ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Ian Ganassi



Rods and reels, shovels and hoes, pitchforks and chandeliers,

The trap is the corrective, until you get the joke.

There was no place more beautiful than the garden from which we fell.

Which of these fruits and vegetables is juiciest?

Forensic motorboats churn the lake;

The world is spinning as in a blender.

I knew a lawyer who thought per se meant "for example."

There were summers when my garden was beautiful.

At least he knew bankruptcy law.

Even if we don't know when to laugh just yet.

With the mouth of a sailor.

There was no place more beautiful than the garden from which we fell.

We were sold, did what we were told, paid our money and took our choice.

The trap is the corrective, until you get the joke.

First thing we'll do, let's kill all the lawyers.

The tender trap, the bear trap, the Venus flytrap, the lobster trap.

There were summers when my garden was beautiful.

Forensic motorboats churn the lake.
I knew a lawyer who thought per se meant "for example."

What if he performed the joke and nobody attended?



The music gets stuck in your head—
An infection, or infestation.

And the beat goes on,
At the mansion and the filling station.

The jack-o-lanterns of yesterday
Are the collapsed wrecks of tomorrow.

And lamb is a part of our reality,
With or without the mint jelly.

Then winter arrives.

There's not much to guess
And even less to know.

Let it snow, let it snow.

Forgive me if my concerns are mostly
For my own concern.

Why don't we do it in the road?
There's no easy answer, but someday you'll learn.

I pawned myself repeatedly,
But luckily I was always able
To redeem myself.

Sometimes you feel like a prince
And sometimes like a toad.

Let them run, ride, strive
As so many fishes for a crumb,
Climb catch snatch, cozen—

I'll just sit here
Behind my drums,
Twiddling my thumbs.



Just one more spin around the room.

It was just a stop on the tour.

Their stage smiles were an epiphenomenon or quirk.

"Remember me?"

"Where do you drink coffee these days?"

"Are you still in a band?"

"Are you the captain of the football team?"

Doo lang doo lang doo lang.

"I can't get into a relationship sober."

And at the museum
It doesn't pay
To look too hard at the center of things.

When was the last time you spent the day
Grinding maize in a stone pestle,
With a baby on your back?

But nothing has changed;

The show must go on.



Great fodder for fantasy when one was young.

Breaking into the front and carrying them out the back.

The astronauts landed on a dung heap and survived.

When she came away from the target, she left her silhouette in knives behind.

The structure kept getting higher regardless.

His pants were covered with paint. They were a panting.

The Astroturf was treated with flame retardant.

If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.

Imagine a quarterback running a flaming football field.

Meanwhile, I was gritting my teeth, trying to force myself back to the fourth conjugation.

Hashish at the costume ball made it seem that much more like fall.

My mind keeps returning to the snappy retorts I didn't come up with.

The leader of the laundromat couldn't hold a torch to the coydogs.

Will it be a right boot or a left, a clodhopper or a Wellington?

There was no way around the fireplug.



You seem more unusual than usual today.
You'd better straighten your tie if you want to stay.

I'm glad you think you know what you're doing.
Just watch out, the neighbors are suing.

Shallow or deep, life kills you in the end,
No matter how many kind cards you get.

A speech that was a model of the obvious:
It didn't take a genius to impress the lobbyist.

Don't spook the ghost, so to speak. And don't spook the moose.
Both of them are on the verge of breaking loose.

Have it when you can and accept it when you can't.
There's no use embarking on a supercilious rant.

It matters not how a man dies but how he lives.
You can't get anything if you have nothing to give.

The working day demands some sort of self-reclamation.
You need a lot of something to clean up the contamination.

Satisfied with kicking their seeds, the dandelions were okay by me.
And when in bloom I loved their smell—guttural and funky as aged cheese.

Elsewhere on the menu there's no end of crow to be consumed.
The diners and the crows were equally doomed.

If you can't afford to uphold your end of the bet
Bring your blunderbuss to the game, loaded with lead.


Ganassi: Recent news includes poems and visual art forthcoming in Otoliths, Unlikely Stories, AMP, and Poetry Pacific, among others. His second collection of poetry is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

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