Category Archives: Vaughan Gunson

No Contest by Vaughan Gunson

we eye each other up on the beach,
a stand-off at fifty paces (or
some twenty years): Perk n’ Proud
            versus Slightly Saggy.
I fall back, your round.

we catch each other’s eye again
as I stagger bent & small
carrying four towels, three surfboards,
            two buckets, & one ball.
your legs stand further apart
like a tripod, surveying the crowd.

we dare to eye each other’s girl.
one wears a bikini, the other
a very practical beach top.
you think you’ve done me again,
but I know I’m in the game.

leaving, we look each other’s way,
as you lower yourself, shirt off,
into the seat of your car
& I wearily climb up into mine.
both proud, a glint of respect.

I think of you once more tonight
after making love, better
than it was twenty years ago.
there’s no pride, no envy,
just maybe the hard firm control
            of wisdom growing.


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none of that by Vaughan Gunson

I try to stuff it down
this poetry thing

the light of a
a rainbow stretched
to black

it wants everything
if it could
if it might be good,
                                     which is
always in doubt

like leaving home,
leaving to follow
the stars across the Pacific

always in doubt.

it’s been said before,
& once more:
it’s not the time for poetry
(when has there
been a time?)

we need something braver,
something harder
can be a wayward
& glorious coward

& you can take
one too many steps
over the body in the street,

the street where there are no
camellias planted

none of that.


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our dog is like Frank O’Hara by Vaughan Gunson

our dog is like Frank O’Hara
     lover of gregarious freedom!
we don’t want to train him — he’s untrainable
half wild, like a Coltrane solo
he takes free rein, takes it where it will go
he barks at everyone he sees     with no malice
he just wants to say hello
& tell everyone     he loves them
he can jump up in the air in crazy yelping pirouettes
he’s a bit of a show-off

he’s too quick footed for the big slow dogs
who can’t pin him down     there’s no easy walk
trotting along beside in regular rhythm
it’s all full tilt, nose down, tail up, pulling forward
choking against the collar — sudden stops
deviations     instant enthusiasms
abandoned for the next delicious scent     tiring
& exhilarating, like keeping up with Peter
when his brain’s exploding
T.S.Elliot mixed with obscenities

he sleeps close to us on the bed
any noise, 2am, 5am, & he’ll leap off
& run around barking in circles     it’s idiotic
& pisses us off
he wants to lick your ears in the morning
loves it when you scratch his head
he hardly eats, but likes to clean your plate
flies annoy him    (he’s mostly content)

he escapes often, being small & agile
always finding a new way to get out
we’re lucky he hasn’t been hit by a car
we would miss him a lot
     because he’s full of the genius of life
our dog
a destroyer of shallow boredom
like Frank O’Hara.


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