We hope that your walk through the park has inspired your creativity. Send Poem Quest a poem of your own! You can write about your experience of the park, a spot in it that caught your attention, or a story about yourself and what brings you here. We would love to see it.

Upload your poem or type it into the editor.


Take a walk through Newark’s Riverfront Park searching for poems that tell the stories of the people who visit it! Listen to the poems by following the trail of photographs by photojournalist Ed Kashi that provide clues for discovering the poetry in and of Riverfront Park. 

Poetry has long been a means of personal storytelling; PoemQuest tells the story of Riverfront Park through the voices of local poets commissioned by Newest Americans to interview visitors and share their stories through poetry. The poets asked questions designed to understand how visitors are connected to the park and to New Jersey—Where did your family come from before settling in New Jersey? What brought you here? What brings you to this park? 

PoemQuest connects art to history through an interactive game that peoples the park with poetry. Once you play the game we encourage you to share your own poem about the journey that led you to Newark and your connection to Riverfront Park. Submit your poem

Are you ready to find Dimitri’s poem?
The poem is hidden by the drawbridge.
loader We are locating the poem. This may take a few moments.
Poem loaded. Click to begin search.
Congratulations! Now Create your own poem!

Dmitri Reyes

And You Ask Me, Why Here? Read Poem

Dmitri Reyes

And You Ask Me, Why Here?

Say you old 
and you remember Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 
Mommy’s Kitchen Restaurant. 
11 years there to your 60 years of Newark. 

Say you old 
on Sunday you’re at Seaside Heights 
smoking a cigar and watching the waves come in. 
Thursday you’re at the Riverfront Park 
with an iced coffee watching people play soccer. 

Say you old 
and you say you live off of westside oranges 
but you teach the youth of the eastside to pipe down, 
To take their deep apartment building breaths 
and watch their brain waves roll in and out. 

And you ask me, why here? 

A park is opportunity, 
those little kids in lines like ants 
come from that preschool across the way 
and they play at this little park 
until the sun is too high 
and though their breaths are small they 
breathe in those people around them 
and a world becomes larger. 

Say you old. 
A park is everything for those who have nothing. 

Say you old, 
and you notice the young couple holding hands 
and the Portuguese seniors picking flowers beside 
the court of old heads playing basketball with young 
high schoolers on the other half court 
who came with their friends splashing water 
at each other from the drinking fountain. 

Say you old, 
But you can still hear the Samba class too. 
Not far off in that field you could watch the instructor 
cut a hot wind with his hips and a piece of shirt and barefoot 
watching him lead 15 people of sweats that follow his footwork. 

Say you old 
on the regular you see these people 
all similar – like on the daily that 
young woman living in the shelter 
always occupying that certain bench 
where the trail splits. She always lies across it 
waiting for those airplanes to fly over 
the part of the park with no trees and one day 
one day she will leave or the sky will crack open 
the way people who don’t use the park do 
because this park is nothing without its people. 

Say you old, 
Sixty. Seventy. Eighty. 
And you don’t use the park 
because you have a boardwalk. 
So you become its landscape 
of Jersey Shore news, 
walking, jogging, riding bicycles 
with those big Texas longhorn handlebars. 
Well, we could use a camera here too 
so people can share in the vitality 
of what it is to sit on a bench and 
read the paper to the sounds of unity: 
our pick- up games and little leaguers. 

One can call me old 
but then you would be, too. 
Just take yourself back 
To a time where you were happy 
to just run and play tag, 
to jump and play hopscotch, 
to skim the best rock on the water 
or hold the longest wheelie down the block. 

Say you old 
and you can’t walk fast no more, 
you can’t take dance no more, 
so you have to learn to smile more, 
so you do— 

And now you sit here on this bench 
Right here 
And every answer you ever needed 
Is somewhere in this park.