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The Risk Takers (a prose poem)



Joined: 7/30/2011
Posts: 2
Jsimonds

The Risk Takers

Who knows what made them do it? Fall of 1934, bad year for gangsters, growth time for Nazis, a gas-house gang of a different stripe than Dizzy Dean and his Cardinals who tamed the Tigers in another Clyde Beatty Depression distraction, continued in Bernie Bierman’s Golden Gophers, Giants in the Earth plowing to national success year after single-wing year, and Jimmy Braddock looking for fights, winning, losing and grabbing the Max crown that shunned him. My parents were headline readers but cautious strugglers watching history from back-row seats. He admired Shanty Hogan, a Somerville hero who caught for the Braves then in Boston; she bit her tongue on the matter of sports, outflanked later by three sons and their father. Did a rabbit leap from FDR’s briefcase—some Harry Hopkins-Jim Farley magic that lured their Republican bear from its cave? What did it take for a night-school accountant and his former bank clerk stay-at-home wife to launch a child in a world of weird chances held together by hard games and soft strings waiting for something to happen, a ball to bounce or the music to start? Benny Goodman’s Moon Glow warmed the icy night air. Rudy Vallee’s You Oughta Be in Pictures gave ordinary folks their starry twinklings. It Happened One Night was the big movie story, but Claudette and Clark were not Ruth and Al, though maybe Olivia deHaviland or Jane Wyman could have played her, and Franchot Tone and Leslie Howard could have dueled for his part. They also were not Mr. and Mrs. North, though good at sipping friends’ intrigues, but what happened one night was a mysterious late-fall planting of a bursting July 4th infant of 1935, a Moon Glow moon child, in a year when fewer arrived than any other in the 20th. The timing may have been scary for them, though they did it again in ’38 and ’42. Who were these people, spawners of sons who shared their zig-zag survivals? Dog-paddling in the Hudson before people knew better, catching the five-cent bus at age six to a school near a pier where other kids’ fathers boxed cardboard, college degrees in 45 months, serving in peacetime armies, lasting in jobs with hang-in-there goals, reaching the New Deal safe zones—the OASDI oases and FICA vineyards—places of grandparenting, pills, bills and birthday cards, where coffee now celebrates time to reflect, not stimulate focus or simulate care for the next deadline project. But what were they thinking—New England survivors—when they jumped (or slipped) at the chance to have kids? Depression romantics apparently needed no reason.


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Comment by Jsimonds


Joined: 7/30/2011
Posts: 2

The Risk Takers

Who knows what made them do it? Fall of 1934, bad year for gangsters, growth time for Nazis, a gas-house gang of a different stripe than Dizzy Dean and his Cardinals who tamed the Tigers in another Clyde Beatty Depression distraction, continued in Bernie Bierman’s Golden Gophers, Giants in the Earth plowing to national success year after single-wing year, and Jimmy Braddock looking for fights, winning, losing and grabbing the Max crown that shunned him. My parents were headline readers but cautious strugglers watching history from back-row seats. He admired Shanty Hogan, a Somerville hero who caught for the Braves then in Boston; she bit her tongue on the matter of sports, outflanked later by three sons and their father. Did a rabbit leap from FDR’s briefcase—some Harry Hopkins-Jim Farley magic that lured their Republican bear from its cave? What did it take for a night-school accountant and his former bank clerk stay-at-home wife to launch a child in a world of weird chances held together by hard games and soft strings waiting for something to happen, a ball to bounce or the music to start? Benny Goodman’s Moon Glow warmed the icy night air. Rudy Vallee’s You Oughta Be in Pictures gave ordinary folks their starry twinklings. It Happened One Night was the big movie story, but Claudette and Clark were not Ruth and Al, though maybe Olivia deHaviland or Jane Wyman could have played her, and Franchot Tone and Leslie Howard could have dueled for his part. They also were not Mr. and Mrs. North, though good at sipping friends’ intrigues, but what happened one night was a mysterious late-fall planting of a bursting July 4th infant of 1935, a Moon Glow moon child, in a year when fewer arrived than any other in the 20th. The timing may have been scary for them, though they did it again in ’38 and ’42. Who were these people, spawners of sons who shared their zig-zag survivals? Dog-paddling in the Hudson before people knew better, catching the five-cent bus at age six to a school near a pier where other kids’ fathers boxed cardboard, college degrees in 45 months, serving in peacetime armies, lasting in jobs with hang-in-there goals, reaching the New Deal safe zones—the OASDI oases and FICA vineyards—places of grandparenting, pills, bills and birthday cards, where coffee now celebrates time to reflect, not stimulate focus or simulate care for the next deadline project. But what were they thinking—New England survivors—when they jumped (or slipped) at the chance to have kids? Depression romantics apparently needed no reason.


Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:08:21 AM
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