One Night at the Nuyorican

Photograph by Jose Padua
One night at the Nuyorican I opened the bathroom
door to see a poet whose work I didn’t like
standing bare-assed, ass side facing me, while her left hand
was moving downward mid-wipe. Now I know there are
people who hide out in port-a-potties to see this sort
of thing, and I know that singer GG Allin, who
overdosed across the street from my apartment in

New York one night, had a strange appreciation for
fecal matter, and although I’m certainly weird I’m
not that weird, and the reality is that no one
looks good bent over the toilet and wiping, and I
have no idea why her ass was facing away
from the toilet while she wiped, and I can’t
say that I’m at all curious about this, and if

somehow you knew why and were to try to tell me
I probably wouldn’t believe you anyway and
my opinion of you would diminish so swiftly
you’d swear I’d just smacked you in the face. I’d seen some
horrible things in my New York days, and her “jazz”
poetry and her “in-the-moment” performances
were two of them, but the only thing I can say I

wished I’d never experienced was the sight of her
wiping her ass. Maybe if I’d liked her work my
reaction would have been different. Maybe I would
have remembered a line from one of her poems. Maybe
I would have gone right home, picked up one of her books and
just read madly and uncontrollably for the rest
of the night. Maybe I would have jumped up, raised my arms

in celebration and declared I’ve seen Judy Woolworth
wiping her ass
, or I have been blessed or Is there no
one here to challenge me?
Judy Woolworth, of course, was
not this poet’s real name. I do not and have never
had any of her books. I don’t remember if she
used my name when she turned toward the open bathroom
door and said “Sorry, Jose, I’ll be out in a minute”

or just “Sorry, I’ll be out in a minute” without any
name, which would mean, perhaps, that she didn’t know
it was me. And maybe, for that matter, she didn’t like
my work. I never told her that her readings made me cringe—
we never spoke about these things—I never asked her, “Did
you know it was me who saw you wiping your ass at
the Nuyorican the other night?” These were the days when

New York was taller and the rest of the world seemed farther
away, and a few days after I saw Judy Woolworth’s ass
was when I spent a quiet night at home while GG Allin,
whose shows I never saw and never wanted to see, deep
fried his fucked up ass so close to where I was that I
probably heard the same sounds he did—the car alarms,
the drunks arguing on the corner—before everything went blank.

-Jose Padua

First published in The New Guard, Volume III, 2013.

5 responses to “One Night at the Nuyorican

  1. Haha! The hypothetical ‘I have been blessed!!’

    • shenandoahbreakdown

      ha! and no matter how much one may like a poet’s work, the wiping thing is probably best left unseen!

  2. Jessie Martinovic

    … but the toilet is so poetic. I really did lol (laugh out loud) reading this.

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