More selections from J. Grey

superficies by velibor baco in parentheses magazine volume 6 issue 2 fall 2020

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review, Shemom, Blood And Thunder and Connecticut River Review with work upcoming in Abbey, Oddville Press, Remington Review, Valiant Scribe and The Short Of It. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon in most countries.

We have featured work from this poet previously in our online and print archives.

Willie’s Brief Soliloquy

Damn this hangover,
he says.
I knew I never should
have stopped drinking.

The thing is
my thirst never knows
that was my last beer,
that for the rest of the night,
it’s on its own,
trying to slake itself
on sleep and dreams,
slurping nothing but
my brain fever,
my stomach juices.

So by morning,
that thirst of mine
has sucked me dry
but is still going after
more of me.

To go on living,
I need to
distract its attention
so I’d better have another.
Besides, it prefers beer
to memories and regrets.
And it loves a good head on top.
It’s been years
since that was me.

Greetings From Joy

You break a glass,
dropped so all the world
can hear your throaty syllables.

Up from ocean floor,
you burst the clammy surface
to assail the bathers on the beach.

You zap an elastic
to bring down a plane,
swat a mosquito
so the killer car’s
boombox will explode.

I saw you in a cafe once,
slowly sipping coffee
so as to despise all
with the gall to enter there.

You do small things
to set the big things into motion.
Cream, two sugars, you added.
But who knows
what in hell they supplanted.

Sad and Unappreciated

She walks the rocky shore alone.
Slow stream, gentle lapping,
only a wedged tree branch
to offer any bubbles, any spray.

No one’s fishing.
No one’s swimming.
No one’s even dangling their toes in the water.

Shoulders drooping.
Arms slumped.
Face pale.
Eyes red with tears.
Nothing to cheer up
the early evening flow.
The current is stuck with her.

Reasons for Falling in Love

I put it down to the litheness of her body
and the lightness of her step.
And how she rose up in her prime
with eyes just on the beguiling edge
of extravagant.

Hers was a life that could have been lived singly
so it was a beseeching assumption of mine —
considering I smelled of scorched tobacco
and boasted the devil’s dirty fingernails –
that I could be the one.

And there’s always the lunar eruptions.
the hubbub of the heart,
the silky strophes of accidental meditation –
you name it,
I half-dissolved in it.

She’s like a bright flesh-color on the air,
a chiaroscuro finely forming
in the eye of this beholder.
And I was on a mission to no longer deny myself.

It could have been the moonlight,
dense but harmonious,
or conversation like voices
juggling each other’s words,
the sinews, the scents,
and the fact that I cleaned myself up so spotlessly,
I could have passed for a love poem.

I do believe it was the moment
when feeling and intelligence
became inseparable on my part.
And she said “yes”
which was my only requirement
other than that.

A Forest Ranger

Joy’s enjoining
with things unbothered by my intrusion,
scenes that will soon be memories,
be it warbler’s trill or raven’s caw,
with every inch of forest well-observed
whether its flaunting wide and sun-swept
or small in shadow.
so many gulps of awe
from outside or in,
a tangle of grackles,
a cardinal eruption.
into sky’s red fire,
from blood feathers of the tanager,
to the cave’s lowly batwings.
to the wind-kissed feathers
of a soaring hawk.

It’s a mind’s dream
to admit such forests
into a private place to contemplate,
to share pulse with finches.
or. in a canopy shot through with light.
listen to a flock of grosbeaks
arrange themselves in song.

On light feet with hands waving
or down on knees
where wildflowers populate
a dead oak trunk.
or relaxing on a brook bank
like a muskrat,
in places that swell with scent,
where belief needs no suspending
and the bigger the picture,
the more it can incorporate the small.

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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