Unbearable | Jenn Zuko

Image: Jr Korpa


I writhe in the bed alone
clutching a million imaginary illnesses
that become real as I brood on them.
Wrap one cloth around me
and try to breathe

When that pain wracks my bones
In between shuddering waves
I sigh in pleasure
Yes. Give me more.

Push the threshold until it dissolves
pain bleeds over into ecstasy
give me more.

Angels straddle the line.
That’s why shepherds cower
when they appear.
That’s why their music is death.

Van Gogh. Poe. Marat/Sade.
Even their names sound like moans.

When two opposite sides of the coin
melt together into mercury
unbearable nirvana

Jenn Zuko (she/they) received their MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University back in 2001, and has been teaching at the college level ever since. Some highlights of their published work include: Stage Combat with Allworth Press (2006), “I Do My Own Stunts” in the Fight Master (2014), and two series of cultural commentary articles, titled Problematic Badass Female Tropes and Problematic Toxic Masculinity Tropes, found on Writers’ HQ and A Wandering Road websites, respectively (2018-2020). Her Substack newsletter is called Zuko’s Musings, with regular original work posted three times a week. She has been professionally involved in live theatre since the ‘90s, and is active today as a fight director and intimacy coordinator. She also co-produces and performs in an old-school, ribald variety show called Blue Dime Cabaret. Her Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts are all named Jenn Zuko. Her Twitter is @Bonzuko.

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