Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #5                        Page 13
                                   
Table of
Contents



Training

It’s too early on a Tuesday
morning. The agency’s having
budget problems, they’re cutting
back on juice and fruit and the only
things on the table are coffee and tea,
bagels cut in half. The director
of our useless human resources
department is introducing the new
director of training. He’s wearing
a sports jacket, a brightly striped
wide tie. His smile is too big,
he’s talking too fast and he moves
around the room like Jerry Springer
on cocaine. Jesse comes from New
Hampshire and he’s of course
much too young to know anything
about anything that matters.

I’m trying to pretend I’m interested
in what he’s saying about seeing
the field and our consumers-yeah
that’s what we call them now-
in a whole new way. He wants
to give all group home managers
a context and races through a reader’s
digest version of the way society
has viewed them throughout history;
from being expelled in the dark
ages to benevolence and Christian
pity, to guinea pigs, Geraldo Rivera
and Willowbrook where half
of my guys spent their early years
all the way to today with community
inclusion and fantasies of normalcy.
He names causes, lists diagnoses,
asks for typical characteristics.

I know all this and none of it
has helped me or the six men
in my group home. Lee still never
wants to spend time with anyone,
Larry wears the same sweatshirt
every day and James still traces
endless circles. No matter how or why
they’re here, whether I call them
consumers, clients, or shake my head
when they do another nutty thing
and the thought, ‘crazy ass retard’,
flashes through my brain, I know
they’re a lot like me and it’s my job
to help make their world happier,
a bit bigger, day after day and I wish
this guy would shut up so I can grab
a bite to eat and go do my job.

  Tony Gloeggler __
Originally published in The Chiron Review

THE LAST LIE

Now those memories come back to haunt me They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse

                       Bruce Springsteen
I know I’ve lied before,
tiny white ones, every day
exaggerations and self deprecations
to make me seem deeper and tougher,
simpler and weirder, more self
contained, less ordinary, less like you.
I started young, signed an application,
swore I was nine instead of eight
to play sandlot baseball before
my time. Now, I’ll keep quiet
when people think I’m only forty;
but lines are forming beneath
my eyes and my last girlfriend
married a guy half my age.

Once, I lied in a poem,
changed the name of a girl
so no one knew I was the last,
the oldest, guy on my block
to finally get laid. No, I never
got past Julia Jordan’s breasts,
not my finger, tongue or cock
even though she was beautiful
in the soft sweet way I always
dreamt about: deep ocean
blue eyes, summer freckles, silky
hair hanging down and brushing
her great ass. Yeah, I loved her
and I knew she wanted to do it
in my parents’ basement, the back
of her father’s station wagon,
in an Allentown barn visiting
her space cadet, Jesus freak sister.
But I was as slow and awkward
as a retard, worried and scared
I wouldn’t know what to do
and we never could find words
to say anything about any of it.

No, I lied a few years ago
for real. It mattered, broke
somebody’s heart and should
never be forgiven. I lied
to the girl I first made love to,
the woman I’ve loved longest,
the woman who talked
about breaking up her family
because we both believed
we belonged together. Finally.
We were walking down Houston
to see some movie and I said no
I wasn’t seeing anyone else.
I looked in her eyes, paid
for two tickets and sat
in the movie dark, slid
my hand under her skirt,
made sure she was wet.

And yeah, I kept lying
after I told her the truth
a day later as she screamed
and cried and cursed me
all the way from Virginia.
I apologized, tried to explain
she was still married, it could
take maybe years before
she could move to New York,
that Suzanne was just someone
to fuck in the meantime. I never
said I didn’t want to wait
around for her, that I didn’t
believe she would ever leave
her husband or I was already
too much in love with Suzanne.
But she knew and kept away.

We are back in touch now.
She’ll sneak off in her car,
use a phone card and call me
on birthdays and her voice
will linger for hours. We’ll meet
for dinner when she visits
her parents in Queens, hold
hands, talk about everything.
She tried not to look too happy
when I told her Suzanne married
her old boyfriend in September.
I nod my head when she says
she’s so wrapped up in her son
and the every day of life
that she forgets everything
she’s missing and I promise
myself I won’t lie anymore.
Not about something
like that. Not to her.

