circle of brotherly love

I watched some moving pictures of Philadelphia last night on tv. Wandering wounded on the corner, young black men with babies tucked in their arms – 9mm handguns nestled inside their waistbands – they had lost the ability to form meaning with their mouths, nothing of any import or note got said, and the police were simply going through the motions, from one paycheck to the next, glad just to have a job; a badge and a pension and good health insurance. A generous degree or two of self-respect.

Everybody runs everywhere, it seems. When they are not high and swimming aimlessly in circles. Round and around like wheezing lung fish in a puddle. Or shooting up in a vacant lot. Stepping on some crack.

Shoals of knives. A boost up off the kerb. A stroll on the safer side of the street; goats and gold rope chains.

And you just can\’t make the rent. Young men sprawled face down on the dirty tarmac and sisters, cousins wailing. Paramedics breaking between the waves. Dull condolences and whispered spitting feathers on the road. But you might just make that next bag. The next twelve. Everybody is hustling or else being hustled. There is no middle ground. The script is so derelict it might reduce one to tears – there is more money to be made, it\’s said, peddling McDonalds. Flipping burgers. And all those bloods on the corner are motherless boys. Only aunts.

And you just can\’t make the rent. And the police sure as fuck don\’t care. Their barbecues and secret handshakes.

But this is Philadelphia. \”Last year it was \’Kiladelphia\’,\” a young hood intones, his shirt wound about him like a shroud. It looks a lot like any other dead end cul-de-sac. Too hot to breathe in August, cold right through til April.

No trace of Philly Soul. No ornamental tail fins. Industry on the wane. Gamble & Huff cocked a snoot and walked.

And It did not move me. Somebody left the video rolling. Someone forgot to sweep out the ashes in the morning.

\”playground needles\”: image by grafitto 17. WATCH \’LOUIS THEROUX: LAW & DISORDER IN PHILADELPHIA\’


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Hello. I am still breathing, if you wondered at this latest absence. I needed to step back from the drop awhile, the empty space between the rails, to let the game play out. It has not been pretty for