Micrograffiti: Ben Franklin by Michael Noll24/11/2010
Drove across the Ben Franklin bridge from Philly to murder capital of the nation, and I said, not knowing one side of the river from the other, “I’ve always wanted to cross this bridge,” because have you seen it? Two towers, woven steel cables the size of your chest, spanning the river wider than anything from where I’m from, wide enough for that beluga whale that swam up the Delaware that summer. We’re halfway over, the port and dead shipping yards behind us, a dead city before us, she says that someone from her family is from there. He carries a gun, drives a van, picks up furniture off the street, couches with no cushions, no springs, no legs, no back, no upholstery, no arms – just an empty curb – rough town, even the couches got out. Babies point pistols through crib bars, their mamas hand over cigarettes and say, “Give it to me in the arm.” We’re on those streets now, circling to find the way back, facing a dead end, this guy, city of Camden on his shirt, prickles on his head where the hair’s growing back, my wife’s saying “Drive, drive,” and I think—
That’s all you got?
Michael Noll likes bridges.