Thursday 13 January 2022

Five Superb Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Every Night She Has Dinner with Me


She sits across from me like opposite walls

holding up some long-untenable horror,

but we could be at this forever;

every night she has dinner with me,

chews her food over a careless sty,

patterned plated smothered in a voyeur’s

lumpy snuff film of gravy –

there is preparation without happening,

there is moss over the trunks of sunken bad posture trees,

grunts where once there were words,

not even a pauper’s simple love

and the xanthan gum curtains drawn over

and the belly-up arachnids in the overhead light above

all going down with the ship,

the prongs of weighted forks thrown into mouths

once used for love.    


The Junkie in the Bathroom


James Bond was invented in the faraway Caribbean

so that there are no heroes in real time

and I stumble over the junkie in the bathroom

drooling across a sickly institutional green

tiled floor that has not been cleaned since

mental health went looking for answers up the nose;

half a dropper’s blood still sticking

out of some bruised patchwork arm

that probably knew it had a hot shot coming;

the sound of the hair dryers still going

so that I know I am not the first

to such discoveries,

but perhaps the first to care.


We Don’t Care What You Say When You Don’t Say Nothing At All


Two shits can’t be given like a church wafer bland,

scrubbing under arms with a brand new soap –

that ball of wool way tent cites curl up for the cold,

freeze under January bridges meant for progress;

no love in this world, no song dancing around morning heads,

we don’t care what you say when you don’t say nothing at all,

that crunch of an old snow still underfoot, the laces rusted

and broken away, an empty cage of ribs still shaking

personal earthquakes, that spittle of frozen beards

across once-young faces, everyone cement hardened,

for themselves if they are for anything at all;

the dead and the dying in shallow beds,             

even if I could sing, I would never just sing along.


Grapes of Wrath


Some older kids

from down on Concession

started tearing bunches of grapes

down off the nearby grape tree.


Throwing them at this younger kid

who got hit in face with a couple

of the bunches before covering his

face with his hands.


The owner of the home

came out and chased the older kids off.


But not before they splattered the windshield

of a passing car with all that

juicy goodness.


The younger kid walked off.

Bleeding from small cuts from where

the sharp edge of the vines

had broken the skin.


It was half past ten in the morning.

Far too early for miracles

no one really believed in anymore


Sitting in a Dark Bathroom Waiting for the Poop to Come


I do not wonder how I got here, this is not “lost time”

or some philosophical tract stuck on the cyclical fly paper

Peloponnese; those Hellenics all with great beards

so that you know they would look amazing in some 1970s

swingers club with pink bubble gum lettering

and nowhere decent to park, and here I am a half-century

moon pie after those red red Ruskies of Little Odessa

started playing roulette in a whole new way;

my blood-pumping heart through the flap of my ear,

sitting in a dark bathroom waiting for the poop to come,

seeing familiar shapes in the tiles of a floor the soles

of my shoes cannot help but stick to; that faint sound

of early Bowie through these walls these walls…

grout lines like taking a grainy failing train    

of the mind.

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, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review


1 comment:

  1. "the prongs of weighted forks thrown into mouths

    once used for love."


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