  Tony Gloeggler__
Published first in The Ledge


POET

The first time anyone
said my name and used
the word poet next to it
was in the early nineties.
I was part of William Packard’s
workshop and after class
he told me about this reading
celebrating New York Quarterly’s
30th anniversary. He declared
in his booming Orson Wells voice
that I would read one poem
and even if he badly needed
a shower with seven vestal
virgins scrubbing away, I knew
I couldn’t, wouldn’t say no.

I dressed in my best black jeans
and faded denim shirt, found
the room in the NYU library
and pointed at my name
on the flyer when the pristine
woman at the door asked me
for 10 dollars. I would read
somewhere in the middle,
between Michael Moriarty
and Amari Baraka and already
I was nervous, trying to sneak
glances at the spiral notepaper
my poem was printed on.

Moriarity read in the voice
he saved for Shakespaere
or the sermon on the mount
and I expected the cheese
and crackers to turn into steak
and lobster. No, I can’t say
I understood what his poem
was trying to be about, but back
home I started watching Law
and Order religiously. Baraka’s
spit flew through his fifteen
minute rant and he grew
blacker and angrier by the line
and I was hoping not to run
into him on the street
anytime soon. An elegant
woman pronounced my name
wrong and described me
as the kind of young, promising
poet who would help NYQ move
its future in the right direction

My poem was twenty-five
bare boned lines, without a rhyme
or metaphor in sight, spoken
in plain every day language
about my father. Dinner
was winding down, him
and me were the only ones
left at the table. He changed
chairs, hunched closer to me
and told me they were cutting
back at the factory. He was fifty
years old and if he lost his job
he wouldn’t know what to do.

My father would never say
anything like that to anyone
and I just looked at him
until he got up and went
into the living room. I read
in a too low voice that seemed
to be hoping to crack and act
like some kind of man. After,
I thought some girls would talk
to me, tell me how deeply
my poem moved them
as they touched my arm
and said they’d love
to see all of my work,
but their fathers’ were not
like mine and no I’d never
be the kind of guy
they’d either take home
for one regrettable night
or to meet their mom.
Instead, I drank a little
more wine, thanked Packard
for including me and took
the subway back to Flushing,
the place where I belonged.

I tried to read my book, but kept
thinking about what it meant
being a poet. Mostly I was glad
no one I hung out with or knew
suspected I could spend hours
in my room writing and cutting
my poems down to size. No one
would call me an artist, or a faggot,
ask me to stand on a car hood
and start rhyming when the night
got long and everyone grew
bored with everything and still
were too scared to head home
to our ever shrinking lives.
But deep down, I felt sure,
if I ever met Moriarty and Baraka
in a late night alley, my poem
would kick both of their poems’ asses
with my hands tied behind my back.

First published in Nerve Cowboy

  Tony Gloeggler__

KISSING

It still embarrasses me
any time I think about
Tommy Dunn and 7th grade,
that party he took me aside
and tried to explain how to kiss
with not too wet lips pressed
softly, slightly open and never
sucking like some high powered
vacuum cleaner. I probably
nodded, quickly moved to another
part of the basement, before
he brought up tongues
and what I was supposed to do
with mine while everyone thought
we were homos or something
nearly as awful. But no,
I was just slow and liked
baseball cards and snowball
fights better than girls. I kept
glancing at Regina, Geraldine
and Clare sitting against the wall.
Whispering behind their hands,
giggling. For years I jerked off
picturing one of them walking
across the room, taking my hand,
leading me to an upstairs bedroom
and teaching me everything.

I thought of Dunn a couple
of years ago. An ex-girlfriend
was flying into the city visiting
her sick parents every chance
she could and spending as many
hours in my bed as possible.
We kissed and kissed until
we fell back in love, whispered
about her filing for divorce.
At the same time an unhappy
woman half my age was calling
a few times a day, sneaking away
three or four times a week
from a boyfriend too busy
and bored to touch and kiss
her like I did. She kept telling me
I was handsome, saying
she was completely in love
with me and how she wanted to
to leave Bill. I imagined Dunn
living somewhere in Texas,
working in finance with thinning
red hair and a roly-poly build.
He was on his second marriage
and couldn’t stop worrying
about his sad, quiet kids.
I wanted to sit on a stoop
in Queens with him, talk
about the few things I learned
and somehow found myself
believing in, why I still wished
Suzanne and Erica missed
kissing me and what the hell
he thought was wrong with me.

First published in the Chiron Review

  Tony Gloeggler__