10 Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Stick

 

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

for now.

 

 

Criticaster

 

His back is turned

to the last minutes

of an oceanfront sunset

 

working a scratch

ticket

with great concentration

 

so that

I know everything

 

I will ever

need to about

 

the human

race.

 

 

 

Gasoline Rainbow

 

I am in the Foodland parking lot.

Early summer.

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

inside.

 

I imagine someone jacking it

and driving off into thirsty oblivion.

 

My gasoline rainbow

stretching its gasoline legs.

 

All those wonderful

colours.

 

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,

I mutter

pointing to a single bi-plane

in the sky.

 

A cloud of smoke

from the rear

like farting at

altitude.

 

 

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.

 

 

Broad Strokes

 

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

sasquatch hands

 

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

sun.

 

 

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

beautiful misfits.

 

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.

Ryan q f

 

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