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 punchthe 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.