Ian Ganassi


Like dessert,
There was always room for embarrassment.

He was made to work the land, and he hated it,
Even though the fruit looked pretty in the pictures.

And formal dinners on Sunday.

Sophisticated in worldly things,
Contemptuous of those who aren’t,

One false move and you’re dead.

I was comfortable for a while,
But so much intervened along the way.

And the boys they like to be mean.

There’s a storm coming in, batten the hatches.

The feral cat bolted.

These were methods of communication,
His face intent on the blackberries
Between the weeds.

At least we won’t have to wade through the shambles.

Not to mention swim through them.

As per usual, she liked “regular” things.
Or things she took to be “regular”—
“Regular guys,” for instance.

You take the donkey and I’ll take the bay.

Humming an approximation of a show tune,
He liked the sound of his own shit.

The bicycle repairman was full of information—
The wrong kind of information.
So much for a day in country.


Cleverness for its own sake is a defense against feeling things directly.
               We put out just after dawn, fishing for our dinners.
It’s time for a review of the material at hand.
               And if it’s “too much information,” go in ignorance.

It’s always good to have a dog around
               When you can’t remember which town you’re in.
And it’s always good to have a clown around
               When nobody knows where you’ve been.

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn.
               We put out just after dawn, fishing for our dinners.
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.
               If that’s “too much information,” go in blissful ignorance.

A bunch of people with ridiculous names
               Didn’t remember which town they were in.
Other than that, I have nothing to say.
               And nobody knows where I’ve been.

I could make up some names, but real names are stranger.
               We put out just after dawn, fishing for our dinners.
Regardless of who’s blowing the horn,
               It’s simply too much information: I prefer ignorance.

They were busy posing with their prose and prosing about their poses.
               Why can’t you remember which town you’re in?
It is posed and it is posed—around here they tend to look about the same.
               And nobody knows where you’ve been.

We didn’t claim to be “fishers of men,” but
               We put out just after dawn anyway, fishing for our dinners.
We’re just trying to get by.
               If that’s “too much information,” go in blissful ignorance.

Which is quite an ambitious project, really, especially
               When you can’t remember which town you’re in.
A good whack on the ass with a freshly caught swordfish will do the trick,
               Or ask a neighbor—nobody knows where you’ve been.


High serious, the highly serious, a serious high;
Isn’t that the name of some clouds I used to know?
But it’s too late to be concerned or wonder why;

We’re stuck in this tent together, pitched all out of time and tune,
Which isn’t what we expected when we joined the show.
What sort of show? A picture show? I’m neither the usher nor the groom.

“Read the dictionary,” the teacher said. And how “rightly” he was.
Sort of like “goodly” in the scene with Richard Roe.
It isn’t everything he knows, it’s everything he does.

Life is an amalgam, jerry-built and jury-rigged, quick and dirty,
Catch-as-catch-can. For instance the dehumidifier deciding to go
Into its beeping routine out of nowhere, like an insane bird.

Setting out to look for something and forgetting what it was,
You either can’t or won’t give me the blow-by-blow.
Something has to change, between know and does.

He was on the other line. I attempted to reach him
But I hit a brick wall. The race was touch and go;
The stakes or steaks were high—they overflowed the rim.

We receive stronger impressions through the senses than through words.
Words can tell you where the cheese is from and where to go;
But they can’t accurately describe the aroma of the curds.

After the hospital I thought I was ready to go dancing, but I was wrong.
I hopped around a bit, like a mechanical raven or crow.
Unlike a raven I couldn’t even approximate the song.

Ian Ganassi has poems forthcoming in New American Writing and First Literary Review East, and 
poems recently in the American Journal of Poetry and Offcourse. 

He notes that 'The Apples' was originally inspired when he asked John Ashbery whether he worked 
on his family's farm in Rochester. He said "I was made to do that stuff and I hated it."
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