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« Monday @ KGB: Ernest Hilbert & Sharon Mesmer | Main | Nin Andrews on Vallejo »

October 19, 2009


Dear Loren Goodman--

A wonderful post.

You ask about favorite poems in, about, or on a park?

My nomination would be William Carlos Williams' poem, "Smell" which does and doesn't have a park in it, in ways which somehow seem to suit your question.

It's one of the poems my son, when he was little (2? 3?), wanted to have read to him again and again. When he surprised me one day by reciting it (that's what hearing it over and over again was doing for him, helping him own it, helping him get it by heart), it was clear to me he'd been mis-hearing it, substituting the word "park" for "part" in the very last line. *His* rendition of it ends, exuberantly,

Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a park in everything?

I think his version would have pleased Williams--and I think it suits the spirit of your post...

yours in the common pursuit,



Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them. With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely? What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?

--William Carlos Williams

Hey Loren,

Are there really 3.85 million parks in Korea? Wouldn't that work out to, like, one park for every 12 people? Anyway, you should come check out Bundang Central Park. They have a bungee jump, and I can honestly say that it is the scariest thing I've EVER done.

I love the "Team Pineault" pic. Thanks for posting it, and thanks again for working my corner during the fight.

"Both Lorca and Rilke wrote poems in Parks. Rosa Parks."

I picture comedian>Norm MacDonald saying that line: "Both Lorca and Rilke wrote poems in Parks... yeah, Rosa Parks!"

Take it easy,


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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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