Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is available through Amazon, as is a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).
A little hole-in-the wall of a place,
five stools at the counter
and a magazine and news rack.
Each day the regulars would convene,
pick up their reserved racing forms
and start their notations, curious systems
with circles and symbols and odds,
a sort of personal calculus,
based on hunches and odds,
weather, breeding, trainers,
and the wisdom of a seasoned jockey.
Lonergin would kid about luck,
Devito would chomp on an unlit cigar,
Direnzo would engage Leon, the owner,
in some shared memory or another.
My job was to feign indifference,
to assume invisibility while also refilling
a coffee cup, providing some cake,
perhaps hitting the fountain for
an occasional celebratory egg cream.
I never knew anything more about them,
whether they had jobs, families, wives, children.
They in turn never asked anything more
than “Hey, how’re y’ doing?”
because it was never about me, but rather
about this busy place of temporary privacy,
a solidly packed tiny retail space
affording them the unlikely illusion
of infinite area, a place for contemplation
attentive to their needs, yet never nosy
enough to question their trifecta pick
on the fourth race that day at Aqueduct.