By Randall Mann Randall Mann
This is what he dreams of:
a map of burned land,
a mound of dirt
in the early century’s winter.
A map of burned land?
A country is razed
in the early century’s winter.
And God descends.
A country is raised
because of industry.
And God descends,
messengers rush inside
because of industry,
in spite of diplomats.
Messengers rush inside
to haunt the darkened aisles.
In spite of diplomats,
the witnesses know well
to haunt the darkened aisles,
the witnesses know well
that ushers dressed in black
lurk by the cushioned seats.
That ushers dress in black
should tell you something:
lurking by the cushioned seats,
the saved and the terrible.
I should tell you something:
this is what he dreams of,
the saved and the terrible—
a mound of dirt.

Randall Mann, "Politics" 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


Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Pantoum

 Randall  Mann


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.”

Mann is . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics


Poetic Terms Pantoum

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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