Things They Say
Drink water. Fold your clothes. Don’t sleep with a dog every night; you’ll wake with a cold. Walk to the deli. When picking pickles, use tongs. Wash your hands after petting the goat. Don’t eat too much cheese. Use Splenda instead of sugar–everyone is dying from diabetes. Look at the sun while it’s there, but don’t open your eyes in a pool. You don’t want urine grazing your retina. Dream, but carefully, seriously. Pray as a last resort, first resort, for productivity, for sheer pleasure, because you’re lonely, before the sky turns into blue glass, and shards of it wreck the city. They say spend a lot on slippers, a good water bottle, long johns, and coffee. Yesterday at her new apartment I had dinner with my just divorced mother, her eyes thick with 6 cups of wine. She didn’t want coffee, didn’t want to learn how to Netflix. I fell in love with a girl behind the desk, my heart saying, “Don’t, Don’t, Don’t.”
Gianni Gaudino lives in South Philly and is a 7th grade English teacher in the school district of Philadelphia. His poems appear recently in Whirlwind Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Public Pool, and Philadelphia Stories. He’s the son of an immigrant mother from Pozzuoli, Italy, a city just outside of Naples, and he visits Pozzuoli once or twice every year to see his father, aunts, uncles, friends, grandparents—all of whom have only ever lived there. Other than seeing family, Gianni’s favorite thing to do in Italy is staring Mt. Vesuvius and also just sitting on a bus, marveling at the cadences of the Neapolitan dialect.