Thursday, July 7, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Jennifer Gigantino!

Is it my imagination, or can you hear COA's patented "hmm." in the audience?


I'm sorry I got drunk on our first date.
My blood cells were wearing poodle skirts
and moving about in suspicious mob-like formations.
The cops were busy shutting down an Ozzy show
and all the rubber bullets had repurposed themselves
as erasers for standardized test centers.

What could I have done
but aim whiskey shots at them and holler:
John is dead! George is dead!
Paul writes Christmas music to eat rifles to!
Are you blood cells or are you dog whistles, anyway?
Is this a heart or is it a water slide?
You fickle bastards.
In a week you'll have moved on to the next flavor of the month,
and you'll replace the spandex shroud under your pillow
with a pleather shard from the One True Jacket.

In a week you'll have forgotten this,
this surging horde of a blush,
but you will never grow out of it – his eyes locking onto your face
for a fraction of a second, the accidental brush of his hand, 
the way it feels to scream for him: the sound ripping its way 
out of your throat like a phoenix born from embryonic lust 
dashing itself to pieces on the rock 
you can't help but chase.



The lights of the Las Vegas Strip
thrust their hips over the horizon
loud enough to drown out the moon.

Scream, and inherit the desert.
The biggest bed I could afford is waiting for us 
at the end of the highway, but a white wedding 
will never be written in the pages of our atlas.

Still (in motion) I want to ask you to marry me.
It's a craving: the crooked slot handle on my tongue,
the curved bite of the wooden Indian's hand, the growl
in my gut as the cherries spin by. The texture
of another dollar sliding from my fingers
is a stadium full of songs about nothing

but when I tell you I love you,
I mean it like an early-eighties power ballad:
desperate to beam something honest
through a fog of Aqua Net
and leopard-print spandex.

All the red stars on our road map
tell stories about blood diamonds and divorce statistics,
the 21st century obsolescence of happy endings
and the dangers of archaic promises,

but out here in the desert, there are
galaxies of white veils draping themselves 
over all the Joshua trees.

When I tell you I love you, it means I
forgot how to tell time. The sun's on
one side of me, Las Vegas on the other,
and I can't tell anymore which is rising
and which is falling. The indecent
proposal brimming in my throat tastes like the 
the aftermath of cheap beer,

but sometimes unclenching my jaw
isn't worth the mess.

I swallow hard, wash it down
with stale gas station coffee,
say a silent prayer of thanks
to Elvis, Tom Jones and holy Liberace 
that you don't notice my gag reflex
and turn the radio up louder
than a thousand slot machines
playing "Highway to Hell."

The desert abides around us.
Two years of missing persons
climb out of the sand and
trot after the car, fogging up our back
windows with handfuls of rice.

I watch them stumble. I choke 
until my love looks cheaper than
a vending machine cubic zirconia.

I keep my mouth shut. I never 
 want to hear you say no.

Jen(nifer) G(igantino) is a writer, filmmaker and aspiring hypothetical former marina trench explorer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has represented San Jose and Santa Cruz at the Individual World Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam, respectively, been published in venues ranging from literary journals to erotic magazines to websites about sobriety, and performed spoken word around the United States and Canada both alone and as one-half of the poetry duo The Pincushion Orchestra. She also comprises one half of the experimental horror film production duo No-Penis Productions, who were the winners of the 2008 Viscera Award for their film “The Date.” She has never been in the Navy.

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