A Fistful of Poems from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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Air Traffic Lover

 

It is mission accomplished –

she is in the bathroom cleaning up

and I roll over and start digging through

his side drawer by the bed,

pull out all these giant dildos that wobble in my hands

so that when she returns, she finds me

standing buck naked in the middle of her bedroom

unable to answer her; another hard working

air traffic lover guiding the planes into their waiting bays

with twin jiggling ribbed glow in the dark wands

and a no nonsense focus

while some crazy woman runs onto the tarmac naked

screaming: WHAT THE HELL!

and is tackled by airport security.

 

Harvester of Organs

 

Harvester of organs –

I believe one of us is double parked

and the other beyond caring;

I leave the scalpel to you, doctor fly by night,

I am stuck in the middle of this life

with the window rolled down,

some strange breakout on my elbow

that causes me to itch at inopportune times,

I’ll take kidneys for 800, Alex!

Keep the change.

It is better that I never know your name

nor you my address.

We must be careful to not become friends.

I see you eyeing my pancreas, mister love handles!

Behind those child’s sunglasses that have

found their way around your head.

 

X Woman

 

Would you ever date a girl with an x carved in her forehead?

he asks after too many beers.

 

The bartender scoffs

and moves the bowl of peanuts away

so such conversations do not become contagious.

 

That was just those crazy Manson chicks, I say.

What real woman is going to walk around shopping

for organic veggies with a bloody x carved in her forehead?

 

The blood dries, he says.

It’s not permanent.

She can clean it up real nice,

think of it as a tattoo.

 

It’s not the blood that’s the problem.

But I know you’d be all over that,

I laugh.

 

And you wouldn’t?

 

No!

I say.

 

I can see he doesn’t believe me.

Even if the rest of her was smoking hot?

 

Such a woman does not exist,

I say.

Why don’t you finish the rest of your beer

which does, so we can get out of here.

 

He gets up and stumbles off to the bathroom

without finishing his beer.

 

Your loss,

he yells back across the bar.

She’d be a maniac in bed!

 

And everywhere else,

the bartender says

under his breath.

 

No shit,

I say

downing the last

of his piss warm beer.

 

Making that pained face

that knows we will be seeing each other

again later.

 

There is no one else in the bar.

Just a ceiling of open insolation hanging down.

The way the fibreglass gets in the lungs.

 

No way to tell if it is still light out.

The front window tinted dark

and duct tape over the door from the last

disagreement that got out of hand.

 

The clock on the wall is broken.

I wobble off my uneven stool and step in gum

that has yet to dry.

 

A single green wad

I have been careful to avoid

until now.

 

Killjoy Dance

 

I could never

imagine being a cop.

 

So much

of my adolescence

was spent running

from them.

 

The Only Kid in High School with Tattoos

 

There were always a few greaser candidates in shop.

Held back a couple years and rebuilding engines

so that you wondered why they never became mechanics

and started making money.

 

Perhaps there was a criminal record that held them back.

With full beards and half a decade older than everyone else.

The jocks left these skids alone.

 

Even with their constant presence,

I was the only kid in high school with tattoos.

Had come back from a year away in the city

with multiple tattoos from a summer

of roofing money.

 

In a black leather jacket

and army camo bandana.

Looking much more threatening

than I was.

 

Like how I took biology class all those years ago

and wore a necklace full of animal parts around my neck

to deter the bullies.

 

Putting everything in vinegar to kill the smell.

Frog legs, bird eyes, wavy fish tails

etc.

 

Reciting all the home addresses of all the bullies

and their extended family back to them

so that my friends could stop paying them

and were left alone.

 

I must admit,

I always held that against

my friends.

 

That they never fought back.

That they would not defend themselves.

By any means necessary.

 

I was ready to die

and they all seemed to be

getting ready for college.

 

It was a positional thing.

Like Nascar.

 

Maybe he said that, maybe he didn’t

 

No one can know for sure anyways,

he’s long gone and that’s that,

no use sweating lemon peel

for rind, let the streets and pulpit

and silly lectern talk,

no one really knew the man

and those that pretend to often have

more immediate motivations,

nothing to do with him and everything

to do with them and you’re no bird,

so why are you regurgitating into the

clamouring mouth of rumour?

People go missing every day.

And who the hell knows what they say.

 

Dealer’s Plates

 

Wipe your ass

and celebrate another

New Year.

 

Spread happy herpes

to unsuspecting

idiots.

 

With glow in the dark hats

and live in the gym abs.

