The Fall of 1992

By Randall Mann Randall Mann Read the Q & A

Gainesville, Florida

An empire of moss,
          dead yellow, and carapace:
that was the season
          of gnats, amyl nitrate, and goddamn
rain; of the gator in the fake lake rolling

his silverish eyes;
          of vice; of Erotica,
give it up and let
          me have my way. And the gin-soaked dread
that an acronym was festering inside.

Love was a doorknob
          statement, a breakneck goodbye—
and the walk of shame
          without shame, the hair disheveled, curl
of Kools, and desolate birds like ampersands...

I re-did my face
          in the bar bathroom, above
the urinal trough.
          I liked it rough. From behind the stall,
Lady Pearl slurred the words: Don’t hold out for love.

Source: Poetry (April 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2010
 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Relationships


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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