By Randall Mann
Those who lack a expertise for romance have come
to stroll the lengthy Pier 7. right here on the end
of the imagined global are 3 low-flying gulls
like lies at the floor; the sluggish red
of a pilot’s boat; the groan
of a fisherman hacking a small shark—
and our speech just like the icy water, a poor
translation that may not hold us across.
What introduced us west, besides? A hunger.
But ours is not any Donner celebration, we who feed
only on surroundings, the most secure form
of obfuscation: see how the bay is a gray
deepening into grey, the colour of heartbreak.
Randall Mann’s Breakfast with Thom Gunn is a piece either direct and unsettling. Haunted through the afterlife of Thom Gunn (1929–2004), some of the most liked homosexual literary icons of the 20th century, the poems are moored in Florida and California, however the backdrop is “pitiless,” the bushes “thin and bloodless,” the phrases “like the icy water” of the San Francisco Bay. Mann, fiercely clever, open but elusive, attracts at the “graceful erosion” of either panorama and the physique, at the attractiveness that lies in unbeauty. With audacity, anxiousness, and unbridled hope, this proficient lyric poet grapples with dilemmas of the homosexual self embroiled in—and aroused by—a glittering, unforgiving lifestyle. Breakfast with Thom Gunn is immediately formal and loose, forging a chic integrity within the hearth of wit, depth, and betrayal.
Praise for Complaint within the Garden
“We have prior to us a skillful, witty, passionate younger poet. . . . Randall Mann is either attuned to and at odds with the flora and fauna; he articulates the passions and predicaments of a self within an incredible, arousing, yet occasionally brutal tradition. And he accomplishes this stuff with buoyant lyric sensibilities and rejuvenating skills.”—Kenyon Review