 

The dropping of the ball.

In distant bedbug motels.

 

Some carless brown shit box

down in the lot.

 

With dealer’s plates.

Collecting a careful

trader’s card

rust.

 

As I stand under the shower.

Let the water meet my naked body.

 

Dress in silence

as though anyone can be

a church.

 

Private Property

 

She comes over and hands me her number,

tells me to call her.

 

Well, I don’t think my wife would like that very much,

I say flashing my ring.

 

Call me,

she says.

Walking off with her friends

as though she doesn’t care

in the least.

 

Which is why I have to care twice as much.

To make up for all the rest of

you assholes.

 

When my wife returns from the bar,

I hand her the card.

 

She crumples it up

without even looking

this time.

 

Kisses me on the cheek.

A real wet one so everyone

will notice.

 

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, Punk Noir Magazine, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, Gutter EloquenceThe Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

A Fistful Of Poems from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

ryan feb

Throwing Shade

 

He says it is nothing like discus.

Kind of like the javelin

and less like medicine balls.

 

This one who talks like he competed

in the Olympics.

 

A red Gold’s Gym muscle shirt

to show off his veiny arms.

 

Making his pecs bounce around

whenever the young girls from the nearby

high school walk by.

 

Those things creep me out.

The girls take no notice.

They are all zombies on their phones.

 

As this 2-time Olympian of his own mind

tells me what it’s like to throw shade.

How many years he had to train.

 

I can’t get him to talk about the steroids,

but he won’t shut up about everything else.

 

You have to medal or no one cares,

he says.

 

I don’t care,

so he must not have medalled.

 

I try to show him a spiky green weed

growing right up the middle of a busy anthill

in my driveway.

 

He doesn’t care either.

The sound of wind chimes

four doors down.

 

A lawn care service rushing by.

Someone’s lawn must be in trouble.

 

 

A Single Tarnished Bell Over the Door

 

You can sit in the coin laundry

and never once get clean.

 

A single tarnished bell over the door

to announce dirty garbage bag newcomers.

 

Flipping through magazines in that stale coffee breath

doomsday clock way everyone is single.

 

A broken red milk crate propping

open the bathroom door.

 

Ignore the purists.

These are places of cultures.

 

Where the truth is hammered out

one tumbling dark load at a time.

 

 

Valet Guys

 

I think the valet guys jack off in my car,

she says.

I stick to the driver’s seat whenever

I get back in.

 

And they’re always these young kids

working on their first disappointing

three pumper.

 

If they get the girl pregnant,

they’ll marry her.

 

She has tan leather seats.

I ask her if they are not just getting

that way because it is summer.

 

Not that sticky!

she says.

A woman knows the difference.

 

I assume

she knows what she

is talking about.

 

Speak much less

so I can hear her voice

instead of mine.

 

 

Always a Pliedsmaid, Never the Plied

 

He had money

and was good for drinks.

 

Hit on the waitress who kept them coming.

 

Even though he was short and ugly,

a gameshow Casanova.

 

She enjoyed the tips

and couldn’t care less.

 

And this one had his own car back when most did not.

Leased from his uncle’s car lot in the city.

Stole from his workplace to make the payments.

We were still in high school.

 

It was all for show.

And this one was scared of losing control.

Which is why he bought drinks for everyone else

and always nursed his own.

 

Always a pliedsmaid, never the plied.

Even on his birthday.

Our fake IDs worked well enough.

His money was always welcome.

 

We never had any problem getting served.

And he would get others to buy one as well.

I once did eighteen shots of mystery drinks in a row,

then downed my beer because it was my birthday.

 

You never wanted it to be your birthday.

There was no telling where you would end up.

We all punished each other ruthlessly.

 

When your birthday came around, you were fucked.

But this one always fronted the money and sat in the wings.

A total vampire getting off on the carnage.

 

I’m Irish and could always handle my drink, but only so much.

It’s the pain and suffering this one wanted.

And I gave him that in spades.

 

I wanted to suffer.

And I did.

 

 

Saliva Races

 

I rub the faces

of expensive car chases

without end.

 

Bits of scratchy stubble

over torn paper sleeve

record shop vinyl.

 

The kids outside the arcade

spitting on the window

and having saliva races before

being chased away.

 

If I was looking for a serial shooter,

I would take the top ten high scores

of the shoot ‘em up game

and go calling.

 

It’s the cheapest way to practise

and avoid the cameras.

 

Really double down on everyone else’s

rent controlled investment.

