After class, a Haitian girl asked me to look at her poetry, and then a black girl came in and started crying and explained that her uncle, whom she lives with, had locked her in the house for days because he flew into a rage when she asked him for money for books. “It’ll be all right,” I said, as I gingerly touched her shoulder.
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Maybe I’m too insensitive and hard-edged, but I learned early on here in Brooklyn that if I was ever going to make it, I couldn’t be any “softer” than I could help being. Of course, Justin’s from Connecticut, which is why he only mildly complains about a driver cutting in front of him on West Street while I yell out, “You bastid! Doncha know how to drive?!”