One Question Quiz
Street Light In Park At Night
Getty Images

BooksSeptember 10, 2021

The Friday Poem: Park, Night by Gus Goldsack

Street Light In Park At Night
Getty Images

A new poem from New York-based New Zealand poet Gus Goldsack.

Park, Night

Seems we all missed a memo or two tonight
Because we’re here in the part of the park that has no lights
Once I got mugged in the park at night by five guys
Once I got blown in the park* at night by one guy
Both were within a kilometre of each other
in Auckland in 2009. That’s very far away.
In darkness I’ve clambered from the town belt caked in vomit, mud, cum
Some other things that have happened in parks at night include
counting a guy’s vertebra, losing my mind
I don’t know why this keeps coming up in poems but
The first time I got head was in a park, from Paul C
In Wellington
At dusk, which is half night
Like my hair, which is half old
And smells of ciggies up here in the Frank Kitts tower,
The young half,
I’m fifteen and my whole life is lived in parks at night
I’m seventeen and I watch Rachel A trip on park equipment and fall
And get back on her feet, again
As we run from the cops in Island Bay, again
I’m eighteen and I get a fresh start –
New city, new parks, new nights
I lean out windows over Myers with my ciggie, wave up at Sarah T
Cut through Nixon, Victoria, Basque, Western, Albert,
Sometimes linger a little where the lights don’t reach
And then I move to a city three-quarters the way around the world
Where the parks are barred and locked each night, to me an affront because
The park at night is one of the few places to find perfect pools of light
And one of the few places to step out of the light in search and service of magic.
I’m thirteen in the western suburbs and I find the fabled glow worms
In the park one night, and every night thereafter
I’m older and blazed on the western shores of Lake Taupō and one night
On a trail
I come upon glow worms and learn what
makes the lights go out
I no longer smoke but
Inky black’s still how I like the park, at night
Because I read the memo of my forefathers
Who wrote it in the park,
Together, each night,
Hot or cold or somewhere in between –
worms that stepped out of the light and into the silence
And started to glow.


*okay, cemetery


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.

Keep going!