Works by Steve Gerson


Steve Gerson, an emeritus English professor from a Midwestern community college, writes poetry and flash about life’s dissonance and dynamism. He’s proud to have published in Panoplyzine, The Hungry Chimera, The Write Launch, Coffin Bell, Poets Reading the News, Crack the Spine, and White Wall Review.

The Seven Sins of Suburbiacs

He and she live on Morning Star Drive their neighbors on Moonglow Lane the east to west constellations running parallel but crossing the north to south
streets where other his and hers live on Primrose Terrace and Daisy Avenue
the botanicals sweet smelling in their coloration all the neighbors in harmony but

secrets they fail to share uproot the florals and send the stars out of alignment
for within the well adorned pastel homes manicured lawns in military precision
saluting swings and slides tatty flags patio grills trikes on driveways trees in
matching designer suits with handwashed SUVs washed by paid hands 
lies

a stew of banality with bestial ingredients like his absorption with the gleam
of new gizmos bought at premium price from high end online all night sites
or her desire for ditto replacing what they already have then the next his
drooling over the neighbor’s too young deliciousness while moaning wishes for 
more

of the same why not I deserve some too plus look at her engulfing those sweets
treats swallowing gobs of meats Amazon Prime on demand I’m so angry furious
my tongue hurts my teeth are sizzling I want to lash out at all of these them he
and her but I’ll loll on the sofa and watch that rerun Rotten Tomatoes 35% yawn

Soundless Screaming in the Nothingness of Your Space

When you stole
into the room
like an eclipse,
your halfmoon eyes
hiding behind
asteroids crashing,
I knew what you’d say,
saying,
“I’m seeing someone else,”
my feet unearthed,
zero gravity free fall
swallowing my screams
soundless in the nothingness
of your space.

First it giveth

Dressed in muddied hip waders, an orange U-Haul
gimme hat, a T-shirt holey as Easter Sunday, Caleb
paddled his shallow draft over the bayou, hunting a
croc, cottonmouth, or cat, whatever.

The day gray with humidity, the sky green with the threat
of squalls, Caleb heard the swamp’s despair. Frogs groaned
loss; mosquitoes hissed like hope seeping through low-ceiling
cloud cover. “I need me a catch,”

Caleb wheezed, sucking on a Pall Mall. “Need it bad. My god.
My god, what you want?” Then he felt a tug, the twinge of a
slow pulse. His line quivered. A droplet of brackish water trilled
from the nylon cord, the line

ascending against the swamp’s dominion where mangroves
and mud protect their own. The line tightened until the mossy
back of a snapping turtle surfaced, one red eye glaring.
Rain started,

a drop, two, then a gully washer, clouds suffocating the swamp,
air turning black as a tilled field, the bayou churning. Caleb’s canoe
twisted in an eddy, snagging his line on a stump, the cord limp in his hand.
His snapper sunk

beneath the murk like repossessed credit. “Damn,” he muttered. Sitting
in the barren belly of his rig, Caleb thought about his family’s hunger,
migration of waterfowl, inevitably of tides, travel of planets over the bayou,
and baited a new hook.

Tattooed straight lines not sufficing

I will ink my face
like Queequeg’s living parchment a hieroglyphic
labyrinth of enflamed etchings so that looking in a
mirror inverted I can rewind my past searching

each swirl engulfing eyes in an undertow an eddy
churning an aspiration exclaiming dead ends and
blurred attempts my trail of overlapping incisions
and helixes testing the truth of my identity identified

one line intersecting with another serpentine
circumnavigating cutting off/into paths of maybe
where stop starts the journey’s wander for me to draw
meandering moments features of feathers and cranes

a wave cresting above seabed churn a cloud in silhouette
against a drop of blood or tear-stained canvas depending
on the light day or night maundering on the skin drawn
not in red desire green need blue despair yellow lust

the trick of the needle’s prick blotting smudges of ink
leeching into pores and worn fissures a map of maladroit
missteps like scrimshaw totems each pit scar and facial
flourish a glyphic inflection in transit but black and white

finality decisively unraveling riddles of heaven in earth
earth in shadow then perhaps I could find my way through
straight lines a linear treatise my face a poem rhyming in
ordered stanzas, a grid, pole star aligned with clarity in
couplets or quatrains, comforting scansion, approving
meter but this maze I see reflected reflects myriad
fractals more surely the passage of chaos
in ink unspooling

Arc—a remembrance

a luminous spark of electrodes like the wail of plugged-in guitars
smashed on a stage the 60s born of love-ins, be-ins, incensed flowers
in our hair, flowers in gun barrels there’s a man with a gun over there
silhouetting men on the moon backlit by lunar glow a dairy farm hillside
with love beads and kazoos woven in two Kennedys and MLK blood
spilling like caissons carrying corpses and upraised fists in black gloves

Hell’s Angels dispensing security with glinting steel sitting nightly in
our living rooms as Uncle Walter intones the daily death toll like nails
in our wooden consciences hey hey how many died today not counting
post disorders stressed by trauma bad drugs deals gone bad hallucinations
it’s Canada paranoia 2S student deferments becoming 1A classifications
or you’re off to Viet Nam to serve your Uncle Sam and don’t expect a hero’s

welcome home my memory now cataract the past a darkening haloed night
I still hear the bombs from Hendrix’s banner screaming dawn’s early light

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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In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Fall 2019)

IP Volume 5: In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Fall 2019)

The Fall 2019 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine

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