Exquisite Duet: Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco

the-duetExquisite Duet (formerly Exquisite Quartet) is not so much a composition between two writers, but rather something created within the murky midlands of each author’s mind, yet set off by the same first sentence. Meg Tuite chooses two writers each month and gives them a first sentence to start with and a 250-word limit to finish an exquisitely mesmerizing story or poem. These duet-dueling writers will craft two completely different cosmos that have rotated, pitched, and blasted from the depths of their cerebral cortex to the twitching nerve endings of their digits onto dueling keyboards and separate screens until their sublime duet is prepared to see the light of an audience.


The Story Behind the Poem

This month is a small but exciting departure from the usual style of “Exquisite Duet.” For their collaboration, Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco wrote a contrapuntal triptych poem—Brennan’s poem runs down the left side and served as the anchor. Allie’s poem runs down the right side, and is the response piece. Read left to right, there is a third piece, the collaboration and poetic dialogue, between their pieces. Both poems begin with the prompt line, “Your whispers coat the room” and end on the word “dreaming.”


Your whispers coat the room

like silk

in unspoken gestures, all saying


the same thing

is our secret language:

it’s your hand on the back of my neck

fingertips & spine,

your breath and mine, navigating

distance shrinking,

the space between each other’s lips

a galaxy unfolded

it’s tongue and teeth and the way

when we kiss

they take turns

becoming St. Elmo’s fire—

it burns in the distance of your eyes

a glowing ball of light

finds its way through your fingertips

thrums like a thunderstorm

& echoes across the dunes of my vertebrae

& this, too, can be a religion:

it’s waking up next to you & being unsure

how to breathe & how to pray, finding faith

that I’m not still

under the sheets with you, awake & alive,



Allie Marini (Batts) holds degrees from Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net & nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review, Unbound Octavo, & Zoetic Press, and co-edits for Lucky Bastard Press with her man, performance poet B Deep. She has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review & Press, & The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of Unmade & Other Poems, (Beautysleep Press), You Might Curse Before You Bless (ELJ Publications) wingless, scorched & beautiful, (Imaginary Friend Press), Before Fire, (ELJ Publications), This Is How We End (Bitterzoet, forthcoming), Pictures From The Center Of The Universe (Paper Nautilus, winner of the Vella Prize) & Southern Cryptozoology: A Field Guide To Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Hyacinth Girl Press, forthcoming). Allie rarely sleeps, and her mother has hypothesized that she is actually a robot fueled by Diet Coke & Sri Racha. Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts or @kiddeternity.

Brennan ‘B Deep’ DeFrisco likes words and the way they move. He is an organizer and performer at the Berkeley Poetry Slam and will represent them again in the upcoming 2015 National Poetry Slam. He is co-founder of Lucky Bastard Press and author of Highku: 4 & 20 Poems About Marijuana. His work can be found in TheThe Poetry’s Infoxicated Corner, Drunk Monkeys, Yellow Chair Review, Sweet Wolverine, Revolution John, and Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. He loves a particularly beautiful and talented woman, movies, poker, whiskey, pluralistic points of view and his community of writers. He was born, raised, and pays rent in the San Francisco Bay Area.

3 responses to “Exquisite Duet: Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco

  1. Pingback: Exquisite Duet Column is published in JMWW Magazine with Allie Marini and Brennan DeFrisco/September 2015 | Meg Tuite·

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