April 20, 2014

Tony Gloeggler

ANYWAY

After we dropped dirt
on my father’s coffin
the long line of cars
drove back to the house.
We stood in circles,
took turns sitting
at the kitchen counter
and ate cold cuts.
My mother introduced me
to all her work friends
as her son, the poet.
One young woman knew
it wasn’t the time or place,
but always wondered why
people wrote poetry. I told her
I hoped to become rich
and famous, fall in and out
of love with multitudes of smart,
beautiful, mixed-up women.
She shook her head, said
maybe I should leave you alone
so you can go somewhere
and write. I didn’t follow
her, didn’t apologize for acting
like an asshole. I walked
upstairs, opened the door
to my old room, looked
for my bed and desk, my stacks
of albums. I wanted to blast
“Darkness on the Edge
of Town,” start writing
in a new notebook. I wanted
my father to pound his fist
on the door, yell turn
that goddamn shit down,
stick his head inside and ask
what are you doing anyway?
I wanted to hand him
my notebook, watch him
sit in his chair, turn on
the lamp and read, slowly,
his forefinger underlining
all the words, his lips
whispering every syllable.

from Rattle #13, Summer 2000

__________

Tony Gloeggler: “I’m not sure I ever wanted to be a writer or poet—in most ways I feel poetry is elitist and no one I grew up with or work with reads it and too often I can’t convince myself that they’re missing something important. I think writing poetry is just another of those things that always makes me feel like I don’t quite fit in. Like when I was a four-year-old and wore this big heavy leg brace and a huge Frankenstein boot on the other or when I was a superstar schoolyard jock with hair down to my ass or when I was a long hair and never touched any drugs or when I’m the only Caucasian in the group home where I work or I’m a poet who perfectly understands why hardly anyone reads poetry or needs to. Still, I write poetry and it matters a lot to me. I write for myself, though I would love to have a lot of people read my work. But mostly I feel at home when I’m writing, like I’m doing one of the things I’m supposed to do and when I get it right, when a poem is done and I can tell it’s good, well, it just lifts me. It makes me fool myself into believing that I was the only one who could do this, make this poem, and it’s one of those times when sticking out or standing out is all good.” (web)

Tony Gloegger is this week’s guest on the Rattlecast. Click here to watch live or archived.

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