SOUP: Can I Get a Witness?

A low-simmer column about queerness, identity, and growing the fuck up 

By Jen Harris
Photos by Justina Kellner

When I was a child, there was no such thing as choice.

I know you don’t believe me. I know you want to argue with me right off the bat. Perfect. Hi. Hello. Welcome. I’m Jen. I’m queer. A nonbinary womxn. A lesbian. I’m 35AF, and I know saying that proves it. This is my first time here, so I figured a proper introduction would be… qualifying. It’s like when someone writes a letter to a celebrity (in this case, you are the celebrity) and they (I) start it with, “I have never written a letter like this before in my life.”

Often, that’s true.

It’s true for me, now. I’ve never been 35 before. I’ve never written a column about the queer experience. I don’t feel proficient for this task. For one thing, I bought a television a month ago, and it’s still leaning against the wall. I don’t know who’s popular or what matters to the masses. I don’t know any vacation hot spots, and I certainly don’t have the 411 on lesbian engagement dating apps. I’m taking a break from s-e-x… sooooo……

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Poet Jen Harris’s new book Unconfirmed Certainties is about heartbreak, growth, and telling your truth⁠—even if that means saying “fuck you” to cheating fiancées.

Bad Ass Babes: Jen Harris

By Kelcie McKenney

Jen Harris outside her Kansas City home
Photo by Justina Kellner

Poet Jen Harris is unapologetic about telling her truth, and she wants readers of her new book Unconfirmed Certainties to feel the same. 

The Kansas City poet and spoken word artist has earned her place at the center of KC’s poetry scene: She has both a Drugstore and Charlotte Street residency under her belt, gave a TED talk called “Spoken Word Poetry Saved My Life,” had a guest spot on season three of Queer Eye, founded the Kansas City Poetry Slam (aptly named because she “believes in SEO ratings”), and published two books, with her third to be released on Sunday. Harris isn’t stopping any time soon.

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