Girl of the Lower Forty-Eight
Burying my nose in the old sweatshirt
smell again the lonely armpit of afternoon bar
where whisky and I fought
for the attention of that New York woman;
soaked in her aroma of clean reason
prim, drunk, authoritarian, alert, erect
as I waved the prism
of my glass to over-state: we’re the minority here, I mean, people
thinking how the sweet nicotine night never
really comes home, or conversely, it is ever milky dawn
in Valdez, rainbow oil on the uneasy streets
built for solo stampede of the scared, brown bear.
Again, I stumble to the toilet reeking of confused urine
like that mountain man
who fell asleep in 1896 but staggered back in 2014
for his cell case.
In my rental, again the seduction stevia of stolen Rocky Road
slurped under exhortatory, totalitarian posters: be happy!
love! live! You fuckers.
In studio, the black piano smelled of true lilac
where the pimply young girl sang
quando rapito in estaci
open trance of the frontier, how later our lunch smelled of starving tins
and when I walked outside the smokers exhaled the green that lives forever
Brother Movie, Sister Film
One night we jumped the rope at the multiplex
to catch four feature films in a stretch.
sure, I’d once seen “Mother and the Whore” twice in a row
all 450 minutes but these were ordinary action flicks.
At hour six I wondered how we’d climb back on that carousel,
to borrow the metaphor, you use to explain evolutionary biology
your field of study; you, a proud atheist who designates us
not leaders of nature but more like that popcorn machine
that keeps churning kernels whether or not anyone buys;
by the third film I felt crazy, there was no telling land from dream sky.
Goodbye! I hugged your pale and exhilarated self as you returned to the snap back
seat not longing for the old velvet that use to hold our print, maybe, for one more night.
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. Her poem from TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetic’s was nominated for 2016 Best of the Web. She was runner-up for the poetry residency at the Arizona Poetry Center, judged by Farid Matuk. Her manuscript was a finalist at Center for Book Arts and Tupelo Press. Recent prose in Poetica and humor in Defenestration. She was a finalist for the 2016 Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Her play in verse was in the Emerging Female Playwright Festival of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project and other work was a finalist at the Oregon Play Prize. Fellowships/awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference with Billy Collins, others. She’s an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics and co-owner of the artist promotion company, 2B Writing.