Give me your poor, your broken-hearted, your destitute and your damned. Give me the young woman on the train with the metal stubs in her lips and the sun-burned bruises on the back of her thighs. Give me the sleeping salaryman beside her, suited up for the day, although it's already lights-out at five in the morning, his time. Give me the homeless man at the station, who lives nowhere else but at the bottom of the steps to a place that leads somebody other than himself anywhere and everywhere. Give me the skinny Nigerian woman who slowly hauls her way out of the African bar at two-forty in the morning, lugging crates to the back of the restaurant. Give me my students, hundreds of them, feeble-minded and almost brilliant, energetic and lethargic, harbingers of a new age and dim, potent signals that barely light the present one.
Give me all of them. I shall not make them free, but I can possibly give them a slanted voice that, if not true, at least might be heard.