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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
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
poem
                              I forgave myself for having had a youth.
					            —Thom Gunn

At the Fashion
Square mall,
back
of Waldenbooks,

I saw my younger self
haunting
the magazine rack.
Ripping out pages

of Blueboy,
tucking them 
in a Trapper
Keeper.

Turn back.
His eyes met mine
2
poem
        in memory of Reetika Vazirani (1962-2003) and Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009)
 
Sewanee, Tennessee. 
Summer of '96, I went there for 
booze and poetry and rest. 
I danced a little dance; 
I talked a little shop. 
I forgot a recent ghost.  

"Invitation to a Ghost" 
was my favorite poem in Tennessee