Michael Minassian

The Fool Next Door

It’s eight o’clock in the morning
& already the sun is beating down
on my head like a hammer—
across the street, my neighbor
emerges from his front door
& makes a beeline for my driveway,
cutting me off before I can get away
“Hey,” he yells, “have you noticed the whole
neighborhood is going down the toilet?’

He pauses as if waiting for a giant flushing noise,
then wheels around & charges back
to his house, slamming the door behind him,
claiming he could see the atoms in my hand
as I waved him off my lawn.

He once told me he didn’t believe
in global warming or evolution
despite the rising sea levels,
dinosaur bones, and carbon dating,
making me wonder if Darwin was wrong
about some branches of the human tree.

I imagine my neighbor lying awake each night
tiny cathedrals crawling behind his eyes
like a sarcophagus of sunsets
as he struggles to rise from the soup of his own thoughts,
like the first creatures leaving the sea for land.

A Matter of Timing
………………………………………..for Liana

The day the Challenger exploded
my daughter was safe in the womb—

smart enough not to come out
until a few months later—

by then all the debris had fallen
to the earth and the bodies

of the dead astronauts
recovered from the ocean floor.

When my daughter was born
she refused to cry

telling me how good it felt
escaping from a sentence

inside a long paragraph
like a poem’s words

rising to the surface
to the scent of objects

falling from the sky.

Lost Lines

There must be a place
for all the lines of poetry
I composed while driving
alone in my car—
without paper or pen,
or phone to record my voice—
dropping the lines
behind me on the road—
without a good enough reason
to turn around and get out of the car.

Searching along the shoulder
or side streets in some small town
until I stumble across an old friend
who managed to collect
my lost words, storing them
inside his garage, in boxes neatly labeled
with the names of back roads and highways—
waiting for me, he says, to come visit
and spend the night—
driving off in the morning,
pieces of poems and epigraphs
piled up in the back seat
as he and his wife wave from the front porch—
glad to have the space again
to store his own fugitive fragments,
trailing behind while he drives
in his car or walks the dog.


Summertime Blues

On a cherry blossom day
blue jays scold passers-by:

it’s Shakespeare in the park—
the prince’s friend threatens suicide

the cop on the corner
is sawing the air

two friends face off in the parking lot
not with my sister, you don’t.

© Michael Minassian

Michael Minassian is a  Contributing  Editor for  Verse-Virtual,  an online magazine.  His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010);  Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017).
For more information: https://michaelminassian.com

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