KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Prose Poem: 312 words

“Shit and Molasses”

by Ian Ganassi

In the illusion of virtue, in the dream of professionalism, it’s easy to get worked up. Banging one’s head or the drum slowly, while we sit each in our labyrinths and swat and drat. And the machines whisper clickety clack. Standing up, sitting down, giving up, sticking it out, it’s all one can do. But it depends on how much meaning you want, or how much you want meaning. And meaning what? The dead guy with the big beard said we should stop asking questions. By which he meant we wouldn’t give him the time of day.

“I’m glad you’re not rigid,” she said. She was a paronomasiac and tended to think in allegories. But there’s no use giving anyone the time of day these days—they up and die, usually of cancer. That’s what that’s all about. The injury hurts less than the knowledge that she was capable of such small-mindedness. And the injury hurts a lot. The anger blocks the grief and the grief blocks the anger.

But I did used to love Tinker Toys (are they still made of wood?), less because of what I could build with them than the look and feel and smell of the pieces. Endings within endings adding up to the big finale, the mortars bursting in air, the sparklers running amok. In the good old summer time, time for you to get a watch, time for me to play the breakdown on my fiddle. Except that it broke down on me first.

Space and time in a conspiracy of static, an unfamiliar accent, no more play in the line, no more struggling to figure out why the theme to Mission Impossible is in 5/8 time. One never knows what’s in store, do one? Dietetic molasses for instance, or organic hummus. Consider this scrawled on the walls of the fitness factory.


Publisher’s Note: The phrase “shit and molasses” was originally used by the air force in the UK to describe weather conditions (Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English), and has been used in North American colloquial speech to express annoyance and frustration.

Ian Ganassi
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is the author of Mean Numbers, a poetry collection published in 2016 by China Grove Press and available on Amazon. His poetry, prose, and translations have appeared in more than 100 literary venues, including New American Writing, The Yale Review, and New England Review. His most recent work includes poems published, and forthcoming, in NAW, Unlikely Stories, Mannequin Haus, Lotus Eater, First Literary Review East, and 2Bridges Review, among others. His poem “Blunt Trauma” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his translations from Virgil’s Aeneid appear in New England Review.

Selections from his ongoing collaboration with painter Laura Bell, The Corpses, have been exhibited in galleries such as Zone Contemporary Art (New York City), AMP Gallery (Provincetown, MA), and Materials for the Arts (Long Island City, NY); and have been published in art and literary reviews such as New England Review, Shadowgraph, The Drunken Boat, MadHat, and Offcourse Literary Journal.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Divine Residues: A review of Mean Numbers by Ian Ganassi by David Yih in Compulsive Reader (23 October 2016)

Four Works by Ganassi in The Drunken Boat (Fall 2012/Winter 2013): “Thirteen Ways of Gazing at Wallace Stevens” and “Eye as in Eye” (lineated poems), and “Another Dance Review” and “Music Review” (prose poems)

Richard Hill speaks with artist Laura Bell and poet Ian Ganassi on WPKN Community Radio (4 October 2016)

Three Selections by Bell and Ganassi in The Drunken Boat (Fall 2012/Winter 2013): A Touch of Oranges, Bonaparte, and Par 505

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