Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Love Poem: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

Just a reminder dears! Even though I haven't been doing regular FLP posts, you can submit one at any time like my pal Jennifer-Leigh did! Here are the submission details.

Jersey City-

this is never going to work.

When Mayor Healy calls you a problem child,
he isn’t wrong.
You are like Helen Keller
after the fistfights
and before the Braille:

a badass dressed in vintage
who only believes in things she can touch.

Jersey City,

I never learned to speak until you touched me.
Now, I'm in rehab trying to learn how to shut up.

Jersey City,

when Superintendent of Schools Charles Epps
said that little girls were your biggest problem,
he might've been exaggerating,
but he wasn’t lying.

Put sugar and spice within a 50-mile radius of your arms, 
and they transform into sirens-
songs and all.
That's why they call us girls beautiful
even when we're falling apart.

Jersey City,

you stole my heart
and my mom bought a time machine.

You thought you could cry your way out of it
and bust a sewer main,
but she found a paddle boat.

You are the one thing she begged me never to take home.
It’s not that she’s against free love or anything. 
She just really wants grandkids
and girl-on-girl isn't exactly conducive to that,
but I've always been an overachiever
so, fuck it- I wanna build skyscrapers with you,
create a brood of brownstone and barley wine
and call your concrete mine.

Jersey City,
you tried and failed to take my virginity 3 times,
but still you let me stay,
all smokestack sunrise
in your open palms I lay.

Jersey City,
in order to properly execute this break-up poem,
you’re technically going to need to screw up,
so listen up:
I’ve surrounded Hoboken in banana peels.
All you’ve gotta do is fall into her 
and look gorgeous like you always do.

When you try to blame it on gravity, 
I’ll walk into the sunset 
as if departure was a place 
I always knew.

Jersey City,

the first time I went to Hudson Pride,
It was because I honestly believed that it was a support group 
for girls who fell in love with cities.

I even had a nametag that said 
“Hi! I’m a HudsonSexual. I mean, my name is Jenn!”

That was before I realized 
that it was for universes 
learning how to live as men.

Jersey City,

we both knew I’d eventually be leaving. 
You just always assumed I’d carry you back in my arms. 
Yes, we both know that big girls have their charms, 
but let’s be realistic here.

Jersey City,

when I grow up, I want to be your heartbeat 
instead of an arrhythmia still searching for her key.
they say the easiest way to leave is to make a quick and painless release,
but I’ve never seen the romance in bandaids or adhesion,
so call me lady liberty.

Let New York say what she will,
but I will always rise up to meet you
spine more rusty than respectable,
painted in all the shades of your lovers past.
I promise to hold them close as long as they keep building you up to last.

Jersey City,
there will never be enough poems
enough harbors
enough cobblestones to break your heart of glass.

Jersey City,

you’re probably going to get me killed,
but I just might take the bullet
if it leaves me at your side-
the terror, the rest and release, the pride.

You don’t have to do anything crazy like make me your bride.
I’ve never needed a ring to tell me I had the right to love you.
the heart transplants have always been instinct,
their beating, the reflex of an exploding compass rose.

Jersey City,
we’ve already started our revolution.
just let me call you home.

Bio: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory is a connoisseur of carpe diem and light. Slam Mistress of the Pleasantville Poetry Slam (Hawthorne, New Jersey), editor-in-chief/founder of the online poetry journals Borderline and Anatomy + Etymology, and Publicity Manager of Death Hums Magazine & Reading Series in NYC, her work has been featured in journals including The Legendary, Breadcrumb Scabs, Troubadour 21, and Four and Twenty.  She wants to help you rediscover your heart, one syllable at a time. For more information, check out her website at

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