Dark Broadway
Steven Berringer/Photography

As the sun falls and shadows consume the center of downtown, the lights start to take over Broadway. The world seems to breath again, commerce ceases early, a few nice restaurants remain open and twinkle through barriers of polished glass. The rag tag spread of shops that are Broadway have stopped hawking socks and tee-shirts and princess dresses. They have all rolled down their steel shutters encasing the street in stillness. The boulevard is getting ready for night.

There is an uneasy calm. The daylight hours are so crowded and hectic that when the sun falls it's as if the water recedes leaving crazy seashells and flopping fish. The residents belong here now and the rest of us belong somewhere else. Some are staking a claim by laying out blankets or cardboard, but not ready to lay down yet, they hover over a few belongings. These are portable people.

The sharks start to appear, glinting, steely eyed and looking dangerous. Most swim on bicycles, a faster get away should they see a strike. They don't seem to notice the residents, why steal from someone who has nothing. Clumps of workers hang near bus stops, trying to get home before the night cascades down on us all.

An occasional time traveler shuffles past, seeing nothing and everything at the same time. Mostly they are men. Men, unable to play the game, failures at capitalism, for a million reasons. Not smart enough, not tough enough, not cruel enough to survive in a world that cherishes cold hearted efficiency. To be a human is to fail at it.

The lumps along the sidewalk are not as numerous as a few blocks over near 7th and San Julian; the heart of Skid Row. But they settle in after dark and sleep in their well worn spots among the old depleted Broadway theaters. Broken sidewalks that used to be ornate now buckle under the weight of sad souls, awash in urine and solitude. Even the sharks have swam off to wherever sharks sleep. The residents burrow into their concrete.

It is now dark on Broadway...