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Jim Cory reads from Have You Seen This Man?

What are friends for? When you are dead and gone, sometimes someone advocates for your remembrance, giving your past a present, an amazing accomplishment when the word lives. Through serendipity and fate, Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington, publishers at Sibling Rivalry Press in Little Rock, became aware of the poetry of Karl Tierney, who had done graduate work in Arkansas, and found themselves already connected through social media with Jim Cory, the literary executor of the poet’s work. In 1995, sick with AIDS, Karl Tierney jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and was never seen again. Now twenty-four years after his death, he lives. And it’s an amazing gift. Have You Seen This Man? is a coming of age at an intense time of death in The Castro, an epicenter (epic-center) for AIDS, a front row seat in the eye of that hurricane. Have You Seen This Man? is a very readable book because it comes from a unique poet’s vision that is observant, gentle, witty, and never snide, happy truths even when unhappy in every poem on every page. What is important? Living is what’s important, and it’s what this poet does up to the last poem that he breathes, a labor of love well worth waiting for.

Here are four poems that Jim Cory doesn’t read in the Vimeo. They caught my eye early on in the book, one that really captures Catullus, and three that capture the feel of a place, Arkansas and graduate school, and the Castro. Enjoy.


It comes at you from nowhere
and has the disturbing quality
of knowing your desire

On occasion it appears nude in your bed
you can even touch it and more
and then it is off hiring a lawyer
or was only a dream in the first place

Perhaps it’s in West Hollywood shopping
or standing still on a sidewalk,
with only a hand in motion
hitchhiking its way to Bel Air.

December 12, 1986


(after Catullus)

O glamorous whore!
with bone for an ass
and a stub for a nose
banal fingers
filthy ears and inane eyes
overextended credit
and the heightened diction
of a salesman
you are I believe the kept boy
of that fat pig Wharton.

And the City calls you gorgeous.
They set you up beside my Jerome.
O generation drunken and blind!

June 6, 1987

The Blindness of Habit

I would not mind so much
if tonight you’d call
with those toxic charms
my friends hear too much of.
You’d wear an outrageous hat
and steer me into the cityscape
with hearty tavern laughter
till dawn when I’d waken
dizzy and sick
the night a foolish blur
the joy flushed down the toilet
and, with no money left,
curse the sun’s damn glare.

August 10, 1987

Arkansas Landscape: Wish You Were Here

for Frank O’Hara

It’s windy outside,
and red-nosed boys from the hills
walk free from sin-sod shoes
through the collegetown mall.
Everywhere there’s hair blowing
(brown mostly)
and the bushes huddle together
animated in conversations about the sea,
what it might be.
They gather that it’s full of weeds
and smells.
Here and there those long skirts fly,
and the loud of car radios
presses through the blows.
It’s Wednesday outside,
which is, of course, wonderful
and the secrets of the world
are unraveling here.

August 27, 1987

Have You Seen This Man? is published by Sibling Rivalry Press. You can check them out here:


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