Independence Day
by Tony Gloeggler

As soon as you hear
Federici’s mourning organ
punctuated with Bittan’s
piano, you can see Bruce
with his head hung low
lurking in the shadows
still steps from the microphone.
When he moves closer
the crowd rumbles, roars
and Springsteen shushes
them quiet with his hands.
As he folds both hands over
the mic, he opens his mouth
to let his hoarse whisper
reign over the stadium,
you are back home
walking in the hallway
after another aimless late night,
walking in the dark past
your parents’ bedroom.
Happy to have avoided
seeing your father
all day, you hear him
talking to your mom,
his voice a simmering
whisper, telling her
how sick and tired
he is of you. When
will you get a freakin’ job
and move your lazy ass out.
My mom listens, waits
until he runs out of breath
so she could say, “Just
give him a little time..
He’s my son and I won’t
let you throw him out.
No, never.” I drop my clothes
on the floor, get into bed
without waking my brother.
and fall asleep humming,
“They ain’t gonna do to me
what I watched them do to you.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of NYC’s boroughs and manages group homes for the developmentally disabled in Brooklyn. His poems have been recently published in The Raleigh Review, Rattle, Chiron Review, Mas Tequila Review, Nerve Cowboy, and Paterson Literary Review. He’s been nominated for Pushcarts a handful of times and would like to know who he needs to talk to to have a chance to actually get one. He has published four collections (One Wish Left/Pavement Saw Press, The Last Lie/NYQ Books, Until the Last Light Leaves/NYQ, and Tony Come Back August — a duo with photographer Marco North — with Bittersweet Editions). The last two books focus on his 35 years working with the developmentally disabled and his connection with the autistic son of an ex-girlfriend.