This post is lovingly ghost-written by Big Friend so an exhausted Beth could take a much-needed day off.
In Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, high school football rules Friday night in a way that can only be rivaled by West Texas. This poem captures the feeling of this part of the country, filled with cool nights and Eastern European immigrants in a magical way.
As soon as the leaves begin to fall and the crisp air hits my noise I start thinking about ‘Polacks nursing long beers’ and bodies that ‘gallop terribly’ into one another. There is truly nothing like football in the fall in Western Pennsylvania.
James Wright honors and mourns the lives of these hard working Americans who look for hope and a way out through their children, but for every Montana and Marino there are thousands of others that never find their way out.
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio | James Wright
In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.
All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.