August 13, 2018

Tony Gloeggler

SOME LONG AGO SUMMER

I once slept with a woman who worked
a few months at the group home I run,
but only after I fired her for a no call
no show weekend that left the shifts
severely undermanned. Next day,
we ran into each other on the subway,
rode through Manhattan together,
hugged goodbye. Four days later,
Denise waited for me outside work, went
all the way home with me. After fucking
the night away, we went to the diner
for breakfast. Grits for her, home fries
for me. We ended up at the schoolyard.
She took me down low, bumped me
with her lovely ass, while I tried
to ignore my hard on. I kept the score
close, but always won. She was younger,
I was older. I had money, she had none.
I was lighter, she was darker. She was
beautiful, I was not. We never could agree
on a radio station. We both liked Al Green,
but never the same songs. She loved
the back-to-back black shows on NBC
Thursday nights, I preferred Law
& Order. She never read my poetry.
I felt her rap rhymes silly and forced.
She liked things rough and hard, I liked
to watch my cum slide slowly down
her dark inner thighs. I didn’t know
if she was hoping to get her job back,
looking for some kind of love or a few
weekends of outside-the-neighborhood
fun. I wasn’t doing any thinking at all.
Just last week, she was standing in line
at the corner bodega. Coffee for her,
Snapple for me. She still looked good.
Me, worse than before. Once, she said,
she saw me walking by in some long ago
summer as she sat in a shady park rocking
her baby for an afternoon nap. She said
I never looked her way, but she knows
if I did I would have stopped, leaned
down for a soft quick kiss and told her
that her daughter was as beautiful
as she is. I smiled, knew she was right.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets

__________

Tony Gloeggler: “Is a ballplayer an athlete? My identity as a kid was being the best baseball player in the neighborhood. It was the one place I connected with my dad playing catch after dinner, him in a crouch and me with a Juan Marichael wind-up or hands on my knees at third base and him trying to hit one through me. The local hoods gave me a free pass because they played in the same leagues as me, and they knew I was better than them and respected it. I still hate running and exercising and when I went for my high school try out, the blue-eyed blonde senior captain laughed at me when I couldn’t figure out a four count jumping jack and my arms started shaking at my fifth push-up, but in my first intra-squad game, I threw one behind his head, stared him down, then struck out the side on nine pitches and was the only freshman to make the team. Also real good in schoolyard basketball and football, and I played all kinds of softball until I was 50. I think my poetry is affected by it in the sense that I work at it with the same kind of focus, and that time I no hit the rich kids school in the eighth grade CYO Cham-pionship game still means more to me than the time I got a poem in the New York Times. And even though I don’t do shit now, I’ll always feel more like a ball player than a poet or artist.” (web)

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