1997 – Tony Gloeggler

When you find a letter mixed in with tax returns and medical bills
from a woman you were much more into than she was ever into you,
you can’t help thinking about your first night at her place: Dust Bunnies
by Bettie Serveert, an Indie band named after a tennis player, spinning
on the turntable. The lead singer looked like a down home Blondie,
sounded like Lucinda and their songs still grace your mixed CDs.
You remember hummus, flaky pita bread, pickles, olives, sliced
cheese and making out on the couch.  When Nancy stood up, turned
around and lifted her shirt as she mildly criticized herself for falling
in line, joining the latest fad while explaining she did design it herself,
she asked if you liked the slinky snakey shape emerging from beneath
her left shoulder blade, winding down past her hip, teasing the crack
of her ass. Knowing you would have loved her with or without it
undressed, you dropped down to your knees, sang hallelujah. Amen.

Circling a Village Voice personal ad, dialing numbers and trying
to locate your late night Barry White voice and making that first date
to meet outside The Bottom Line, her legs longer than advertised.
You listened to five folkies you would never hear of again in a Friday
night showcase, before strolling down Lower East Side streets where
she leaned in, tried to place a quick kiss on your lips in mid-stride
as you flinched away, surprised. You still wish you had slid your hands
down her sides, held her hips and guided her to the nearest tenement,
to press her against the bricks for an urgent, make-out session
that lasted until sun rise while passersby slowed down to watch,
wishing they were you. And there’s that one kick ass poem you wrote
about Nancy, and her white fuzzy, just bought, Betsey Johnson top
that hung below her waist to brush her dark bush as she runwayed
across the bedroom floor, street light spilling through torn shades.

Only six months long, there wasn’t a whole lot to you and Nancy:
Dion at Tramps singing Ruby Baby, her thinking it was a Steely Dan
cut, putting down her glass and clapping along as you sang Lovers
Who Wander too loud. Mentioning an early morning meeting, putting
the children’s science mag she edited to bed, she bicycled east
while you headed to the subway, dick in hand. After spending a week
upstate with her family, she called the Saturday she returned, talked
about who knows what, your cock pressing against your fly. Somehow
you never said why not catch a cab, come over, hang out, you’ll order
Chinese, Mexican or Spanish and she never said anything about wanting
to come by, finally see your place. The night she ended it, she offered you
a goodbye gift. If you wrote you left her something to remember, to miss,
would anyone guess that you couldn’t get it up, just kissed her neck instead,
the double-lock latching tight as your shell tops sounded down the staircase?

Tony GloegglerTony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of NYC who’s managed a group home for developmentally disabled men for 40 years. His chapbook One On One won the 1998 Pearl Poetry Prize. His first full-length collection, One Wish Left, published by Pavement Saw Press went into a 2nd printing in 2007. Until The Last Light Leaves, published by NYQ Books, was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award in 2016. NYQ Books released my new book What Kind of Man in June of 2020.