 

Follow pull out couches back from bed.

 

Art supplies are so expensive now.

No one can afford to make a mess.

Experimentation has gone out the window.

Not the dirty coin monster window

of the downtown arcade.

 

This loss is so much greater.

Like burying the family dog under

almost a foot of cement.

 

Earthy head shops on the second floor

after that throbbing Escher hallway

back up into lost Peter Tosh music.

 

Cabbies with fares

that know

they are being taken.

 

On the scenic route.

Pulling up to lights and slamming on the brakes

in squeaky yellow increments to alert

the meter to movement.

 

While I cross my arms in busy elevators.

Watch the numbers go down.

Stand at the back so no one is behind me.

 

Then out onto the street.

The sound of sirens and tartan sleeping bags

coughing right beside me.

 

Some girl with short purple hair

handing out posters for

her band.

 

A single sudden wipe of the forehead

with back of hand.

 

This misguided way I fill my pockets

with candle light vigils.

 

Unbutton a shirt from the $5 rack

that has never once believed

in anything.

 

 

Up start

 

swing

for

the

fences

 

that

no

one

has

bothered

 

to

paint

 

breath

in

that

selfish

 

brown

ramshackle

 

air.

 

 

He Pulled a Gun Over Toilet Paper

 

It was just the other day.

Down in the city.

An argument ensued over a dwindling

toiletries supply.

 

The world has gone bonkers again.

Over a virus this time.

Rushing around like some weird sci-fi movie

about the end of the world.

 

Panic buying the shelves clean.

And the two most prized possessions

seem to be toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

 

People are selling both online for $300 apparently.

But this particular argument is face to face.

And he pulled a gun over toilet paper.

 

I don’t know how the bloody thing ended,

but I’m guessing he got his damn

toilet paper.

 

I just like that people are hiding indoors

and staying away.

 

I never thought this day would come.

I probably haven’t been this happy

since I was ten years old.

 

People avoid me and say nothing.

So peaceful.

 

 

 

Broken Windows & All that Glass

 

We agreed to meet at this pool hall

that seemed to have something against 8-ball.

 

They had gotten rid of all but two old tables,

replacing the rest with snooker.

 

Which is a lot harder to play

if you drink.

 

And this one was still on his first girlfriend.

Wanted to know if it was weird that she only gave head

to him with the condom on.

 

Long before his wife that was proud of being funny and never intimate.

I told him it was kinda weird that she would rather suck back

half an army of spermicide rather than the swimmers.

 

He wanted my opinion because I was the go-to-guy.

That same crazy fucker who got the high school bullies

to stop demanding lunch money each week.

 

He never knew why.

He just knew to thank me

when they stopped.

 

Which is a roundabout way of saying I had

some respect even when I didn’t

respect myself.

 

Broken windows and all that glass.

1200ft of toilet papered cars.

 

A new house up for sale each day

because we moved the signs.

 

Carried the bloody things on our backs.

Just a few years earlier.

 

Switched all the licsecne plates

in an eight block radius

with this screwdriver from my father’s

red tool box.

 

Because I never seemed to care

as much as the sparkly happening

world.

 

Casuals

 

He flexes

and makes this strange

shirtless pacing grunting

noise to impress the casuals,

announces that he hasn’t lost a

fight in over four years

which is true,

the last time this one was drunk

and mouthy enough to take

the walk was over four years ago,

but he makes enough noise

that the wafer thin anorexic girls think him

a regular, the victim of some lucky punch

from some animal just out of prison

whose been doing nothing but

push ups and time,

so they wake him up and bring him home,

taking it upon themselves

to nurse this flabby pub crawl asshole

back to imagined health,

until he sweet talks them back out of lost virginity

and cleans out their bank accounts

so that they become enraged with all men

even though it was one man with a pretty face

and they were dumb enough to buy the hustle

and go all in.

 

Bio: 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, Punk Noir Magazine, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, Gutter EloquenceThe Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

A Selection of Poems from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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,

I joke.

 

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

for directions

in the Roman antiquities

room.

 

Bad form!

I can hear all the whispers

that never amount

to anything.

 

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

for Barkley.

 

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

perceived offense.

 

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.

 

He retreated,

but not without some

empty threats.

 

Then I got really drunk

with Catherine

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

confound me.

 

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

 

fighting crime

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

could deliver

 

when prince charming

was out of country;

the bleeding hearts all

gone into hiding.

