another man by the name of Carlos, lives and prays below the tracks with a fully stocked dorm-sized refrigerator. Among the things I noticed was the quality of each person’s skin, clear and taut, to say nothing of the invisibility with which some of us above-ground cloak ourselves to avoid ‘seeing’ those below. I noted as well how all the climbing and crawling keeps the subterraneans limber.
God bless Johnny and Sister Laurie who help those who dwell in the dark, who live below the radar, but not our hearts.
Tonight, in an NPR broadcast treating Pennsylvania’s track record on child abuse, the discussants got it wrong. The issue is not that sexual abuse of children is not more widespread than people are willing to admit but that sexual abuse of children is more prevalent than we collectively are willing to remember. It is not coincidence that got legislation to protect animals passed 50 years before similar protections for children. It is not enough to raise a hue and cry, ‘Shame on us, America’. We actually need to DO something. Silence is permission. Inaction in this matter is action.
One of the most heartbreaking things I seem called to witness is a student’s hustle overcompensate him or her right out of an actual education. To survive, many of us have learned to enact a modified Uncle Tom where conformity or adaptation looks like confident posturing and competent word use while the reality of mastery of either competence or confidence slips further and further from one’s grasp. You want to know the paradox? Change is what one seeks yet it is the very thing one has been forced to resist at one’s peril all this while. So now, it is difficult to determine what requests for integration and what requests for assimilation serve one’s ultimate purposes and therefore should be accepted.
And wins. Gave motorists quite an eyeful this afternoon from the patio. It was golden and warm out so the door had been open all morning. I could ignore the invitation no longer and as I’d already snacked through every other available post-Thanksgiving option, I risked it and kept my date with the pomegranate – arguably one of the messiest fruits known to humankind. While the skin had morphed into shell, there was enough juice to race the knife to the plate and stain my fingers. Though outside I could not bring myself to spit the pips over the wall. Still I did not make for a dainty picture. Eye on the mend, I was happy to be outside in pajamas with no papers waiting to be graded all weekend long.