Hollie Dugas lives in New Mexico. Her work has been selected to be included in Barrow Street, Reed Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Redivider, Pembroke, Salamander, Poet Lore, Watershed Review, Mud Season Review, Little Patuxent Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Literature, and CALYX. Hollie has been a finalist twice for the Peseroff Prize at Breakwater Review, Greg Grummer Poetry Prize at Phoebe, Fugue’s Annual Contest, and has received Honorable Mention in Broad River Review. Additionally, “A Woman’s Confession #5,162” was selected as the winner of Western Humanities Review Mountain West Writers’ Contest (2017). Recently, Hollie has been nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets 2021. She is currently a member on the editorial board for Off the Coast.
In the Name of Proximity
Strangled fruit is exposed through the humble spaces between bars by a hand, the same probing hand that grants the captive his cold bruise. The guard, a golem; his all-knowing eye flickering. Fingertips bury themselves into raw hides as unforeseen orgasms struggle into existence. The stroke of twelve; the stroke of curiosity. A high-pitched yowl pushes through a diaphragm, puncturing the organ, demolishing the path for all other intelligible sound; the wounded deem this trivial. Two murdered gasps float up and wallow on a cusp in some indiscernible place. They don’t even hold each other afterwards; just residing to their own beds and falling asleep like pleased little boys. The guard, in his pressed uniform, always tiptoeing over stale crackers once the dark night hangs over its duo. Morning’s pulse swells yesterday’s black meat and the mice nibble the bottoms of cold rigid feet.
A gentleman’s stare, pumped the fuel into a vehicle, wearing khaki shorts and bottle top eyeglasses, looking like everyone else. Perhaps, that’s why I killed the guy, he says, confined to a white prison, now. The borer of boredom. The sultan of solitude. Zapped into a crispness by the provoking shades of blue and gold, the sauntering smell of stone black shoe polish. The ritualistic clinking of the security baton, it chimed hypnotically against the metal bars. I was able to make out a word: sanctuary. The spellbound blue, the triggering baton, the stone black smell, carved into the chronicle at the furthest corners of the room. My senses began to prick at me. That enrapturing bristle. It took me. My socks fell down to my ankles.
Mice would be better off in a labyrinth feasting on white meat, where they can be dense and content. Here, they don’t even bother to gather the bits of stale cracker from the concrete, gazing erratically toward the sky cautious of the marauder. Like the guard, reduced to a victim of a surprising firmness thumbing beneath the shield, undressing himself, dominating the one bump of the droning day, Scavenging, expecting to discover some unprincipled mole or birthmark only to find it conquerable, gullible, oppressed. The membranous grazing, the scraping chest hair; all suitable. Until, the uncontrolled morning hangs its prisoner from a string with compliant eyes and a tongue that can barely be kept inside a mouth.
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.
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