Halston

By Randall Mann Randall Mann

Roy Halston Frowick, 1932–1990

He kept his middle name, the pick of   the lot,
he thought, and mispronounced himself: Hall-stun.

At Bergdorf’s he acquired an accent and referred
to himself   in the third person, every bird he flayed

wrapped in Ultrasuede. He lit a True with a True,
smeared his hirsute muse with sequins. There were air-

kisses, Capote’s new-cut face at Studio 54, that Baccarat
flute of ejaculate. Never too late, he ordered in

meat and potatoes, and a trick.
He called it “dial-a-steak, dial-a-dick.” He appeared

on The Love Boat, Halstonettes in tow,
maybe the high, maybe the low, watermark.

When his pupils betrayed him at work, on came the shades.
And a well-cut blazer, paranoia. He had signed away

the rights to his name, for options. When he tried
to reclaim them from the conglomerate,

he excused himself to the toilet, just a sec —
white dust on a black turtleneck.

His block started to look a lot like sickness.
Even his beloved orchids, the sickness.

Just like that, the eighties were gone.
New York, New York, the eighties were no one.

Source: Poetry (December 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2013
 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.”

Mann is . . .

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