Ian Ganassi














Just In Time

Daring Escape

The Gate of Ivory








Just In Time







They say the souls of the dead take up residence in the empty bottles hanging
From the apple tree. The star of lucent hue and silver timbre topped it,

Burnished by the Magi. The Chinese delivery boy was young
Enough to jump two feet and peep through the little window on my front door.

He bounced up and down until he saw me comingóa Dickensian moment.
The black walnut tree in the backyard, and the aromatic smell of its nuts.

At day camp the yellow jackets kept stinging me in the same place, on the same hand.
It got to where I could watch them calmly as they stung. It was uncanny; what was their point?

Very few of us live past 40 without having done something seriously to regret.
After the fight, the picture frame, tufted with startled rags of canvas, hung around his neck.

That and a chicken salad sandwich, or a pork roast, will wander around the farm.
But thatís a police matter; the plumber was the wrong addressee. Heaven or hell

Canít hold a candle to what goes on around here every day. At the snow farm,
That is to say suet. So sue it. For schmaltz. He crossed himself a few hundred times.

Now all he needed was a crossing guard. A really challenging parlor game would be
To figure out what the neighbors are doing, based on the sounds coming from their apartments.

Take a picture, youíll last longer. Rejection is what abstracts the pleasure from ambition.
One thing can be said about all this anxiety, but nobody has the guts to say it.

Itís been snowing in here for a long time; who knows where it might go now?
And whoís counting? Does anybody really know what time it is?








Daring Escape







Houdini was trying to escape from his mother and his boredom.
He was trapped in his shoes at a young age,
Couldnít figure out how to get them untied.

Then there was Buster Keaton,
Walking through a rainstorm holding
His umbrella too far out to one side,
Getting soaked.

And W.C. Fields,
Trying to put on his hat
And missing his head.

You donít need to know the secret,
But if you know it, keep mum.

An infant who looks like Buster,
A potato chip that looks like Abe Lincoln.

An excess of oxygen in the Pacific Northwest;
I felt overwhelmed by the mountains.
I do better down in the basement,
Where things are more cluttered.

Hardy cat with a shiny hat, youíre better off dead.
But trust that you will be dead soon enough.
And not to worry, we have the coffin,
And the pesticide, ready to catch your contagion.

Salute first, then prepare to die.
If you die alone in a mouse hole donít blame the cartoons,
It all comes down to where we left off.

Itís a them, not a theme.

To walk away, infected and nonchalant.

It was a bitter lesson.








The Gate of Ivory







I Like Ike buttons in hospital corridors where the eggs are served rareóa little runny.
Spot was chasing Dick downhill from here, until Dick stumbled and fell, as we all do.
And Jane is ready now, having spent some time in the powder room,
But Iím almost past the point of caring. Still a small excursion is better than no excursion.

Exhaust from all kinds of machines decorating the gargoyles with perspiration
While they (the gargoyles) wait patiently for rain. Or maybe not so patiently;
They look awfully hungry to the mice in a peaceable kingdom
Of thankless babysitting and the soul of sense. ďWriting is an aid to memory,Ē

Like a hall of mirrors. Write the lesson out 500 times. Itís senseless, the slaughter.
And it looks like the vultures have settled, situating themselves on the green
Mounds of the afterlife. Thatís why they say dead men tell no tales, theyíve got
No tongues. Yo ho ho. I canít keep the engine on idle

While we wait for the getaway. The real deal is something I have nothing to do with,
Itís out of my hands. Or simply out of hand. An abandoned hat that
Will never be cleaned, a cherry tree on which the cherries rot before theyíre pickedó
Only the birds are happy with it. Or the mulberry trees the fruit of which we used to eat

Despite the car exhaust. All around the mulberry bush down by the paw paw patch
The monkey aped the weasel. Makes one think of the potluck suppers of yesteryear.
Why potluck? Similar to potlatch? Hard to say. And thatís what it is, damn hard to say,
Just as itís even harder to know. Knowing and doing resist one another.

She didnít know the first thing about it, while painting herself as a font of wisdom.
Tell it to the Marines (the Army isnít listening). Screw you. Which is a satisfying
Thing to say, but ultimately just pissing into the wind. Or to put it another way,
Go try your doubletalk on someone else, Olive Oil. Hereís smoke in your eyes.












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