jenna vélez

Poetry Spotlight #28: Jenna Vélez

One of the most enriching, forward-thinking, fastest-growing online creative communities flourishing right now is the Poetry community, especially in those scenes that center on marginalized voices — Women, POC, Neurodivergent, and LGBTQ. Poetry Spotlight is a feature aiming to showcase the work of some of the most talented creators we’ve discovered making waves on the Internet literary circles, inside or outside the mainstream. This installment focuses on the poetry of Jenna Vélez.

Jenna is a queer poet of color from suburban Philadelphia. She hopes to shed light on the many layers of identity, trauma, spirituality, and relationships through her poems, and share her love of both the ugly and the beautiful. Her work has been featured in yell/shout/scream journal, Rising Phoenix Review, Burning House Press, and as a regular contributor in Rose Quartz Journal and Pvssy Magic Press.

Me and Eileen in a 1980’s Heaven


They were playing
That song she likes
Balloons ascending
To a 1980s heaven

I remember I held her
Like a drowning man
Axinite eyes shut to the
Infrared heat of unused bodies
Opened wide for the one
Who mattered most

Air heavy with purple fog
And the threat of goodbye
When she tastes like static
Lips fuzzy like orgasmic bees
Making out with TV noise
Arm hair on standby

She was my Eileen in that dress
My face hiding that goodbye in her
Throbbing neck all the while
Friends dry hump the coat rack
Sneaking swigs of communion
In the church basement
Like a depraved Dionysus
Disguised in priest’s robes
The only time I felt I could
Go to a 1980s heaven too




Porcelain Christening


Black pudding
Toilet rosewater
Floating clots on its surface
In murderous meniscus
Sanguine pacifier born to the girl
With tissues for tissues
A royal flush of moon
And merciful execution
Of brutal sadistic suicide
A mutiny of my own body




a distrust of blueberries


how can you purse your lips
suck in a frosted navy berry
kill it between your moral-less molars
let purple blood run down your stubbled chin
and tell me there is still good left in the world

violets are never blue in my love letters
and blueberries are always violet in their juice
violence like the way you kiss me before a fight
i can’t trust your beloved fruit
it’s a stain your poison tongue




wonder bones


Vonnegut tattoo and a boyish freckled face
Your chain anointing my forehead
I could wrap you in my arms twice and squeeze
Until green eyes begged to be naked

I slip five dollars between your fourth rib
As a thank you for touching me
With the filth of a urinal baptism
Wood-paneled basement with
The scent of wet dog and good weed
And a taste like that sweet smoke

Biting down your southern apple lip
In wounded animal orgasm
A manic episode sweated off in thuds like
My jeans and boy wonder hitting cervix
Still you held me like you regretted the
Gasp of my kiss-clogged windpipe

We both still smile at how you lost your sense
And I found my sovereignty




[“Me and Eileen in a 1980’s Heaven” first appeared in Rising Phoenix Press on July 15, 2018. Jenna can be found on her website]

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