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 silverfish 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.”



The Fall of 1992

Randall Mann


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