Monthly Archives: February 2010

I’m Gonna Write a Different Speech (part three)

It wasn’t the first time a conflict had erupted with boys from the projects across the street, but it doesn’t happen often.  Usually, the threat is worse than the event.  Usually, some combination of peace-keeping peers and school staff snuff it out.  But this, three floors below, looked like chaos.  R.D., a willowy, charismatic boy, is notorious for doing things like flashing signs and shouting, “Crips for life!” to the Bloods across the street when they stroll back and forth making threats.  He thinks in terms of armies: us against them.  For years, we’ve been fighting to keep his head in school while the street beckons; it looked like we were about to lose the battle. Continue reading


Free-Floating Rage (part two)

Looking back, I should have seen what was going to happen.  I should have known that squirrely Melvin, a freshman, was too self-conscious to deal with the brutal honesty of Minnie’s speech.

When Minnie got up to speak, she clutched her paper with both hands and bore down on it, rushing through the words.  In the loaded half-second after she finished, her words hung nakedly in the room.  Melvin chuckled.  He couldn’t take it.  A few others giggled in discomfort, and Minnie, eyes brimming, flew out the door. Continue reading

Stand Up and Speak (part one)

“Wait, so like, this can be really personal?”

“That’s kind of the whole point,” I replied.

“Then I’m changing my topic,” Minnie declared.

“Do it.”  She bent toward her paper, and the page became a tangle of her loopy, wild cursive. Continue reading