Mark J. Mitchell has been a working poet for forty years. His latest full length collection is Roshi:San Francisco published by Norfolk Press. He lives with his wife, the activist, Joan Juster. A small online presence exists https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/
A primitive web site now exists: https://mark-j-mitchell.square.site/
I sometimes tweet @Mark J Mitchell_Writer
Artwork by Edward Michael Supranowicz featured originally in Winter 2021 Issue of In Parentheses.
Tell No One
We’ll show our hidden discipline— women whisper
but never tell men. First, we plant
love’s news in palest pinks. That way the young
will know who to marry—something no man
can read. Then we weave mysteries with leaves,
foretelling travel but never wealth. Some
small flowers are only blooms that we liked.
We won’t tell you which ones. Dark petals grieve
the lost and lost to come. Goddesses collect
those after moonrise. They desire that bite
of fresh tears. Rosy ones are words we can’t
pronounce or read. There’s one deep, secret sin
in each circle because it all connects.
This dream stops and starts where a heart should be:
An empty city whose name doesn’t fit
this skyline. Lost tourists ask if you see
their hearts, gone missing since that big storm hit
the other coast. You can’t tell them. You lie,
say you lived here before. They blink and nod
and follow. Stories are told as you try
to remember where your heart rests—near a god’s
empty home, you think. Lost in tourist talk,
a building rings with her face. You still walk
backwards, praying not to fall as they see
sights you still can’t name but they can’t miss.
You’re sitting in an oarless boat. The sea’s
calm as glass. No city. No heart. Just mist.
The Flowers of Eden
The book’s silent because Adam got caught
by beasts. Their names swallowed all the short time
the garden gave. He never looked around.
Eve, pleased by blossoms, by smells God had wrought,
played daily. She breathed petals, soft as sounds—
whispers, “Tulip. Daisy. Magnolia. Lime.”
Casida of the Bedside Vase
The drift of white roses
teases her dreams:
around a movie meadow
singing snow songs
she never learned.
Now she’s the last
crisp as a cough drop.
Her white crown
on her sleeping head.
Church bells ring
loud as morning
becoming her alarm,
which knocks one
A dying man coughed as dying men will—
A sound weak and wet you wouldn’t quite hear.
He stretched a bent hand—he knew now and here
was one last chance to scratch a perfect will.
He wished he’d owned a kiss of truth. His son
could use that more than money and besides,
there was no cash to leave—both losing sides
in his wife wars saw to that. The last sun
he’d ever see was sinking fast. Its red
beams slicing gray clouds. Winter air punched holes
in old lungs. His slow fingers pushed the pen
across his page. He wondered what happens
after this. He wasn’t sure. Through his whole
life, he’d forgot every church word they’d read.
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.
Please join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @inparenth.
By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022