Steve Gerson, an emeritus English professor, writes poetry and flash about life’s dissonance and dynamism. He’s proud to have published in Panoplyzine, Route 7, Coffin Bell, Poets Reading the News, Riza Press, White Wall Review, Variant, Abstract, Pinkley Press, Montana Mouthful, the Decadent Review, and In Parentheses.
A Love Poem
and yet it seems
can’t you tell
that this I am
in all things need
and weary seek but
then there rises
to be as if
to see and
sound the sound
of your dream
arms and face
now and next
into ever then
On weekdays, always hot in the southern South,
I’d smell the coffee before even awake,
even through the humidity, as familiar as the family dog,
my dreams made brown from the blackening dregs,
then hear him gently banging cupboards,
trying to still the family’s sleep.
He’d ease the door and touch my foot, saying,
“Come on bud, the day’s awake,”
and I’d rise to meet him, me, alone, the others abed,
my feet on the warmth of the cedar floors, his warmth
having walked ahead. There on the table he’d set two mugs,
his coffee as black as the fields we worked, mine, with milk,
the color of November dawn. He’d chow down on bacon and eggs,
dabbing ketchup on each bite. I tried to match him mouth for mouth,
falling short by an egg or two. “Can you feel the change, bud?
Saw them geese flyin’ farther south and the wooly worms out, too.
Cold is coming, but there’s time to plant some turnips or collards
for mom to can when winter hits. So eat up, boy, we got work to do,”
tousling my hair of winter wheat. Then off we’d trudge.
I jumped to match each step he strode, I the circle
from the stone he’d throw. Once in the field, he took
the heavy load, the spade and rake while I sprinkled seeds
on the rows he hoed. I wasn’t needed to work the land.
He gifted me his morning’s dawn.
My Father’s Walk in a Hurricane
Once when I was 9 or 11, some uneven number
for sure, I became maddened as only pre-teen,
only sons can, unraveling as threads on a watch cap
that fails to buffer winds, a fishing net with widening
holes that cannot hold waves.
I stormed off as a Gulf gale encroaching the
southern shores to shake myself loose from green
mists, grey brain clouds, red-faced blood furies, black
mosquito swarms that bit at me like assumed offenses.
He followed me in the distance.
We walked together far apart, he a half block back,
shadowing me as only a father’s height can. I ranted, my
soul rent, shouting epithets, wind spray tearing into my
synapses frayed, my pre-teen world gloomy with sodden skies.
Then worn I stopped.
My storm blown out, he came to my side, placing a hand upon
my head, his arm along my shoulders. We said no words, no
reprimand nor guiding help, and walked back home into the
breeze. My rising waters, turgid and turbulent, subsiding, I
leaned into his silence.
The streets are empty of birds,
even the wind stilled without
contrails, flights shuttered.
No cars drive by, their ghosts
reflected in windows, drapes
drawn. A dog’s howl moans.
The TV shouts empty words, fake
orange as tanning bed burns, orange
as sunsets dying beneath a black sea.
“The virus is a hoax. It’ll be gone
magically,” while others edge away
from such contaminated thought.
I try to sleep. I’ll doze off, but
into my empty bed creeps the
night sound of a world ending.
It sounds like teeth grinding in a
tongueless mouth, muted screams
gargling bureaucratic babel.
In The Time of Letters
when love was a word
written with a trembling hand
and folded to keep emotions
embraced on lines plumbed
the pen pressed ink as
tongues touching to imprint
perhaps I had just left or
was on the way my words
to say in loops like pulse
stay with me for me as long as
ink and paper remember then
you’d return blue lines your veins
on paper to yellow in time as
time permits the words a promise
not to be deleted as TikTok or
clickbait text ephemeral data overload
digitized love but overflowing
onto pages into our future written
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.