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  • Writer's pictureJason Jenn

Closing OUT Glendale Pride

It was a pleasure to participate in the City of Glendale, California’s first ever PRIDE month celebration. Thanks to the efforts of folks like Grey James, Gary Freeman, Nick Macierz, Ben Evans and others, the ACE/121 Gallery participated in an exhibition of art and worked with Hank Henderson of homo-centric to organize a literary evening of spoken word. Here is my contribution – the original poem “I painted my fingernails a rainbow”:

I painted my fingernails a rainbow To help answer the question what makes you queer? (original version: so you would know what kind of person I am)

(holding up the right pinky – painted pink)

See here on my pinky – a dollop so dinky But powerful, potent and purposely pink Within its tiny confines my little girl dream twinkles To distract from all the growing wrinkles Once upon a time you might think pink was weak But have you not seen its profound power united? Not tickled pink but ticked off pussy pink and taking no more shit From the stink of anything foul Pink is strength imparted from its corresponding tender parts To nab something drab and transform the norm Oh pink! Queerest shade under the sun Oh pink! Always on the brink of something fun Pink! Pink! Pink! I don’t think I could squeal any more in delight Than I do for you, pink!

(holding up the left pinky – painted purple)

And on the other hand reflecting time so refined The regal and stately shade known as purple Properly placed for my dainty old lady to sip her tea In calm and comfort with a sense of high society Not wishing any harm just wisdom upon everyone Well respected as reflected through the ages like the sages Dressed in various sensible shades and bountiful brocades so glorious purple The perspicacity of plum, the vibrancy of violet The exquisite ambiance imbued by amethyst Or the light lift that you get as a gift from lavender Vaulted and exalted in its holiness loyal to its royalty Purposefully elegant and tastefully poignant – purple!

(holding up both thumbs – painted green)

Now hang loose you’ll find on my hand’s caboose My apprehensible and indispensable opposable green thumbs To represent the lush Eden inside me Both the untamed jungles of sensuous mystery within Alongside my meticulously groomed hothouse Now should I still be found sucking my thumb It means I’ve come to enjoy the endless green pastures of delight All manner of savory succulents and vivacious vegetation for elation For that is how my garden grows But it’s also where my envy shows I hope my bitter herbs aren’t tossed in the mix too often A little spice when I’m not feeling nice For should I bite my thumb at you – it is indeed intended as an insult What can I say, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry It’s only natural – green

(holding up left ring finger – painted yellow)

Now watch out! Pay attention! Look here! You’ve been warned, but don’t be too alarmed dear fellow That beneath the sunny disposition warm and mellow To be faced with vibrant vivid livid not really so timid yellow Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fear That you’ll dismiss me as a mere lilting daffodil or dandelion queer You can paint me a coward yellow But whatever might dribble down my pant leg metaphorically Is merely one moment of this bold and buttery blonde – so beware! Should I release my wits upon you’ll be showered and certainly not in praise Like the wasp or bee that stings you will feel the burn Caution is required for such awesomeness acquired Highlighted in the accent of yellow

(holding up right ring finger – painted blue)

And here we find ourselves at blue Among the throngs a frequent favorite hue Not just for baby boys, but go on paint up your beards And release your tension lest I mention your balls Sunk into a funk of a picasso period somber mood indigo The weight of regrets where blue bruises forge tearful rivulets Or fleeting moments cut off too soon – come back I miss you midnight blue Things that were never said or said with dread until all blue in the face I want to moan – oh why do I feel so alone!? Give me strength to embrace navy blue – shock me into awareness electric blue Let me dive into a pool of cool mid-century blue or Soar once more into the vast and wild blue yonder of the sky Oh, yes, give me smooth soothing baby blue I love you How could I not stay true on a planet so blue!?

(holding up left middle finger – painted orange)

Now, how to define a color that defies to rhyme The brash and bold, does not always do what is told, orange But do not get me started on that vile atrocity and hypocrisy A disgrace to the particular hue and the entire human race… But yes orange can be gaudy and audacious, bawdy and salacious Like daggers in the eyes of sensibility So feisty and zesty in testing the limits of taste Tart and tangy, sweet and sultry Appropriate color for a citrus fruit and much more to boot The chakra source of our creative and erotic self Sending vibrations to our imaginations from mild to wild Orange ubiquitously encapsulates an entire season of autumnal splendor From falling leaves to all hallowed eves So wicked when you need it to be So cute as a pumpkin as required Abounding and astounding so, go for it already! Orange you glad you did?

(holding up right middle finger – painted red)

Now at last give in to your temptations and bite the apple red It may be reductive, but what could be more seductive? Such a striking stunning cunning color Worn in all the right places and dressed to impress Intoxicating like a fine wine – feel the rush as cheeks blush Lips drip and bosoms blossom popping with rosy radiance and a cherry on top So totally thrilling – and simultaneously chilling Afterall, cut us open will we not bleed – red Spill too much of it and we’re dead – red Wrap us in ribbons, bandage our wounds, paint the town – red Are we seeing nothing but – red Are we boiling over as the world heats up in anger– red More than a scarlet fever has reached a ferocious fervor in our head There’s a most uncivil war of otherness overwhelming all our senses Political fires burning bridges, burning crosses, burning truth and reason! Witness the witless demise of our society! Is this what we get with republican, right wing, fascist red? No! No! No! No! Fuck you red! We are ready to serve it right back to you Red revolution Red resistance Red rage God damn you, mother fucking, what the hell is happening If we keep this up we’ll all end up dead red!!!!!!

(putting together both index fingers – left painted black, right painted white)

But oh there is a calm to be found in the palette of the palm When the black and the white unite We just might be alright Making adjustments in this teeter totter balancing act of the universe The cosmic dance of yin and yang through time and space Combining all the colors, removing all the colors The blending of sight and the absence of light Everything and nothing Tranquility and clarity In the realm of possibility Reset restore renew refresh rebegin There is so much to be said about black and white But they speak volumes for themselves in voluptuous wavelengths of silence Shhhhhhhhh

As I gaze upon these fingertips I am reminded That I possess all of this and more A kaleidoscopic collage of colors and contradictions And in the patchwork pattern a most dramatic chromatic diorama My fingertips are bright little signposts Tell tale transmissions Of this is who I am This is the queer I am here to be And I see the prism you imprison behind yours as well Free the full spectrum of who you are We all contain Whitman’s magnificent multitudes

I painted my fingernails a rainbow To help answer the question what makes you queer?

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