Exquisite 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.
by Larry Eby
the thrum of shifty words, spray-painted
on the loose dog—the fire setting him
free into the street, and our apartment, a mess of ash
careful on the grass, your feet, the glass, the cloud
a moving van in the rear view window of the SUV
driving down the road.
You take my hand and thrash
around inside my chest. The blinds are shifting
against the outside light—air conditioning vent
working in reverse:
a door closing in the distance
and a child who
reminds you of your mother
tearing down the drapes
pointing at the sun, asking
you to be closer to that sort of brightness
a fireball in the sky
that someone can depend on.
By M. Cooper
The thrum of shifty words
each of us an orphan of earth we know
less and less about as we.
our names. Incisor.
Each of us
a shudder felt at the wrist and neck the traffic
lights we run in the hopes of
looking at each other at last—syncope
the hole an eye
leaves in the gums
touch wanderer in alkaline—void when
we embrace this absence we Houdini—or cease
our pulse discharged
our nouns wilt left hung in the heat of
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Larry Eby is the author of two books of poetry, Flight of August, winner of the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and Machinist in the Snow, ELJ Publications 2015. His work can be found in Forklift, Passages North, Fourteen Hills, Thrush Poetry Journal, and others. He is the editor in chief of Orange Monkey Publishing, a poetry press in California.
M. Cooper is an inland empire poet, PoetrIE member, CSUSB MFA Graduate, Veteran, and parent to two great sons: Markus & Jonathan. More of Cooper’s poems can be found in The Berkeley Review, The Portland Review, The LA Review, H_NGM_N among other fine publications. Cooper’s new book, coauthored with good friend Cindy Rinne, Speaking Through Sediment, is now available from ELJ Publications. M. would like to make you aware that the splash zone includes the first 11 rows.