Tony Gloeggler

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This woman who told me
I was too old for her
said she sometimes wonders
what I was like at 28. Sure,
I was 10-20 pounds thinner
with darker, longer hair
hanging down my back.
But already, I had started
working with retarded
and autistic kids, sending
my poems out, trying to learn
if they had anything to say
to anyone other than me.
I was always quiet, shy
and I probably thought
too much, never learned
how to let go and have fun.
I can be self-absorbed,
thoughtless, too often sarcastic,
irreverent and hardheaded.
And no I never liked parties
or politics or money and most
people. I didn’t play guitar,
drive a fast car, never dreamt
of spending a year in Paris,
Timbuktu or Nepal, a weekend
in the Hamptons or building
a mansion on a hill, filling it
with kids and lovable pets.
Even then, I knew that listening
to 2 minutes and 25 seconds
of Brian Wilson or driving down
a late night highway shouting
along to “Thunder Road” was as good
as I could feel, that the rhythm
of a basketball bouncing past
my Sunday morning window
or a backyard 6 year old
whacking a whiffle ball
with a plastic bat, sliding
into home plate was as close
to God as I would ever get.
But I was always good
at listening and talking
and touching, and when
I was 28, I was in love,
mad-crazy-deep-silly, radio
song, it takes two, you
and me against the world
kind of love and anytime
we sat at a table and broke
bread, spent a rainy weekend
tangled up in light blue sheets
or held hands on the crowded
Monday morning F train
stuck once again in the tunnel
between Queens and Manhattan
I was sure we’d last forever.
At 28, this girl was so in love
with me that her amazing
green-brown eyes would get
all lit up whenever she looked
at me. At 28, I had everything
in the world I ever needed.
At 28, I was just about
as dumb as I am now.

First Published in Chiron Review


Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. His work has appeared in Rattle, Chiron Review, New Ohio Review, Mudfish, Spillway and Main Street Rag. His full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002), Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015). Forthcoming book: What Kind Of Man (NYQ Book 2020).