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

her roundmouth

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

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.


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