Queen Christina

By Randall Mann Randall Mann
To celebrate his final Pride, in June,
my friend, lymphatic, thin, and in distress,
managed to dress in drag. He shot the moon:
outstretched, he’d used his dying to think—obsess—
 
about the Prada pumps, their skin a snake;
the heavy pantyhose, two pair; the moot
but lacy underthings; the makeup, cake,
to overlay his pain. I called him beaut-
 
i-ful; he said he felt like Greta Garbo
in Queen Christina (our campy interplay);
I countered that he looked more like a hobo-
sexual in heels. We howled. That day,
 
we never left his Castro flat. His rhinestone
glittered, and everywhere, the smell of cologne.

Randall Mann, "Queen Christina" from Breakfast with Thom Gunn. Copyright © 2009 by Randall Mann.  Reprinted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.

Source: Breakfast with Thom Gunn (The University of Chicago Press, 2009)

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Poet Randall Mann

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Death, Health & Illness, Love, Heartache & Loss, Activities, Indoor Activities, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Sonnet

 Randall  Mann

Biography

Randall Mann’s poems are often set within the landscape of Florida or California. Influenced by Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Bishop, and Donald Justice, Mann’s poetry—at once vulnerable, unflinching, and brave in its ambivalence—explores themes of loss, attraction, brutality, and expectation. Of his preference for working in form, Mann says, “Form helps me approach more comfortably the personal, helps me harden argument.”

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Health & Illness, Love, Heartache & Loss, Activities, Indoor Activities, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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