All morning, the actors
Anthony Quinn and Mickey Rooney
take sides against Gleason
as to which voice for the fighter—
part saloons and tobacco smoke,
part engineer boots
landing heavy on pavement.
And part Dementia pugilistica.
Gleason / Maish sees the big lummox,
a contender once, Mountain Rivera,
as his last best hope
for evading a beating. (He owes a guy
who knows a guy.) He has to pay up—
we all do—though the template
is decency; was all along.
To Maish, it comes down
to laying a bet
on which round
even a winner will go down.
How can he know how it feels
to have only more nothing to put
in the wound nothing closes?
Even a punch-drunk fighter
is smart enough to sniff Doom.
And, sure enough, next fight: Cassius
Clay drops him in seven.
After, in the locker-room,
a bare light bulb glows grievance
and its partially visible
echo. Some things
wear their losses. Some people too.
Photo By: Zach Baranowski