Tuesday, June 8, 2010
A Poem by Thom Gunn
I met the poet Thom Gunn, more than once. This does not of course suggest that we were acquainted. When I saw him, it was always at bookstores, at readings or parties. I knew who he was of course. Thom was the incredibly sexy older fellow in jeans and boots who smiled politely whenever he caught me staring at him, which I did, every time I saw him. He was incredibly charismatic, and would have been even had he not been a poet. Each time I was introduced, or reintroduced by mutual friends, Thom Gunn was charming, though he clearly hadn't any memory of having met me before. No reason he should have.
I heard him read his work aloud twice, both times in fairly intimate settings. Despite the general applause and laughter, I felt very much that the poet was reading just to me. When periodically he would look up from the page and scan his audience, I convinced myself that he was searching until he met my eyes. Foolish, I know, but... oh my.
This poem I love because it manages to be a bit bitchy and yet quite forgiving in its way. And I think it beautiful as well.