Conor Mc Donnell | PARTICIPATION AND PASSIVE VIEWS, 2nd Place Winner of the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry


(Twin Peaks in under two minutes)

When we were unmade we were scrutinized to death. Maybe
we were supposed to be Marilyn but arrived pre-abused instead

star-crossed addicted and a little bit nympho we transformed
into robins over circular-saws overlooking waterfalls

Washed ashore by current-flow and lonely foghorns
we were there when they rolled the girl over

We were there when other girl appeared on the tracks
(the one who came down the mountain holding
half-a-heart locket in one hand,
box of chocolate bunnies in the other)

On TV nobody knows what she needs
we are an absent mass at the center
watching agents chase the perverts

We are what killed the only thing that kept her living

We are unfamiliar agency, duality beyond make-believe,
terrible doubles making trouble for every body concerned

There is a fury that asks old questions of new flesh
Will he come for me when he’s done with her?

No, you’re safe, you’re men
next will be another woman

a blonde in high school using drugs and crying out for help
she prepares great abundances of food but never eats herself
She is half the high school girls and all her family’s daughters

We should all be little girls awhile holding hands inside the clocks
but instead we are weeds that could have been trees
garmonbozia wrapped in plastic holding fast to agency
inert darkness pressing tiring robins onto spinning blades


Author’s Bio

Conor Mc Donnell is a physician and poet. He has published two chapbooks, The Book of Retaliations (Anstruther Press) and (Frog Hollow Press). His writing has been featured in The Fiddlehead; In Parentheses; Scrivener Creative Review; 580SpltLip; Carousel; bird, buried press online; and others. New writing is forthcoming in Grain and Guest.