John Repp

Even Though Eric Was Right
by John Repp

to fix me with that “Grow up” look
after I said “I wish I’d grown up
in the forties,” I wish this minute
I’d come of age in fifties New York,
a two-dollar coffeepot perpetually
perking on a hotplate, battered books
propped the length of each baseboard,
a Cross turntable crackling Bartok
on a glacial morning a friend & I
will walk the length of Avenue B,
chatting, smoking, counting cats
& automats, stopping for pickles
& egg-salad sandwiches just off
Tompkins Square Park, woolgathering
the afternoon gone over cafeteria pie
& canasta. Bundling bags of dinner,
three newspapers & a hankering
for Debussy up the stairs after dark,
we’ll soon settle in, my friend—
a woman with a newsboy cap
slung back on a blonde bob—
tending the Cross, me slicing
the rye, spreading the mustard,
apportioning the corned beef,
the two of us cozied up
with a shared can of Ballantine
& a healthy disdain for the Philistines
crowding our days. As promised,
she’ll render me tonight, my last night
here, a charcoal, life-size, hieratic me
impressed on the wall for good.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

John ReppJohn Repp grew up near the Palace Depression in Vineland, New Jersey. His most recent book is Fat Jersey Blues, winner of the 2013 Akron Poetry Prize from the University of Akron Press. Find out more at his website:

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