person Ian Ganassi, two poems

Ian Ganassi‘s work has appeared recently or will appear soon in numerous literary magazines, such as New American Writing; BlazeVox; Twisted Vine, Oddball, Manhattanville Review, and The Yale Review, among many others. A poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016. A new collection, True for the Moment, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at



The handyman was painting the room.
It was enough to calculate, but not enough to matter.
He knew we were coming and got out the broom.

They slaughtered the fatted steer. It was a party.
Sentimental claptrap like curtains hung in a manhole—
There was no shortage. They called him “shorty”

Because he was seven feet tall. Anger and madness
Must be subsumed. Otherwise, who will herd the cattle?
Who will paint the room? Who will play with the rattle?

No more questions if you don’t have answers.
There’s no charge for the apple pie,
Let’s hope it doesn’t give you cancer.

In the news, they put a man on the moon.
Turns out it’s made of cheese after all.
It’s very good cheese, if you have the right spoon,

And better than Tang and other “astronaut food.”
Table the minutes and ignore the baboons,
The bell is going to ring in a second anyhow.

Just get up early to enjoy the cartoons.
It was time to break out in the usual acne.
Unfortunately, the Oldsmobile was running on fumes.

Friends of the deceased are invited to the event:
The piper crooning all the little piggies to market;
The grasshoppers in the manhole growing darker.



It’s time to break out the castanets, the tambourines and bassoons.
It’s time to dance around the willow tree.

“It’s a little late for that,” he said.

“Good thing I didn’t contract lung cancer, I never would have lived it down.”

The party people can’t be blamed for their spontaneous combustion.
That’s why someone has to be sure that the fire door isn’t locked.

The sleep of a sheep, a sheepish sleep. The sleep of a salamander, a sheepish salamander.
The wet dreams of a skunk cabbage. This is redolent of something—roasting meat for instance.

We go around and around the sun, but we grow old and die by the calendar.

I have forgotten all my Latin, every last declension. I keep a tiny
And completely useless bit stashed away in one of the distant corners of my brain.

The narcoleptic taxi driver, drifting peacefully through the red light.

The local FBI building has no windows, at least that a pedestrian can see.
It keeps out the dangerous gaze of people walking their dogs.

It might be too late, and it might be too early. It’s hard to go on if you can’t stand
The weather. Is it Naugahyde or leather, oil or acrylic, Vaseline or tambourines?

It may have an incredible kick, a “beautiful rush,” business as usual.
But, like the working week, it will kill you if you keep messing around with it.

Or you could just throw them out. But where is out?

The news from elsewhere requires a warning label.
This maze must lead somewhere, or so theorized the rats in hell.



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