 

 

Straight Tequila & Protection Money

 

Doodle

was supposed to fight Noodle

in a schoolyard brawl

and no one cared in

the least

 

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

Marco Polo.

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.

ryan feb

A Fire Escape Back Down to Gravity by Ryan Quinn Flanagan.

If you can’t stand the length of professional basketball,

the width of sumo wrestling from video game Japan will confound you,

leave you sucking back Vietnam-era defoliants in the dark

looking for game show door prizes behind smudged crybaby

peep holes that claim to have called the cops

and there is no reason to disbelieve the general alarm

in their voices, the entire building with a fire escape back

down to gravity and hardly above using it

so that you blood rush down the stairwell in your

only girlfriend’s fur boots that probably clubbed a baby seal

right out of the ballpark in the top of the sixth

so a crowd of 70, 000 strong can cheer you

as you run off and round third with one set of keys

and three used tissues in your pocket.

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, The Raw Art Review, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

rqf irish

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.

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Lost & Found Gods that could have Been Worshipped by Anybody by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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Blast moved to rural Argentina.  The first thing

he did was take to horses and burn his passport.

It had his real name from a previous life and the sun

that ate through the back of his neck each day

demanded something different.  His parents sat in

dusty old bingo halls where the winter still iced the roads

sitting on numbers that would never come up.  Wiping tired neck sweat

from hanging clouds of nicotine and praying to clumsy Lost & Found

gods that could have been worshipped by anybody.

Replaced just like that.  And the gauchos of the Rio broke

the horses with a handsome stern brutality. Escaped Nazis in the new land.

Herding cattle through these blood crazed hills as though their daughters

were bleeding for the heavens and even the slop in the dog bowl

could see that.  The sign of the cross over the chest from everyone

you passed in the street.  Blast never believed all that nonsense

but he knew who ran the town.

 

And his current live in was the daughter of the local sheriff.

That meant there were rules to everything.  Rules to break.

His girl had changed her name as well.  To Lolita after watching

the movie.  She never had the temperament for Nabokov or the

patience for books.  All she knew was that she was young

and the world was old which meant it wanted her or what she had

in the worst way.  She was desirable and she knew it.  Each time

she opened her legs was an event.  Blast was busy with the horses

which meant the other horses around town were busy with her.

And soon word got around that the easiest horse to break

wasn’t a horse at all and that Blast was in over 20 grand

to the local madam for goodies.  Which meant he started taking

side jobs for the cartels and drinking three times his share.

 

Blast never talked, but the wrong people thought he had

which meant his tongue was cut from his mouth and sent

to the lead prosecutor in Buenos Aries.  Wrapped as a Christmas gift 

because even the murderous want to be festive.  His body was likely feed

to the very horses he broke.  No one knows anything if you ask

them, which a few have done in the inevitable form of a question.

Soot in the Window by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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Soot in the Window

 

Do you remember your last love?

I know of soot in the window like gangly stockinged legs

peering down upon the avenues.

Blowing failed smoke rings into the stratosphere.

 

Do you get naked in change rooms?

The mirrors are there to judge you because

the church couldn’t make it.

Those loud plastic hangers that seem to jostle

against everything.

 

Do you stand on the corner feeling most awkward?

Wondering how painted street walkers pull it off

with such ease.

The beeping sound the lights make so the city

can pretend it cares about the blind.

 

People with dandruff are too eager to share.

I sit with them on the bus and lumber down the road sideways.

Pretending to read the advertisements and all

their stupid phone numbers.

 

I wish I was desperate.

Then it would show I cared.

I am glad I am not in Europe

or we’d all be waiters.

 

Taking orders for the apocalypse

when it isn’t even on the menu.

Bio: 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, Punk Noir Magazine, In Between Hangovers, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

Another 3:30 in the Morning Poem by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Another 3:30 in the Morning Poem

I am drunk

and in my underwear.

There is thunder now

and some lightning

a distance away.

The lights flicker

and the music slows.

I think of whip dancers in the village,

of powdered milk

and the Colossus

at Rhodes.

 

I wonder when the power

will go out,

how much longer

all of this

can go

on.

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Bio: 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, In Between Hangovers, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

#3 This Time by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

#3 This Time

He walked into the room

third in line

and faced the mirror

like the voice

said.

 

It was like god

was telling him

to face forward

turn left

turn right.

 

Then he was lead

out of room

and back

to his cell.

 

And instructed

not to turn around

until he heard

the cell door

close.

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Bio: 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, In Between Hangovers, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope Fiend Daily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.