A Cycle of Short-Short Stories

Richard Kostelanetz

In memory of Novalis

[For periodical, print continuously with extra
space between entries; if a book, one to a page;
wide (Latin?), paginated landscape; so far 94.
Resequence to move from cliché to surprise.
Cover should have huge question marks over
its printed title.]








Never again.



Not now.





No way.

You’re joking.

Not yet.

Bums, bums, bums.

Dare you not.

Out to lunch.

I can’t say.


Believe you me.


Don’t you wish.

I think so.


Of course.

Look it up.

I don’t know.



Only God knows.

Yes, yes, yes.

No comment.

As you wish.

Let me think.

Tickle me?

I don’t recall.


I have no idea.

Drunk I’m not.

Are you kidding?

Not a chance.

Of course not.

Not on your life.

Good question.

I’d rather not.

Don’t ask me.

I was mistaken.

A chump I’m not.

With all my heart.

I’ll get back to you.

A saint you are.


We’ll never know.

She made me do it.

Don’t upset me.

Hold me tight, tightly.

Aren’t you sweet?

Because I said so.

That knocks me out.

I’m sure you’re right.

Not in a million years.

Go ask your mother.


I don’t understand you.

Don’t wake me; I’m dreaming.

Ask me again in an hour.

Delightful, yes; delightfully.

Can’t you see I’m sleeping?

Only angels can save us.

I thought you’d never ask.


I would be delighted.


That’s unacceptable.

You can’t mean that.

Because you deserve it.

I don’t understand you.

That’s unacceptable.

Only in your dreams.

I’m not authorized to say.

The check is in the mail.

I can sell you insurance.

Don’t give me a conniption.

Because the boss is me.

I’ll take it under consideration.

Ours is not to reason why . . . .

Not in my lifetime (or yours).

Only if you don’t tell anyone.


Not if it will incriminate me.

Why would you ask that?

Not until hell freezes over.

Who are you–I can’t see?

Please don’t forsake me, please.

Give me a contract to sign.

What do you take me for?

If I told you, I’d need to kill you.

Please take me seriously

Exquisite you are when I ought to be.

Only if you show me yours.

I’ll take the Fifth Amendment.

Come sit under the sun with me.

Secrets should remain secrets.

Please rephrase your question.

For love, no; for money, maybe.

I’m surprised you would ask that.

That was the last thing on my mind.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.


Mt. Everest, Mt. Zion, and Mt. Sinai.

Only if you promise not to tell my husband.



About the poet:

What you may not know about Richard: