Semaphore Poems by S. Gerson

Steve Gerson writes poetry and flash about life’s dissonance and dynamism. He’s proud to have published in Panoplyzine, Hungry Chimera, Write Launch, Route 7, Coffin Bell, Poets Reading the News, Crack the Spine, Riza Press, White Wall Review, Abstract, Decadent Review, Indolent, Snapdragon, Underwood Press, and In Parenthesis.


I’d cross the Mamaroneck to work the mills,
the tool shed mossed from morning mists
risen as the river steamed, and see the child
beside the man, remembering the walk I’d
walked before, he and I. His lunch pail swung
against his pants, his grimed hand grabbing mine,

we two awash in pastels cast, the eastern sun,
a dappled stream, rusting in reflection.
“Look them furnaces, boyo. They draw the fire
and belch the flame, they smelt the ore and bloom
the slabs, billets drawn from scrap, to build the
layers that reach the sky.” I’d look up at his words

and see my future in his present, one day I the man
next to my child, and cross the bridge to work the mills.

Sephamore / Distress

! We hold down
created (un)equal
gender specific
endowed rights
(? self-evident)
that all certain men
are unalienable
pursuing life
(! can’t breathe)
among others with
in\justice on their throats:

The Other

It slouches from the west, slithering as sunlight dims,
and casts darkness, a vortex of reason churning with

gnashed teeth, anarchy of truncheons assuaged in angry
tweets from leafless trees. This shadow, plagues of beasts

and the spilled blood of first born, promulgates pain
upon the other. The other, those far from the center,

as rings of dust around a spinning sphere. The other,
flung to the ground, foot upon their necks, strangle held

and breathless in the weight of ether thinned. Who watches
the wince, phone filmed? Who judges the slouching beast?

Waxing Moon

From the dinghy he flung the line. It arched through sky
as green as the sea was gray, each wave uplifting the boat’s bow.
The hook bit deep into the foam and sank to fathom prey.

He laid the pole along his knee and unwrapped the lunch of
day old bread. “I gotta get me one today,” he said to a gull’s
squawk, then hunched inside his slicker, holey as Sunday,

and stared into the sky’s nothingness, as empty as hunger.
The dinghy swirled in the current’s eddy, the sea nonchalant
as if wetness mattered to water, as if he mattered to earth. “Here

I am, stuck like my old man, and his before him, trying to bring
up dinner from bayous and swamps.” But then his pole dipped.
He grabbed the handle and started to reel. “Take her slow, boy,”

land barely a sliver on the darkening horizon, a bit southwest of
Grand Chenier. He pulled up slack, an inch or two, as the catch
fought, the shoreline lost to waves cresting high. Another foot, a yard

of line, the rod upright to bring in the catch, then he dipped the rod and
pulled the reel with the savagery of a man fighting centuries of want.
The fish broke the surface, thrashed beaten against the hull, a snapper

with one eye glaring red. He brought the snapper on board, banged him
hard on the head, and unfurled the sail to tack home toward the wind.
“Let it blow for all I care,” he said, his smile glowing like a waxing moon.

Beneath the soul but still, lamentations on aging

In the emptiness of a dry season
when wind creaks through brittle
leaves beneath the creased soil more
sand than silt always seeds of passion
warm and wait as fingers probe as palms

Spring rains have ceased. Summer heat has withered.
Fall grayness suffocates to numbness. Yet despite
yet even through yet a current flows subterranean
like memory and waits as fingers probe as palms

The winter tree is bent with pods pale around the
trunk laid bare under a darkening sky under skyless clouds.
In the stillness of a late season, roots still dig deep
through clay for love’s wetness as fingers probe as palms

There’s desiccation in the flesh as leaves fall and blow
across the brown ground. But leaves pirouette in dance
and chime on ice dreaming to rise and reunite with trees
in spring green renewed as fingers probe and palms

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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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In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)

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