May 2009

Robert Grunst


This marks an author's first online publication Robert Grunst teaches at The College of St. Catherine in Saint Paul. The poem in this issue comes from a manuscript called While Horses Eat Oranges. The Smallest Bird in North America, his first book, was published by New Issues Press (2000).

Smethers at the Kid Gavilan, Carmen Basilio Fight    

—World Welterweight Championship, September 18, 1953

But for the television's light there is no light in the front room.
2nd round, the master of the bolo punch—the Cuban Hawk—,
has been knocked down. Lawrence leans into a plume
of smoke, nearer to the screen, the ring in Syracuse, New York.
The little welterweight Lawrence will never meet he loves
for no sure reason, or loves the music of the name, not Basilio,
the onion picker, but Kid Gavilan, Gavilan with both gloved
fists behind him on the mat, the crowd roar swelling bass-
through-crazy-screeching above the counting of the referee
and Basilio's dancing. Gavilan with blood seeping like the juice
of sugar cane down his chin; Gavilan rising to one knee;
Gavilan calling back his wings, his combinations, his magic
feints and crosses: Gavilan winning the decision in fifteen,
Lawrence too wound up to think of sleep, Saturday or fresh
cigar. The orchestra of hurt's engagement has been cancelled,
if only by this night's cut men, ice and hemostats, flash-
bulbs, shutters clattering, the spectacle, the extraordinary belt.



Robert Grunst: Poetry
Copyright ©2009 The Cortland Review Issue 43The Cortland Review