Randall Mann


Forever

Friday was big

data night,

the gig:

athletics

and analytics,

acute

age disparity,

Brut,

and faking

I mean fucking

autocorrect.

For clarity.

We came

correct.

Brunch?

Details.

We adored

potatoes

made with fallen

wild parrots.

Cocktails

at Holy Mountain

named for

dictators!

Twenty-four

carats.

I ordered

the Stalin.

Tan blonds

in tight jeans,

featuring basket,

meet

on Valencia Street—

years ago

this was mortuary row,

the dead above,

the dead below.

Nothing shows love,

morticians say

but never say,

like a bronze

casket.

The boy-band

in a booth

onstage,

oozing

rage?

Cruising

is a sidelong

look

at a lifelong

souk.

The truth

comes out

like trout

in the hand.

Nothing

is forever.

Traffic.

Forever

is just a weekend,

more

or less,

a star’s

ghost wrote.

The night, 

cool as a store.

Green

as a pornographic

door.


Extra

May 6, 2016

I was an extra.

A serious

gay miniseries

for the network.

They wanted to cast

a “hot guy”:

makeout

scene;

civil-

rights queen.

Apparently,

I was “almost there.”

At last.

Makeup

set to work

on the backup:

painting my head

to give me hair.

Goodbye, pate—

I waited

outside

the Castro Theater

with the drag star

Pollo Del Mar.

(They pulled

me aside:

no need

to be Plan B.)   

It may

have hurt.

But the writer/

director—

a suspiciously

boyish

Oscar winner

famous

for his

online

bareback

pics—

suggested

I lose my

shirt,

for background.

Consolation

on location.

I came

around.

Alternate

Hot Guy?

He actually asked.

You’re finished. 

 

Rhapsody

1.

Pollen.

Fallen

on

men

like soot,

snow,

ash,

cash.

Avoidance

of eye

contact.

I

redact

any chance

in advance.

2.

Mottled

sheets;

bottled

dets.

Since

when

is urban

hiking?

Get off

my

intellectual

property.

The fog

a feral

dog.

3.

Recession:

hairline,

gumline.

Bread-

line.

Passive

regression.

He played

the pup;

he played

tricks.

Politics

the infamous

stray

under the bed.

4.

Night,

a sex

site

of white

boys

with an

aversion

to latex.

Or a version

of that.

I bet

not one

of them

has ever

shat.

5.

We pause

to disarticulate

our jaws.

Living

Dead

giving

head.

Backdoor

Chip,

my step-

hipster,

my go-

go:

find her

on Grindr.

6.

Numbers

in love,

affairs

with shares:

big pharma.

Our age

a gag,

a mouthful

of knowledge.

Fierce.

Karma

is workin’

a Birkin

colostomy

bag.

7.

He held

an associate’s

degree

in manipulation.

His existence,

consonants;

the vowels

like bowels,

no movement.

Beat off,

he yelled;

I think

he meant

buzz.

I did both.

8.

I resist

the urge

to rhapsodize:

boys

in blue

pills;

the poor;

the purge.

Honor

kills.

At least

his

“grooming

injury”

was “minor.”

9.

It was:

the butt-

dial

of relationships;

two ships;

philosophy

& pot

brownies

with townies;

a half-

mile

from

thought.

It was

not.

10.

I do

as I

am told.

When

he blinks

I call;

when

he smiles

I fold.

I do

it on

a dime.

What’s

a dime?

Old.

11.

Nail

& donut

& dildo

shops:

a full

life.

Become

the dead.

And yet.

Sunset;

pre-cum—

spread

with

a dull

knife.

 

 Photo credit: Josh Koll

Photo credit: Josh Koll

Author Bio

Randall Mann is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Proprietary (Persea Books, 2017). His book of criticism, The Illusion of Intimacy: On Poetry, is forthcoming from Diode Editions in March 2019. His work recently appeared on Poem-A-DayLit Hub, and on the Poetry Foundation website. He lives in San Francisco.