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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Summer Symphony

By Franklin Gottheimer '39

The Magpie, June 1938, v. 22, n. 2., p. 42.

The air is stagnant:
heavy with dust.
The breezes stir it not.
Cars exhuming carbon gases
lend another stench.
The elevated rumbles deeply,
like a beast awakening.
The mass of buildings
swelters 'neath the sun.
The oppressive heat
rises from dirty pavements,
moving in shimmering waves.
The corpulent figure
wipes his brow
and gasps for breath.
At fashionable cafes
lining uptown sidewalks
women pause from shopping
(in from Nassau for the day)
to drink pink concoctions.
In a bar on Broadway
quiet and peaceful talk
drifts over tall drinks.
Little girls in frills
twitter under lock and key
in green Gramercy Park.
Not far to the east
in a river of sewage,
slum kids abandon heat
to wallow deep in filth.
In a hovel on Tenth Street
a man cowers with a woman
he came from far to see,
while blue-coated police
stop up his lawless life
with hot, pungent smoke.
Members of the curb exchange,
standing on the floor,
watch a day of quiet buying.
A weary installment collector
mounts miles of stairs
to have some greasy coins
pressed into oily hands.
The exodus of noisy children,
disturbing the cool depths
of Grand Central's monotone,
continues through the month.
Sounds are discordant.
Smells are acrid.
Tastes are pungent.
Scenes are shimmery.
Sensations are monotonous.
The city yawns deeply,
but does not fall asleep.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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