Three Permission Slips, July 2018

Permission Slip 3.1

It’s not easy being us.
It’s even harder being them.
Even so, try to “enter
With clean feet.” And yet
There ain’t no such things.

He couldn’t say that he
Couldn’t say that he couldn’t
Wish for a kinder father.
What could he say, faced
With those sorts of choices?

It always comes as news
That we won’t get out
Alive. Trespassers will be violated.
And you’d better believe that’s
Not all they will be.

“It’s all about wealth creation.”
Then he died. Shedding alligator
Tears at the theme park,
Rolling around in the trough—
Getting out would be preferable.

Music outside in this weather
Always makes me feel
Either cinematic or stoned. Probably
Both. The lesson will never
Be erased, unlike a blackboard.



Permission Slip 3.2

Stocks rallied on news of
The second coming. My ass.
If someone stomps on the
Wine glass, them’s the breaks.
He couldn’t say that he

Wanted something he didn’t get.
Then again, he could say
Whatever he wanted. There wasn’t
Much permission involved. I think
It’s time to break out.

That and more yellow jackets;
Every time we stomped one,
Two more would show up,
And boy were they mad.
And who could blame them?

If there’s an evil smell
There’s probably smoke. If there’s
Smoke there’s probably a fire.
Those yellow jackets were right,
We were being evil, cruel,

Not unlike many kids everywhere.
But especially in America, maybe.
I haven’t been, so I
Wouldn’t know. Spare me the
Details. Were you ever stung?



Permission Slip 3.3

Let’s put numbers on our
Shirts and watch the marathon.
It’s better than running. Is
Someone chasing you? Look out
Behind, as the world turns.

I’ll have to remember tomorrow.
But tomorrow slips my mind,
I’m so busy remembering yesterday.
And what happened yesterday, she
Asked. Nothing worth another glance.

And yet I look into
It over and over again,
Like the red hat I
Wear on the street. “No
Bowlers,” is what they said.

Staring wildly at the skylight
To be let out of
Our contract with the weather,
We were never better, never
Worse than dismal. At least

I tried to make it
Better. Hey Jude, he said.
There was no answer. Time
Is not on our side;
It’s too little too late.



These poems are from a five-section chapbook-in-progress titled Permission Slips. The poems in Permission Slips are written in counted verse, a form described by Paul Hoover in his book Fables of Representation.



Ian Ganassi’s poetry, prose and translations have appeared in more than 100 literary magazines, including New American Writing, The Yale Review, and New England Review. Recent news includes poems in First Literary Review-East, Otoliths, and forthcoming in Amp, Poetry Pacific and Bending Genres.  His poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016. His new collection, True for the Moment is due out in the fall of 2019 from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, July 2, 2018 - 11:29