He pulled it out
and it was homemade
like a pie.
The cold metal end of a screwdriver
and the handle fat with tape.
The other combatant backed off
when he saw it,
but he was backed into an alley
with no escape.
Forced to play matador
to a charging bull.
Who kept sticking him in the stomach,
chest and neck…
Until our matador collapsed to the ground.
Blood spurting out of everywhere.
Anyone who could help ran off.
Even the rats kept their distance
His back is turned
to the last minutes
of an oceanfront sunset
working a scratch
with great concentration
I know everything
I will ever
need to about
I am in the Foodland parking lot.
Stepping over this pooling of gasoline
that forms a rainbow
in the pavement.
I stand there admiring it.
The smell it gives off.
My vehicle parked across the lot
looking lonely with no one
I imagine someone jacking it
and driving off into thirsty oblivion.
My gasoline rainbow
stretching its gasoline legs.
All those wonderful
Cougar on Jane Street
I was renting from some old cougar.
She had rooms rented out to at least
three of us young dudes
at any one time.
I was in the basement.
She was collecting us like stamps.
In that place along Jane Street.
We all looked slightly similar.
She had a type.
Skinny with dark eyes and wavy hair.
A girl a few years older than me lived there as well.
Worked front desk at the hotel down the street.
I could never figure out how she fit in.
All us guys around to keep the cougar happy
and then her.
She liked me because I could get weed.
We drank and smoked together in the basement.
The cougar was usually not home.
She was probably out trolling the bars for
a few more of us.
I was the youngest of the bunch.
The cougar liked them young.
Maybe it made her feel younger.
To have us all under one roof.
Drinking and smoking.
Giving her money at the end
of each month.
Human Birds Are Noisy
The turtles lay their eggs this time of year.
A single struggling female making dirt bike tracks
in the waiting sand.
And the missus comes out of the back bedroom
after a night of hard drinking,
asks how I am feeling.
Human birds are noisy,
pointing to a single bi-plane
in the sky.
A cloud of smoke
from the rear
like farting at
BORN TOO LOOSE
There is this woman
who doesn’t know the difference
and keeps going around telling everyone
she is “just giving them a thumbs up”
about something or other
when she means to say “heads up”
so that everyone is confused and thinks
everything is good when it is not
and then they are blindsided
which causes a lot of headaches.
Like this other one many years ago
walking around with a BORN TOO LOOSE
tattoo on her arm that couldn’t
figure out why all these strange men
kept trying to talk to her.
I’m guessing she irritated the shit
out of some tattoo guy.
Or both of them were drunk
and one had a tattoo gun.
Which is never a good idea
in a world of bad ideas.
Fisherman on the Rocks, Oceanside, CA
He balances himself on the sloping flat face
of opposing rocks.
Dressed in a grey shirt and black cargo shorts
with a camo ball cap.
With a thick white moustache like a bristly comb
and a brown knapsack with grey handles
which he positions down on one of the rocks.
His movements are very exact.
I imagine him a veteran of some war,
though I can’t be certain.
But he is a fisherman now.
I watch him cast the line out with two small red lures.
He then reels in the line and smears the lures on
some scent he has placed on the rock before
he recasts and waits.
His skin is heavily sun-weathered.
As though he is slowly fading from existence.
When he comes up empty, the fisherman packs up.
Deciding to try his luck on some rocks
a little further down towards the pier.
I am not a man of violence,
but things happen and you find
yourself out somewhere in
the broad strokes
tearing husk from angry kernel
mangling things with manic
and the weeping woman
is not a painting,
her face so small you forget
it is there
I am a man of opportunity
during the holiday high season
the balls of my feet
shagging carpet into lonely
Domestics in the Hallway
You find yourself alone in your apartment
after so many nights of domestics in the hallway.
The cops showing up after the he said she said
and taking the he said away regardless.
The window cracked open so you can kneel
beside the tugboats doing all the heavy lifting
out in the harbour, marvel at how the Irish
can control the docks and never have their
own island, which is a real pushpin sticking point
if your front door is welcomed by a shillelagh.
Ship without Captain
I move along at a good enough clip
then BAM –
some days are so shitty
they should come
with a return policy
when the pilot light goes out,
the airplane is in trouble
after visiting all those music shops, art galleries,
and bookstores I have amassed
quite the collection of
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Punk Noir Magazine, In Between Hangovers, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.