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January 11, 2011

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This is fantastic. Glad to see you're posting poems again.

Though I, too, never ate at the Golden Ox, I warm to the sentiments expressed in this lovely reminiscence-cum-love-poem and I wonder whether the junk jeweler was the same Joe Cronin who played shortstop for the 47th Street softball team when all the world and love were young. A pesky fellow but not a Johnny-come-lately, in later years he put on the pounds and was able to do a spot-on imitation of Orson Welles.

the joe cronin mentioned above seems like an interesting person and i wished i had met him, but in the poem it's a different joe. joe (his first name) is based on a man i once met, he was probably in his 60s, he had three scotch drinks lined up beside his lunch plate like planes waiting to take off. When he finished one another was ready to go. The last name "Cronin" in the poem is based on the late Pat Cronin, who was a very successful football coach at St. Rita high school in Chicago. I believe the football field at the school is now named after him. also, i actually did eat at the Golden Ox, but only once. I don't remember much about it. It was a big wedding dinner and hard to concentrate. The Ox is closed now of course. I've met many people who speak highly of it.

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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