Body of work

In order to write
one line, i had
to get past him

my father stood
in front of me
with an arsenal
to back him up

mops
wringers
brooms
toilet brushes
squeegies
and a putty knife
for the hard to
remove shit

you think you
can write? he
said

you can’t even
mop a floor
right!

you think you’re
a writer?

all you got to
do is get
past me

and a line
was drawn
where i stood

I couldn’t move,
couldn’t contemplate

and i was a
part of his attempt
to get a slice of the
american pie

a two man
(actually 1 1/2 man)
janitorial service

and i swung
the mop while
my father’s voice
reminded me that
all i had to do was
get through him

that he was going
to be the jab in
my face all night long

the closed doors
ready to greet
me

the rattle of
my ribcage

the pen that
runs out of
ink

he reminded me
that when my favorite
song comes over the
speakers, his voice is
going to cut through
and say

We need a motherfuckin’
mop in the dill pickle aisle!

you want to
write, all you
got to do is get
through me

and one day
i just said,
fuck it

i went
after him

i carved him
every which way
with my pen

my cursive hand
adjusting to the
curvature of everything
he was

everything he
showed
me

everything i
couldn’t say

everything he
couldn’t say

On that day,
i got past
him

but i keep
coming back

(c) 2016 Tony Robles

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