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Currently showing posts tagged The New Yorker

  • “I don’t believe in depression,” he said. “I can’t afford to.” Justin Torres talks brothers, homelessness and the mid-term elections in "The Sordid Necessity of Living for Others."

    I really love Justin Torres and "The Sordid Necessity of Living for Others" is really something beautiful. You can read the whole piece here, though in the interim, do enjoy some excerpt.

    "When I mention to people that my brother is homeless, those who have never experienced real economic precarity invariably want to know: What happened? But most people who come from working-class backgrounds have seen homelessness open up like a sinkhole and swallow the life of a friend or a loved one. Their reaction is much more like: Oh, shit, it happened again. My brother’s story is unremarkable. For most of his adult life, he had a full-time blue-collar job in the Bronx. When he lost his work, things began to unravel. He kept downsizing until he was sharing a single room. He went to a city college late in life, and student loans helped keep him afloat until he no longer qualified for the payments. He was evicted and decided to try his luck in California.


    "When he texted me to let me know that he was here, I was surprised. We’d mostly lost track of one another. I spend long stretches of time away from the city. He was on the streets for several months before I returned and made contact, six weeks ago. He had tried the shelters but found them too hellish. I didn’t ask what he had seen; there was something about the way his face darkened, the way he repeated, three times, the word “nightmare,” that stopped me. He told me that he would rather sleep on the sidewalk, or the beach if possible, or in the doorway of a church. Staying out of the system, he claimed, was the best way to stay sane. It was hard to argue with that."