Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mill Hunky (1964)

Dawn Potter

Raised in a coal patch flaunts his mustache survives
on pierogis and Coca-Cola splashes liquid steel into girder molds
plays the squeezebox plucks the guitar gulps dago red from a pint bottle
sleeps it off in the Ford bets on the dog races carries a switchblade
cheats at cards curves his rough palm round the hip of a big Slovene girl
from Johnstown sings In Heaven There Is No Beer sings I’ve Got a Wife at Home
swears at the umpire dreams of victory staggers into a church
at two in the morning loves his brother as himself ignores advice
spends his pay on a gold tooth

this bent old man with no teeth left a shabby dog
and five grandbabies Beloved Be Faithful he sings
and curves his rough palm over the dog’s
narrow head.

[From Chestnut Ridge, my verse-history-in-perpetual-progress, which centers on the people and the landscape of southwestern Pennsylvania. For a synopsis explanation of hunky culture, look here.]


Carlene said...

Would this be the genesis of the word "hunk" as it describes a beefy, handsome fella?

Dawn Potter said...

That I don't know, but I've wondered. A lot of hunks among those young hunkys, that's for sure.

Carlene said...

did a little more looking around; I find it interesting that the character Hunk in Wizard of Oz was a farmworker, who became the scarecrow.

Hm. A whole demographic I didn't even know about.