Featured Poetry by J. Tustin

John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on the island of Elba but hopes to return to you soon. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

All Simple

I get up from the gray sheets
And put on a black t-shirt, blue jeans.
I brush my teeth and wash my face
In this small spartan space,
Alone here with my thoughts
And my aches and pains.

My bare feet on the plain wood floor.

I look out at the sky and the clouds are just as far
As they’ve ever been,
The sky one of its usual colors.

All people have been removed from my life.
I eat all my meals alone,
Sitting on a thin metal chair with a lightly cushioned seat.

I sit and read and think, listening to music.
All simple.
Simplicity brings understanding.

I attempted to learn so I could speak the truth
And now that I have learned
I have nothing to say –

It’s too simple to express.

The Beer Cans Pile Up

The beer cans pile up
On the kitchen counter,
One after another, those sad still monks
Empty of use and
Shining dully in the wan light
From the next room,
Tin knights in fragile armor.
I type out words words
Always more words
Between bouts of diarrhea,
Reading Bukowski as I suffer on the bowl,
As I write about you,
My hands numb and shaking.
I Tell you and everyone right now
That nothing really matters
Except the useless pain
Of this moment
And the promise that when I finally sleep
I won’t remember anything that
I dreamed.

Dulled By The Day

Dulled by the day.
Tortured by the night.

Teased by angels.
Pitchforked by devils.

Just another drooling fool.
Just another crying clown.
Just another sucker on 33rd Avenue.
Just another hunk of meat
for the grinning

A Girl Like You

I recall being a young boy
And wanting to grow up
And walk down the street
Holding hands
With a girl like you.
Not to be the envy
And not to swell my head:
Just because
I wanted the world to know
I was happy at last
And found the love
I never really believed
Could exist
Beyond my own frailty.
Here I am.
Look at me!
Me, worthy of
This sweet girl
And her love.
Look at us
As we walk down the street
Holding hands
And laughing
At the world.
The smallness
Of the world
And how big we are
In it.

Space of Sorrow

I have happiness living inside
This space of sorrow.

I have moments of elation
When eating a meal
Or reading a book
Or feeling the cat’s body
Up against my foot
As I sleep.

When you have almost nothing
The smallest moment
Can make you smile.

A beautiful woman
Passing by on the street.
A memory of a time
When someone loved you
And showed her naked soul
To you.
That’s yours to keep,
No matter what’s happened.

A poem you’ve discovered.
A poem in your head
That falls to the paper
As effortlessly
As wax descends
A burning candle

To harden
Into an undetermined shape,
To be admired
Or ignored.

I have a happiness inside
This space of sorrow
That lies in your eyes
As you read this
And think what I have written
Something good.

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.

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In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)

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