jenn valerio

       COPYWRITER WORK           



          let’s chat
poems, scripts, unfinished stories, half-uttered sentences, mindless thoughts, and gems from another time
where would we be if all our writers were happy?
if all our story tales lived without the weight of woe
what kind of undertow
would their currents bring
what tales of strength and bravery would be upheld
what self-help books would be on our shelves
what is distraught to a happy mind
one devoid of anguish and passing of time
because to be sad is a lingering ache
i’m happy too but the moments are chance
met with restless doubt that yells we don’t deserve this fate
no, we are destined for darkness
where only our thoughts ruminated are illuminated 
bathed in blinding pulsing abstractions
distractions once attractive now fashioned as invalid
epicenters of selves we tossed out like refuse
until we pen ink to paper
and all our misused ideals bottled up now fall somewhere new
to be consumed, by you
by happiness, by ones too happy and craving new feelings
take some of mine
i’ve got plenty to spare
free of charge, by the dozen, i make daily despair


Every waiting room has a fern.

Every waiting room sees a hundred people a day. I wonder if the fern remembers their names. The purpose of the fern is to create the illusion of outside but inside. The illusion that something, especially in a doctors waiting room, feels too juxtaposed to exist. 

It’s like the fern is saying, “if I can be strong in this environment, you can too”

The fern is a reminder that things wait for you on the outside. The world keeps moving but it waits for the feel of your footsteps upon the ground, the scent of your skin upon the air, and the sight of your smile in the setting suns.

New York traffic is a real buzzkill. But I’m looking out the window in the backseat of an Uber my company paid for and I see a chain link fence separating us from garish buildings too out of place next to stained and loved buildings probably on their last legs. Between my car and the chain link fence, there are wildflowers. The soft purple ones. Just thriving on the side of an exit in Brooklyn, glistening a little from humid skies on a cloudier day.

It always rains in New York when I visit. 

There’s a truck next to me now. I think the driver forgot they had an oil canister sticking out of the side ladder. It seems safe though. Tucked in behind the rungs of iron like maybe it was purposefully put there. 

Now I’m looking at faces on the subway. On the same bridge all those rom coms get those aerial shots of the main character contemplating their decision to leave the love of their life or take the job in the city or wait until some miracle happens so they and we are no longer part of this farce. I wonder if the people on the subway are having their moment. The sun is rising over the Hudson, the skyline is straight across in their eyesight; there must, if not even a little, be some deep contemplation going on. 

I’m in Bowery now. Everything looks so different. Everyone is wearing atheleisure and they’re walking next to people who have to see their neighborhood turn into advertisements for AI. This is a Chinatown where, if you’re a white woman, your uniform is strictly lululemon. There are minimal coffee shops where the inside looks more sterile than mount sanei sinai next to signs for hot pots and iPhone repairs. Some of the lamp posts have seemingly random objects affixed at various spots as a sort of tribute to art perhaps. New York seems less cohesive these days. 

There’s a Jackie Robinson museum. I didn’t know that. Almost to my hotel. I forgot the purpose of this. 


I’ve always been a problem solver. Like when I was in elementary school and I really wanted a bag of ice. You know the ones - when a kid gets hurt, they send them to the nurse and give them a bag of ice to help any swelling. I didn’t want to get hurt but every kid with an ice bag always came out of it looking so triumphant. Each of them holding up a shiny, glistening ziploc bag full of perfectly crescent shaped ice. I wanted that. But I didn’t want to get hurt. The perfect solution was to draw a bruise on myself and feign distress. I was great at selling the distress part but I wasn’t too familiar with shading yet so my “bruise” looked more like a pen exploded on me. I’m not sure if my teacher was being nice or if she just really appreciated my ingenuity but the bag I so highly coveted was finally MINE.

What does this say about me? Well, I like being cold. Being sweaty makes me anxious. But mostly, I’m willing to sacrifice my dignity to find a solution. What the Martin Agency does so well is problem-solving. But they’re also not afraid to roll their sleeves up, present a good idea (even if the shading is a little off), and maybe lose just a little bit of self-respect while they’re at it.

Because how incredible can a person be
With each layer peeled back
In hushed tones and solemn sighs
But still I beckon with voracious intent 
For more 
More of your life
What brings you peace 
What brings you sadness
How your life like confetti touches each person you meet
Like a party just for them
I am writing you a poem
Because your life and my life are one in the same
And how through ages and eras
Our thoughts collided infinitely
Albeit on different planes
But to culminate here in this chapter of life
Like a long awaited breath
Or a breeze lifting off sweat
Arriving with a tremendous amount of serendipity 
After existing in other dimensions
That’s what this feels like
That’s why I am writing you a poem
To tell you that I am glad that we met
I am glad that you’re here
I hope you stay awhile
I’d like to know you for another lifetime
And have your life like confetti
Fill mine like a party

It was a sweltering summer day when we decided to head down to the water. We've been coming here for years, ever since I was a child. This place had always been a sanctuary of soothing respite. The calm coolness of the water, the warm sand underneath the soft padding of soles, and the blissfully salted air was all I needed to be reminded of peace in a tumultuous world. This day was no different than any other at first. We left at dawn and arrived at our private oasis around mid-morning. The usual shuffle of settling occurred as my brother and I hypnotically walked towards the water. The gentle lap of waves and its murky, mysterious depths were so inviting, we couldn't wait to wade in. I followed my brother into the green-blue of the unknown. I felt relaxed and excited as the water met my feet, then my knees, then as it climbed over my shoulders, barely engulfing me in its wonder. I floated, for a moment, happy to once again return to a place of great fondness. That was when I felt my world on fire beneath the surface.

It was intense. The pain caught hold of my leg so abruptly with such vigor that I could no longer keep myself afloat. I suddenly felt heavy. The waves felt like they were bringing me in, calling me home as if I've always known the ocean would be my final place of rest. The brightness of the sun on a balmy summer day flickered above me as the waves tumbled over my head. I felt a quick and violent tug around my shoulder and in one rapid movement, my eyes met the glare of the sun and my hands felt the coarseness of the sand. The pain that latched itself to my right leg came back with such ferocity that I almost thought the whole thing was missing. As I was pulled to shore by my brother, I saw that my leg was still attached to my body but it also found something else. Through glistening tears, I looked down at my aggressor and was met with a bulbous box jellyfish that was firmly hugging my leg. At this point, my mom and dad had bounded down the shoreline to meet my brother. My mom ripped off the tiny alien attached to my body and flung it back into the dark sea. My dad helped me up as I aimlessly stumbled towards the direction of wherever home was.

Over the next few days, I watched the ocean from our sun-kissed desk and thought longingly of going back. The water, still inviting, but reborn in my mind as a boundless and precarious entity, capable of alarming surprises. On the third day, the remnants of the box jellyfish sting were still quite prominent on my leg as they began to darken and crust over the raw and red edges. My feeling of weakness started to subside with each passing day. By the following week, the garish scabs on my leg began to slough off by activity or frequent wound cleaning. The bright pink edges dotted with red speckles of blood as some found themselves torn off before their time to heal naturally. In the coming days and in those times far from the present pain, the sting of the ocean left a scar similar to its character; brash, erratic, and everlasting.