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Robert McKean Mr. Mason’s Movie Camera Summer 1958 “Sandy, stop it! Gergo? Do something with them.” “Roza, I have to get dressed.” “Gergo, I thought you weren’t going to work today? Is that the baby crying?” “For a little—” “Gergo, you told me you weren’t? The chicken—I haven’t even started the chicken yet. Sandy, leave your brother alone, d’you hear me? Gergo, this is your family who’s coming, not mine. Sándor—I said stop that! Gergo, please . . .” At night the skies over Ganaego trembled like a lamp whose bulb had come loose in its socket. In the passageways between the parallel banks of row houses, orange and green shadows wobbled against the wood, and grains of fly ash blew across

our shared porches. Black sugar, Papa called it, and for a long time that perplexed me. You could always smell the steelworks. A limestone and burned match odor that clung to your clothes and followed you indoors from room to room. And you could always hear it: the hoarse bellow rising from the throats of the Bessemers; the piccolo chatter of the machine shops; the spit and fizz of escaping steam; and the whistle, more shriek than whistle, really, the imperious ribbon of sound that sent the men streaming into the smoky brick streets like so many flecks of fly ash themselves. When locomotives drawing strings of coal gondolas bowled down our steepshouldered valley, the pane in my bedroom window hummed in its frame, and that awed me. And when Mr. William J. Pennystone, who shoveled that coal in the Coke Works

Crack the Spine - Issue 132  

Literary Magazine