Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Poetry By Joe Gianotti

Joe Gianotti grew up in Whiting, Indiana, an industrial city five minutes from Chicago. He currently teaches English at Lowell High School.  He is a proud contributor to Volume II of This is Poetry: The Midwest Poets. Among other poets, he represented Northwest Indiana in the 2014 Five Corners Poetry Readings. His work has been published in Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, This, Yes Poetry, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter at @jgianotti10.

The Last Will and Testament of the Norton Anthology

I, Leopold Bloom, of 7 Eccles St., Dublin, Ireland, declare that this is my last will and testament.

I revoke all prior wills and codicils.

To my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay,
I leave 60 milligrams of Celexa a day.
It’s enough to mend the door frames
ripped apart by slam after slam.
It will absorb curses like cotton absorbs sweat.

To my sister, Catherine Earnshaw,
I leave 80 milligrams of Remeron,
augmented with as much melatonin as you wish.
Take it thirty minutes before you want to find sleep,
and the maracas and tambourines will never wake you.

To my wife, Elaine Risley,
I leave 900 milligrams of lithium a day.
If taken as prescribed, with a full glass of water,
you will ignore your flat brushes
and use your filberts to detail the top layer.

To my friend, Josef K,
I leave three milligrams of Klonopin a day,
taken one at a time as needed.
You will not discover your crime,
but the punishment won’t seem so bad.

I am of sound mind and under no constraint or undue influence.


Quentin Compson


The purple sun that plunges
through the dusky mottled clouds,
the gently swaying tree limbs
that shake loose rusted leaves,
the lost March hour of the flip clock,
daylight savings time
that hemorrhages minutes of my A.M life.

I should take this opportunity

to fill myself with tulip trees and falling rainwater,
because phenomenon lacks inherent existence.
But I make only what I can,
steel girders and carbon ingots
for peace and tranquility.
Undirected, I must embrace the middleway
or doom myself to origination.
But when I envision the good deed as fulfillment
instead of the praise for the good deed,
I feel like a steel beam
swinging from a crane
forty stories up.


I’ve climbed a ladder, and I’m going to fall off.
It’s ten feet high and not on solid ground.
I need to paint the window pane white,
and I stand on the third rung from the top.
The ladder shakes, wobbles, leans,
as the front legs hop back and forth on the lawn below.
I reach with my brush. I lean forward,
my thighs pressed into the ladder.
I go to stroke the woodwork, back and forth
with both sides of the brush, but the flip
splatters paint because of my outstretched arm.
This job will end me. If only some concrete
lay below the ladder, or a block of wood to even the legs,
but I think of this option only after my ascent.
Now, I’m stuck doing the job.
Once I come down, I cannot go up again.

Mixed Cocktail

I feel like the knob
on a car radio,
stuck one channel away
from the actual station.
The fuzz of Bruno Mars
and NPR blend together
as I drive down
a darkened road.
Trees overhang either side
of the one lane highway,
and the night sky is visible
like puzzle pieces
lighted by the moon.
When the unmarked road curves,
I barely see it,
pumping my breaks in the turn
as every other word on Things Considered
blots through the misdialed radio.
A rabbit  with smashed hind legs,
lays in the street, still alive.
My windshield,
covered in smashed bugs,
only smears worse when I pull back
the wiper trigger.

I am the deer in headlights
standing in the middle of the road
unaware of my impending death.
With a little luck,
I won’t see it coming.

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