ANNA “AC” HARMON is a 25-year-old poet living in the Oakland area. She earned her MFA at Saint Mary’s College of California. When she isn’t writing poetry, she works at a bookstore in San Francisco. Her work is often inspired by her experiences with bisexuality, mental illness, the environment, and the Internet.
FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, I AM HAPPY
I make my bed, tug the cover sheet
enough to upset my growing
collection of bronze age spearheads.
For once in my life, I am happy
to have carpet and realize
this is a moment of magic
when I least expected it.
Like when a little girl in her tomboy clothes
stares at me for a second too long
and something stirs in her.
Or when the Internet decides
to bless me with the image of a chicken
wearing an upturned nasturtium as a hat.
When my cat assumes the shrimp position
perfectly blotting out the peony print
on my duvet with its plump, furred body.
A cactus, growing more phallic by the minute.
Its flower blooming once a year in the cold streetlight of 1 AM.
An old pew carved up with Medievel bats and wolfmen.
Mutated daisies melting like Dali’s fascist clocks,
blurred like a deck of cards mid-shuffle,
an imitation of the Virtruvian man on acid.
WHEN I SAW YOUR BEDHEAD FOR THE FIRST TIME
I was a baby elephant plunging into the ocean, trumpeting
with excitement, and you were my mother scooping me
back to shore with your motherly trunk. I was a bear cub
drowning in the center of a lake, and you were the amiable
Russian fisherman who hooked a net under my bum, let me
clamber aboard your boat the size of a blue whale’s heart.
Oh, you bitch, when I saw the color of your veins, I determined
your humors and was in too deep, like a cat who has forgotten
its feral nature and sleeps lazily in a sunny spot for all to see,
belly up and drooling with happiness, pearling like oxidized kelp
in an abundance of photosynthetic orgasms. I was in so deep
in that moment, it was impossible to get a flaky consistency,
what with the layers of fat you peeled back, what with the ten
swords lodged in my torso, you bitch, you absolute treasure!
When you smelled too strongly of garlic I was like a medieval peasant
with rabies, lending credence to vampiric theories! You had me
scavenging the sea floor for nutrients, eating out a dead whale’s anus
with reckless abandon! I was an ape acting in such a way a dumb
English explorer penned the term apeshit before getting his face torn
clean off! I was a vacuum glomming onto the carpet, chewing on
your unpopped kernels, your hangnails, your unmentionable hairs.
Get yourself a bitch who can do this to you, friend, and learn to feel
what it’s like to get struck by lightning at sea! Then sleep under black oaks,
sleep beside a herd of trembling cows as their udders leak blood as you
have milked them too hard. Forget the balm—be in awe of your violence,
be in awe of her violence, be in awe of violence before it is too late.
WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE, AND OTHER REPRODUCTIONS IN PLASTER
Sitting before a fogged window, counting the downy feathers
shit-plastered to the sill. It would be poetic to have a cup of tea
further steam the glass, but all of my mugs are dirty. No,
they are clean, but I am too tired to unload the dishwasher.
A lot of my mugs are gifts from people who think they’re helping.
A yellow mug with a smiley face, says “enjoy the little things in life.”
Perhaps I am jaded. My unhealthy coping mechanisms have gotten
the best of me, like candle flame fainting in a night breeze. Or,
a persimmon, heavy with fermentation, letting go before birds tear in.
In this 21st century world, it may seem like we’re high up in the air,
but our ship is sinking, split down the middle Titanic-style.
And there are people still lounging by the poolside.
When I walk into this terrarium city without a Geiger counter
my hair ruffles once, twice, as if a zephyr has reached out
and tousled my near-mullet. I’m full of myths of aerial women,
avian women, women who fly. Saran-wrapped and armless, headless.
I’m so tired, when my bedroom window sighs, it sighs like a lover.
Yes, I have chosen to use the word “lover.” I’ve only been taken
by men I didn’t want, but I am learning what I want with every day.
I hold a statue’s head in my lap, stroking its cold white temples.
I read from a freebie I picked up on the sidewalk,
learn to mix human hair with garden soil to ward off deer.
Ask for clippings at your nearest barbershop, the author suggests.
And I try to let myself go and think like this author, without inhibitions.
I take off the tiger mask I wear on the back of my head,
The one that doesn’t look like a tiger, but keeps tigers from attacking.
The one that mimics a face, wears false eyes like butterfly wings.
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.