We’re fast approaching the release of Jen Durbent’s canon, and are excited to share with you a sample from the collection!

On Her Existence (2018)

Excuse me! Excuse me! Sorry to bother you while you're reading your book, and I'm sorry if it's creepy, but I can't help but notice that you put non-dairy creamer in your fairly-traded, organically-grown, coffee-shop coffee. Well, maybe that's not creepy. But I'm pretty sure that it is creepy that I can't help but notice the cut of your skirt, the height of your heels, and you might want to pluck your eyebrows. I'm not saying this as a judge , but you might like to know. I just notice even when if I can't look at myself in the mirror and take my own advice. I don't want to say more and I can't help myself and I know you might be offended and I apologize. It might sound weird coming from someone that looks like I do that I can't decide if I want you or if I want to be you. I know that it's not OK. I know you are a fully formed person and that your presence is not an invitation. My brain is limited. These couple pounds of meat is no immovable object against the unstoppable force of unwanted testosterone. But I'm trying. The latter might be more interesting, but it's grown difficult to discuss, though I will try. I am afraid I can't help it. Just remember when I say the light in my soul went out: you had nothing to do with it. Inside I have my own goddess and she is hope for proper gnosis. Is it shame that I do not believe in her? I'm afraid I can't help it. She is barely a breath, nearly invisible like the steam off chai. I don't think I am being clear. It's not really my fault; but it is. I am afraid. Let me just say it. Part of me—part of this him— is a her. And I'll be damned if she isn't fabulous. She comes out to say to the universe, "I exist." But this him pushes her away with tears and the iron and food and hate and says, “Just wait, please.” She is patient, but she doesn't want to wait, not really. She is beyond waiting and chastising me for edging into cowardice. I can't blame her. Would you want to be trapped inside this terrible visage? So I tell her: "You should never want to be real. Because the world is worse for hope; because dreams never ever come true; because dessert never is as sweet; because fury never is as righteous; because sex never is as dirty; because crying never is enough release; because love always is lopsided because whoever gives less has more." She doesn't believe me. At all. Logic cannot dissuade her, especially when she's not constructed of logic; she is the result of the mathematics of synapses, sinew, and hope. Enough about me, or her, or us! You inhabit your body, your poise and your pose and your placement of leg atop leg and hand on handle and the way you hold that book. I can see roots in your dye job; somehow that makes me envy you more. So when I get up to leave, please remember as I pass homeless teenagers warming their hands over unlit tinders: I do not stare just because of lust (though I cannot deny that). I stare because you are beautiful to the one sharing my heart and she wants to ask you how you became so beautiful, so real, so true.