Monday, October 30, 2017

Roger Netzer


Dad was a mild guy usually, but he had
a temper. This one time he laid into me
because I would not shut up.

It started when mom and he nixed something fun.
Street hockey, say, or seeing Doctor No.
Whatever, their ruling drove me to my room.

From there I let them know how "STOO-pid!"
they were, shouting myself raw
over the laugh track on their TV.

No one stirred. Were they deaf, too?
I yelled again. Still nothing.
Took a deep breath. “You're so STOO..."

Third time’s the charm.
Strangled sounds rumbled in his throat
then dad came pounding up the stairs.

Big and bald and red-faced he rounded
into view, yanking the belt from his pants
like the pin from a grenade.

I was screaming before the first blow landed.
Whap then backhand whap again,
the big forearm going and coming.

I made my hips a chaos to shield
boy bottom and other soft parts
from the rhythm he was trying to build.

There was no end to the tar
he meant to whip out of me.

Try shutting me up now.

Roger reads "Sunday Evening at Home":

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Roger confesses: "'Sunday Evening at Home' attempts to be a straight telling of a real incident, aided by a visceral and physical memory—not just of the violent climax, but of the one-sided dialogue that precipitates it. Thanks to Edward Field for telling me to continue past the word 'grenade'."

ROGER NETZER's poems have appeared in Mas Tequila, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Potomac, and Chiron. He is old enough to have seen Doctor No in a theatre on its original release, accompanied by his father. They both loved it.

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