pat walters

freelance journalist in memphis

dirty red

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Wow. What a story. Rick Bragg, in The St. Petersburg Times, 16 years ago last week:

The neighborhood has low rent and no trees, a leaky bucket of a place where dreams seem to run right on through. Dirty Red’s mother pries the boy’s fingers from the hem of her dress and tells him a hundredth time: “Baby, it’s okay to play.”

Dirty Red knows if he goes outside children will call him names and punch and pinch him, like the day before and the day before that. To please his mother he walks outside, but instead of going to play he doubles back up the stairs and sits just outside the closed door.

Dirty Red can’t face the neighborhood, not today. He curls up in a ball on the concrete steps and sticks a thumb in his mouth. People step over him like litter.

I have a lot of writing ahead of me tonight. This is the food that’ll keep me at it. This and a barrel of coffee.

(via Gangrey)

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Written by patwalters

September 7, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Posted in narrative journo

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