Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Two Poems by Tony Gloeggler

Daylight Savings

 

When I climb out 

of the subway, the sun 

still sits in the sky. I take

the long way home, cut

through the park. Boom

boxes beat hip hop

and the basketball courts

are jammed with brothers

running full out. I curl

my fingers around fence

links, taste sweat

wetting my lips, whisper

“I got next.” Girls straddle

benches, stand in circles

waving cigarettes, heads 

flung back, flicking smoke

signals. A grandfather

underhands a fat wiffle ball.

The little kid swings, hits

a humpbacked fly. I trot

a few steps, catch it

over my shoulder like Mays

in ‘54. I grab a slice

with extra cheese. Squeeze

melons, mangos, nectarines.

Pick up laundry and unlock

my mail box. Home. One

more hour of light to kill

remembering my father died

February first, that the last

time I slept with a woman

was nearly seven months ago

in Corrales, New Mexico

and I didn’t love

one thing about her.

 

 

The Last Good Thing

 

It was the Sunday

my father felt strong

enough to get out

of bed, take baby steps

to the bathroom.  He fumbled

with buttons, tugged the top

over his head, unsnapped

his bottoms and let them

slide down his legs. Crouched

 

like a catcher, I untangled

his pajamas, removed

his slippers as he sat

down to piss. I ran

the bathwater, tested it,

turned on the shower.

He grabbed my arm, leaned

on the sink and lifted

himself to his feet, stepped

into the tub. The water

hit his neck, rolled

off his shoulders. I watched

his eyes shut, lips 

part and whisper sighs

 

soft as first kisses brushed

on park benches. I lathered

up the sponge, scrubbed

his back. When water

splashed my glasses, soaked 

my clothes, I stripped

down to boxers, stepped

in with him and walked

all the way to Brooklyn:

 

My father crosses Stockholm Street

carrying his tools. He straddles

the Johnny Pump, pulls,

bangs and yanks until

water explodes, roars out

of the hydrant’s mouth

and the block of kids cheer

like he’s some God

sending down rain. Afraid

of slipping, he turned

slowly, gripping my shoulders.

I took my time, soaped

under his arms, between

 

his legs. When I stood,

he pulled me close, tightened

his arms around me, kissed

my neck. I tried not to cry

when he said he could stay

like this forever, stay

until he died, until

the hot water got cold.

 

 

Bio: Tony Gloeggler has always lived in NYC. He has managed group homes for developmentally disabled folks for over 40 years. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies since the late 80s and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize a number of times. His chapbook, One on One, won the 1998 Pearl Poetry Prize. His first full length collection, ONE WISH LEFT, published by Pavement Saw Press, went into a second printing in 2007. His most recent books include, WHAT KIND OF MAN (NYQ Books, 2020), UNTIL THE LAST LIGHT LEAVES (NYQ Books, 2016), was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award in 2016, and THE LAST LIE (NYQ Books, 2010). 

 

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