It’s a Philadelphia Morning
Only it’s the NorCal version with a fickle haze.
The Detective goes for his morning run.
It doesn’t take long for him to spot the blood glittering in the Panhandle.
He establishes a perimeter.
There’s something in the air.
A blend of sulfur, sweat and something unclassifiable yet familiar
A tinge both ancient and new that makes him question the newness of the murder scene.
It’s something he’s sensed and seen elsewhere.
It’s in the runner who glides through him carrying the weight of an uninsured future.
It’s in the African American mother of three being called a queen over an empire of nothing every time she turns on Fox News.
It’s with the girl nervously shaking her leg on the crunchy elevated slab in the doctors office hoping that this negative will equal something positive for her.
It’s in the lonely graphic designer by day, aspiring dj by night hoping success will blot out the pain of those who’ve left him behind.
It’s in the middle school art teacher whose classroom is a mobile cart of recycled supplies juggling six classes of disengaged youth.
It’s with the housing rights activist who has defended and saved an innumerable amount of people from eviction now being served a notice to vacate her beloved flat of nearly two decades.
It’s in the rapper with the baritone voice his generation so desperately needs to hear finding himself silenced by the whirr of the blender at the Peets he’s pulling doubles at.
It’s with the day laborer in front of the Uhaul rental store with a family here and there, staring down the end of another work day with no work.
It’s with the security guard on her feet for 12 hours circling the Barry McGee sculpture so that her only son can avoid the pitfalls of the public school system.
It’s in the longshoreman whose grandfather fought in ’34 for the union that’s delicately being eroded around him.
It’s with the journalism student with a torn paperback of All the President’s Men in his front pocket witnessing the Bronze Age of new Yellow Journalism that the previous Golden era gave birth to.
It’s with the task rabbit running from cleaning solar panels to chicken coops as he chases permanent employment elsewhere.
It’s with the actress coveting a role in the theater troupe mumbling and memorizing her lines as she restocks shoes at Nordstroms.
It’s with the aging engineer giving museum tours in the second act of his life, struggling to finish a definite film theory book on Hitchcock before his number is called.
It’s with the freshly graduated purveyors of an artists project trying to give blood to a lifeless scene that they’d be right to abandon but continue to do it anyway.
It’s with the Guatemalan mother of two struggling to learn English to work that extra third job on Thursday nights.
It’s with the Uber driver shuttling faded yuppies on weekends to make a dent in that chain shackled to his ankles when she was handed her diploma.
It’s with the backpacker with a stack of notebooks built from an era when men howled from their time on the road.
It’s with the aspiring history teacher fighting structures, apparatuses, and cutbacks to give any form of context to her
It’s with the art handler whose only contact with a canvas in months have been the Cinderella paintings he hangs for the Disney museum.
It’s with that shining velvet dressed gal from Georgia navigating the lonely terrain of a new city dominated by an unfriendly Crap-Creative-Class.
It’s with the radical transgender poet and artist working in the realm of the unmarketable fringes of the immaterial.
It’s with the veteran everything-in-a-can activist with a resume of battles stretching from Seattle 1999 to Oakland 2011 sitting checking his email wondering when the wood will be wet enough again.
All these faces and more assemble with no one to avenge them at the ironically titled restaurant on 19th and Irving for two dollar taco Tuesday.
They genuflect in the wall of noise until they a hear a voice calling their numbers all at once saying:
“This is a fighter’s town
Hold down the line.”