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« "Pornographic Love Song" [by Kelly Bourdet] | Main | Call and Response by Stacey Harwood »

June 25, 2011


Thanks for posting this wonderful poem, so apt for this great occasion. One thing: the second line should read "L G T TH O P" -- as in "Let's go to the Old Place." The "B" is a typo, one that seems to also be in other versions on the web, and it renders the otherwise understandable line pretty hard to parse. The original poem, in Don Allen's Collected Poems of O'Hara, reads "L G T TH OP."

Hooray for NY!

Andrew Epstein

Thanks Andrew. The vote made me want to dance and that's why this poem came to mind. For the longest time I thought those letters stood for "Let's go to the hop," which still makes sense, yes?

Great poem. And the ruling yesterday, a great hop forward. It's about time...Let's all dance!

It could be "let's go to the hop," Stacey, as that certainly fits, but I've always thought, given the context, the poem is describing a night when O'Hara, LeSueur, Ashbery, and the rest of their crew are at a non-gay bar and then John Button mouths "Let's go to the Old Place," and they leave and head to that bar, only to find that "Jack, Earl, and Someone," who they'd left behind, show up to dance at the gay bar too.

Your post reminded me of the often quoted remark by John Button, who was asked much later "What would Frank have thought of gay liberation?" and Button replied "Oh, he would have thought it was silly, but he would have loved the dances."

I don't think this feels quite fair to O'Hara's political sensibility (Joe LeSueur has more on this in Digressions, for example), but it's funny and charming. I can only imagine how thrilled O'Hara would've been last night, both because of the dances, which he would have loved, but also because for him, human freedom and equality and dignity, were not silly at all.

Thanks again for posting.

Means "Let's go to the Old Place"

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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