Gunn Dead


The Teddy boy, all rebel cool
circa 1956
in skinny jeans and biker boots,
insolent, tough, the image mean,
the attitude like Jimmy Dean
posed by a street lamp in leather.
The poems mapped the metaphysical
constraints of finding in the real
a car-buffed resolution won
with the tricky scoping of a Wyatt
or a leftfield John Donne.
Later, you came out and the poems fed
on San Francisco hip and drugs
done for recreational chill,
bath houses and rock festivals,
men that were like your paradigm,
masculine, but soft the way
a resilient sensitivity
typifies gay.
Your work increased, casual, humane,
finding in loss, the Aids die-off
a recombinant theme:
death and the outlaw, viral loads
tracking through cells like SAS.
A late compassion: it was tried
against a generation's
We miss you with your line as clean
as veins in a nasturtium's leaf,
neat, economic and symmetrical.
You died, a youthful 70,
alone in bed, life-force still optimal,
your work unfinished, it's the way
to leave the parts unequal to the sum.