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About this Poem 

“This poem was written largely in response to a few tech-driven predicaments in my city, San Francisco: prohibitively priced rents and real estate; and the often impoverished, disingenuous communication and connection between gay men. House in Vermont and high-five are slang for HIV.”
Randall Mann

Realtor

Please
consider Ocean Beach
out of reach.
Try not to gulp
the green water
we porpoise
like employees.
My purpose:
your thought-partner.

There is a feeling
just shy of feeling,
like tongue on teeth.
Disbelief
hangs there,
an ill-chosen comma,
a lanyard with a pass.
I swear the train is coming.
I’m only here to help.

A client bought,
on second thought,
that House in Vermont.
Night is flirty words
with fiends,
the phlebotomists
from Quest
boning up on Thoreau.
It’s too soon to throw

in the cards.
Live and let give?
Here. Let me give
you the high-five.
I searched;
my activism,
lightly starched.
I never meant
to live in euphemism.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Randall Mann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 11, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Randall Mann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 11, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Randall Mann

Randall Mann

Randall Mann is the author of Proprietary (Persea Books, 2017) and Straight Razor (Persea Books, 2013). 

by this poet

poem
?
is only something on which to hang
your long overcoat; the slender snake asleep
in the grass; the umbrella by the door;

the black swan guarding the pond.
This ? has trouble in mind: do not ask
why the wind broods, why the light is so unclean.

It is summer, the rhetoric of the field,
its yellow grasses,
poem

It’s silly to think
fourteen years ago
I turned thirty.

How I made it that far
I’ll never know.
In this city of hills,

if there was a hill
I was over it. Then.
(In queer years,

years
are more than.)
Soon it will be fifteen

since the day I turned thirty

2
poem
Jealousy.  Whispered weather reports.
The lure of the land so strong it prompts
gossip: we chatter like small birds
at the edge of the ocean gray, foaming.

Now sand under sand hides
the buried world, the one in which our fathers failed,
the palm frond a dangerous truth
they once believed, and touched.  Bloodied