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23| Hyperbole

Randall Mann

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I start with good intentions. On a date,
I struggle not to sound so insincere;
I think, hyperbole will be my fate.

Last night I found a fairly decent mate.
When cruising for a partner on the pier,
I start with good intentions, on a date.

Last night was filled with ways to fabricate
affection: tulips; lube; imported beer,
I think. Hyperbole will be my fate:

I left before he might reciprocate;
I swallowed so his mother wouldn’t hear.
I start with good intentions on a date -

my upswept hair; my briefs. I’m losing weight.
What stays, like some insipid trick, is fear.

Randall Mann is the author of three poetry collections: Straight Razor (where this poem also appears), Breakfast with Thom Gunn, and Complaint in the Garden. His poems and prose have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Poetry, Salmagundi, and The Washington Post. He lives in San Francisco.

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