Saturday 20 February 2021

Five Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Deck Chair


Someone had made an unfavourable remark

and I was pretty sure it was this smug comfortable bastard

from the Adirondacks,

constant looks of contempt body slamming

me right down into the frontal lobe

and that laugh that came next, this chair

on the back deck was really asking for it

and composure never really being my thing,

I balled up my fists and dug a punch deep into its gut,

followed quickly by another right to the kisser;

a great roar went up from nobody’s crowd

and crawled into my ear as I decked the bloody fool again

and moved in for the knockout.


Apologies, Zephyr!


No highly touted moon landing for you.  The dark side of the moon may sell in villainous crunchy Tinseltown, but the last flight out of Saigon left over forty-five years ago.  Only thing left to do now is check your oxygen intake to make sure the trees are still holding up their end of the bargain.  When fast food is not fast, people grow vocal.  It is the one thing that is promised and the first thing to go.  I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t lied to.  The “new normal” I hear, I hate that term.  Like regurgitating into the mouths of amateur birdwatchers and expecting all the damn tweety-birds over at Disney to spit shine their sit in trees like silly squirrel binoculars until Jesus returns from Denny’s twenty pounds overweight with toast crumbs all through his beard.  What I love about hate is that it lasts forever even though it is often inconsequential as an impound yard glove compartment.  Something to hold onto while the simple green balloon of your dreams sails away.


Hands On


The cybernetics department was always the last

to know about changes.


The hands were already on when the required

alterations came through.


Each hand had to be removed with the utmost care.

The artificial intelligence had already begun to adapt.


The being had consciousness and no hands.

Never an ideal situation, even if you are not human.


There is cutting edge and then there is inventing the knife.

Quarterly profits had gone up since profits began.


But still, there was a sentient being standing before them:

language, feelings, no hands.


Mustard Lip


She has a napkin to wipe.

The juice from city center street meat

exploding with each bite.


She, with mustard lip,

and me with my ever-green

pickle and relish concoction.


We have both gone for the shredded cheese

even though it has sat in clumps

for many hours under the dry summer heat.


And later by the waterfront,

we try to guess which ships are bringing in

the illegal drugs.


Both choosing the ones with less obvious names.

Usually after women you could imagine curling their hair

or kneading bread for the next family function.


All with fresh paint jobs.

My arm around her long before bike paths

have become a thing.


Just us and the many drugs

we know are coming in.


Throwing the Game


The game had been a snoozer

and I crumpled it up in boredom’s waiting clammy hands

before heading outside where the wind can

be heard like old Cab Calloway records

and I practiced my wind up many times,

really stepping into it,

a running start before throwing the game

as far as I could

while tiny glowing eyes scurried off

under cover of darkness

and the stars in the sky just sat there

as if giving dictation.

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, The Rye Whiskey Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review


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