Alexander Antonio Manzoni has been writing poetry for over twenty years. In September 2014, he moved to Washington, from New Jersey. His poetry has been published on several websites, and most recently: “Spokane Writes: A Poetry & Prose Anthology.” He is the host of the “Manzoni in the Morning” podcast.
So Many Years Have I spent Typing, Penning and Sweating
Dark day, one characterized by the fall of rain.
It has persisted, on and off, since the previous afternoon.
Watching war crimes depicted in YouTube documentary videos.
Serial killers. Plus a few great thinkers.
I am, have, contemplated their momentous lives.
May I inculcate myself with a semblance of the better ones’ auspiciousness.
Four pages come. They were written in the cold bosom of a word processor—
cast in the ephemeral spirit of a digitized document.
A file fill’d with code, now fill’d with prose.
Am I close to finishing what I started? Close enough.
May my novels come together in due time.
So many years have I spent penning and typing and sweating.
So many years of losing faith in my works, myself.
So many years of writing about Hell and then living it, repeatedly,
in varying forms, like I forgot to pay the toll—
the one to the boatman: Charon.
The one who ferries the souls ‘cross the River Styx.
I know there are tricks that still remain up thy sleeve.
But I cannot conceive of what they are.
I have gone TOO FAR. Yet not enough.
What trials lie in wait? What suffering comes
and how long before it all happens?
The answer won’t matter because of my failure to listen.
Patience, it is not my strongest suit.
I live my life with no clue.
Or at least it feels that way.
IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT FOR ME TO SAY?
Will a prophecy cometh when I stare into the fiery blaze?
If not from a bonfire, then from thy soul.
When Will I Return to a State of Normalcy?
Ah! Another fine morning.
It is one whereupon I am exhausted
simply from trying to sleep.
Rolling around, in bed, over and over again.
When will I return to a state of normalcy?
Was I ever there in the first place?
I take a deep breath.
The whole building is shaking
from the lumbering train passing by.
And I am still asking myself, “WHY?”
Why has everything transpired the way it has?
It all chang’d SO FAST.
And yet, not fast enough.
When my world was falling apart,
time seem’d to come to a virtual standstill.
Thank The Good Lord I am over THAT hill.
Or, at least I believe I am.
Can I see ahead?
Or am I always looking behind?
I feel as if I am being buried alive
in an avalanche of my
All I want to do is
And perhaps attain a bit of good health in the process.
I keep telling myself to relax.
But it isn’t working.
It makes me
Maybe I should make them shorter.
That way, it won’t take me so long to
beat it OUT on the keyboard.
Too much writing is
a good problem
At least I am not being buried in excrement.
It is day 200 of my 100 day challenge.
And I have fucking been running myself ragged
for perhaps no reason.
My life is an ocean of self-imposed guidelines and deadlines.
I turn what I love into work.
And it gets worse.
I am not going to pretend that every day was truly inspired.
What should be an achievement, I find myself flung into panic.
Tried to take a shower, to wash the scum from thy hair and skin.
All I can taste is failure and anger and disappointment.
Why am I crying?
What in God’s name am I trying to prove?
Even when I win— I LOSE.
Day 200. Writing every morn’, sometimes into the late hours—
that of an unwilling and unenthusiastic night owl.
People think I am happy. I am always smiling (in the photographs
taken of thy torment’d visage).
Life is a mirage.
It is only there to beckon one to come, come enjoy this oasis in the
shifting blistering desert sands.
I bend down to drink with thy camel: Mustafa al-Arak
(ANOTHER MIRAGE?) and end up with
a mouth full of fucking sand.
Gritty granules, thy dehydrate me further.
I spit, along with my camel.
At least there is something we have in common.
You have been so good to me, Mustafa.
Too bad you are nothing more than a fabrication birthed
in the imagination of a madman.
Day 200. And I am way past having lost my marbles.
We are entering a new land of the unknown.
Despite all the support (and the love)—
I have rarely felt so dejected and alone.
200 days and I am wasting away.
I pray thee, do not follow me.
Go home, Mustafa.
Red & Black Sandals
Red & black sandals. You are a relic—
a veritable link to my past.
Not that these poems aren’t more than enough of a link, eh?
Red & black sandals. I have been adorned in you for 5 summers.
Bought at the mall, in New Jersey: this pair, the backpack my father gave me, a ragged Grateful Dead shirt (from when they were Furthur).
These are the ties that bind me to my former homeland.
Plus an increasingly obsolete Apple laptop adorned in prescription stickers—
the extra ones, in the bag, from when I received refills.
These sandals, they have carried me.
They have wearied me.
They are from times I would rather forget (moments, like those depicted in “Under the Bridge” and “She Threw a Shoe at Me”).
But I suppose I should not.
I am caught between whether I should keep you or discard you.
You have stained my white socks red.
My friends, they made fun of your size— TOO LARGE (in your opinions) for thy feet.
You have been with me for some of my most momentous defeats.
And a couple of victories sprinkled in, here and there.
Why do I care so much about what should amount to little more than trash?
Is it because I feel a sort of kinship?
Or am I in the grip of my O.C.D. inability to part with such a thing?
May I make an expiation to you, my old shoes?
What can I do for you before you take that final ride out of here?
Sad to say that final ride, it shall be in the back of a garbage truck.
Good luck, my shoes.
When you are gone, I shall miss you.
New Things for Kings
I am standing halfway inside, halfway out of my back door.
Writing. Gazing out into the distance
at the ethereal tree line.
Gazing past the great bridge,
the one whereupon I have watch’d
SO MANY Boeing 737s go by—
them and army vehicles.
I know not exactly where they are headed.
If it is a 737, I hope it is to the ground, forever.
Clever minds, they spend their time coming up with new things
for kings that control us through deception and fear.
We are nearing the edge of the point of no return.
Fires burn, uncontrollably, ‘till they are eventually extinguished.
They become mere embers.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.
To view the types of work we typically publish, preview or purchase our past issues.