I Pointed Just In Case She Didn’t Know Where Space Was
I was down in the red light district
collecting warm blankets for the elderly,
I was there for UNICEF so children with their war-torn fingers
blown off could finger each other again with the help of silicon valley
prosthetics the VA had been working on.
You’re a sightseer!
I had one redhead in black fishnets tell me.
I can tell the sightseers from the real action.
I told her to lean into another car and wave her can
in the air so the astronauts up in the space station
would have something to look at.
I pointed just in case she didn’t know where space was.
With one of my fingers that had not been blown off in war.
She called me an asshole and I told her that was only
one part of me as a biological being.
I tried to show her my Jimmy Dean East of Eden ankles,
but she wasn’t interested.
My socks pulled up too high and her present mood too low.
When things come together, you can really tell.
The tricks falling in love with the girls and Elvis marrying
everyone back from the dead.
The Baby & the Shark
Had this dream on spicy food
without brushing the teeth
on another continent
that a baby in a carriage rolled down
off a cliff while the mother was busy
being Narcissus playing with filters on her phone
at the same time that a hammerhead shark
washed ashore and beached itself
about twenty feet away
and how all these kids ran up to the shark
and their parents ran after them
and how one kid got too close and the shark
bit off his toe in a panic
while no one even noticed the baby,
not even the mother who was in the middle
of updating her profile picture
for social media likes.
Probably in the Same Clothes
He made these strange hand signals
as though he were practising American sign language
in a wind tunnel full of revenge,
said he belonged to a gang
so I asked him how Kool was doing these days;
he seemed confused with the tinted back window
in no man’s land: half up and half down…
my black lunch pail under my arm after another
solid eight at work, too tired to even see the plate
of the car that sped off or to care,
knowing I would be right back here again
in another twenty four hours, probably in the same clothes
because any man who feeds the machine long enough
stops caring about such things.
Mickey Mantle Slaying the Hydra
Denon has Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo
and Mickey Mantle Slaying the Hydra.
I think the plaque says it’s Hercules?
my wife laughs.
I’d make the worst museum tour guide,
You know more about these works than anyone else
in here and we’re at the Louvre, she says.
Which is true,
but I find myself in a mood.
Telling her Mickey Mantle is batting cleanup
beside Michelangelo’s The Slaves.
Before getting my wife to take a picture of me
with the museum map out
asking a bust of the Emperor Tiberius
in the Roman antiquities
I can hear all the whispers
that never amount
After a few pictures in the Sully wing
of the cavernous stone halls meant to mimic
the tombs of ancient Egypt,
we are done with the Louvre.
Trying to leave, but the exit signs just take us
further into this mess.
Some fantastic Davids
and a few Delacroixs,
but the range of paintings
are quite paltry.
Some of the most excitement
comes from trying to get my coat
out of the locker
and helping a few others.
The long walk back out to the street
to rejoin the living.
I Was Tired of All the Drama
I wouldn’t have gone outside
I was tired of all the drama.
Just up from a roofing job in the city.
A loudmouth should get his ass beat.
Even if he’s a friend.
But Catherine came inside,
said someone was trying to beat up Shane
who didn’t do anything to anyone.
Covering her eyes and asking if we were fucking
even though we had all our clothes on
and she knew it.
So that I found myself back outside again.
Telling some middle-aged man
with fatty tits hanging out the sides of a white tank top
that his children should go back inside
and that we apologised for any
He kept talking so that
I told him I gave him a chance,
that he should stop talking now,
that I would put him through the ground
with limited effort.
but not without some
Then I got really drunk
in that kitchen in Letitia Heights
as she kept handing me drinks
and pretending to drink
a few of her own.
I can’t understand people that shower before bed
The water wakes me up
and my damp hair against the pillows
gives me a headache.
All that effort
when you just have to get up
and shower again first thing
in the morning.
If you want to shower after especially dirty sex
I get it, but the rest of you seriously
The day will come soon enough.
Enjoy your dirt and the dark
for a while.
European Sirens Are Different
It is the same pattern over and over.
One horn toots at another that responds.
Then the bike bells go, followed by the ambulance
and fire truck sirens.
No one gets out of the way for either
so the sirens are constant.
European sirens are different.
It’s like being in a Jason Bourne movie,
my wife says before rolling over.
It really is.
I pull the blanket up over my shoulder
and that is all I remember.
Dirty Harry was Clean
What I liked about
all those Clint Eastwood movies
back in the 70s
was the way he seemed to always care
in a greater sense
without being non-committal about that
which did not matter in the moment
stepping outside the law
when it no longer applied
and how he carried that absolute cannon around
like an artillery barrage in a $500 suit
and the corruption
of the system
in one clean act
of the janitorial services
so the streets of San Francisco
could entertain us
with the failed shocks of their
bumpy Frisco car chases
and our scowling anti-hero
when prince charming
was out of country;
the bleeding hearts all
gone into hiding.
Straight Tequila & Protection Money
was supposed to fight Noodle
in a schoolyard brawl
and no one cared in
and I remember chugging that entire mickey
of tequila in the parking lot
on a dare at the YMCA
before racing around the track
at full speed for more than an hour,
lapping all the professional assholes
in my street clothes
because I was crazy and everyone else
was in lazy spandex
and later at that party in Letitia Heights,
a childhood friend looking for protection
and offering money
because someone’s girl had been fucked
and now played the victim
while the kegs
out in the garage
got warm as idiot
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, Punk Noir Magazine, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.