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In the Absence of a Plot

Like the Manchurian candidate
I didn’t know
That I knew.

A thousand parakeets
Singing in the abandoned
Coal mine.

Were you planning on a death bed conversion?

After choir practice
And the debating society.

The slightly sticky grit of rosin
Was more fun than sawing
Away at the strings.

It makes little difference
Which lists make a way, how many
Horses were tethered to the dray.

Are you trying for a Section 8?

Casey was a bitter batter,
A sore loser.

Which was why she left
The key under the mat,
As seen on TV.

Comparing notes
About the ads during the super bowl
Which was to agree to agree.

‘And now a message
From the antichrist.’

 

A List by Any Other

If memory lies then everything is a lie
So there’s either every reason or no reason to cry.

I’ll attend your funeral if you come to mine.
You could put me in your will if you have the time.

How small a price to pay is penury to avoid the hordes?
You shouldn’t hunt boar if you don’t want to get gored.

His wife had convinced herself he had no will to power,
Which proves that love is blind to the minute and the hour.

‘Learn why this is not true, then try it yourself!’
Plaster busts of captains of industry right off the shelf.

Here comes Sherlock Holmes, the Great Monographer.
‘Perhaps’, he said, ‘you’ve read my monograph

‘On the 25 kinds of cigar ash’. ‘Cough-Cough’, as Dostoevsky
Wrote it. To practice prolixity and brevity

In the same breath. And how close ripeness
Is to rottenness, aliveness to the condition of death.

We have ways of making you do something with your life,
And the more you do it the higher the price.

All aflutter she was heard to mutter what will I ever do?
She couldn’t solve the puzzle so she took it out on you.

A sound could be heard shattering in the distance.
I would believe your lies, if you could give me a for-instance.

Forgive them, Captain Nemo, as we don’t know what we do.
The detective stumbled into a wall and then into a clue.

 

 

[Ian Ganassi's poetry, prose, translations and visual art have appeared in numerous literary magazines and galleries, including New England Review, Sawbuck, Octopus, American Letters & Commentary, The Journal, Paper Nautilus, Fogged Clarity, Zone Contemporary Art (Manhatttan) and Creative Arts Workshop (New Haven), among many others. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut where he works as a percussionist and teacher.]

Copyright © 2011 by Ian Genassi, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.