Monday 6 June 2022

Five Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


 

Saggy Taints & Hourly Saints 

 

A sudden spark – 

from a flint wheel lighter  

perhaps. 

               

A firing squad of possibilities. 

             

This sprawling bramble bush way  

I seem to lose everything. 

 

Stepping out into the insolvent gumshoe avenues. 

Looking to be solved in 20 questions or less. 

 

The falling rain above my head 

like an umbrella by other means. 

 

Missing letters from the faltering peep-dangled  

theatre marquee. 

 

The sewers backed up like cornered raccoons 

becoming suddenly vicious. 

 

Someone asking for change 

that is not some pampered glory hole  

optimist from one of the academies. 

 

That single outstretched hand  

of peeling Styrofoam. 

 

Some matted last leg hip dysplasia dog 

that doesn't even get up anymore 

to welcome the passing crowds. 

 

The eyes glassed over  

like one of those stained-glass churches 

you find on every corner. 

 

Full of believers and full of themselves. 

Saggy taints & hourly saints. 

 

An unregistered piece under the bed. 

With the serial numbers filed off. 

 

Waiting to be called upon. 

In a brown paper bag so crinkled  

that demolition sites replace 

a solid night's sleep.


 

The Swede & the Sun

 

He should not be living alone!

My nurse wife is always worried

he will fall.

 

Garbo lived alone,

I say.

Maybe it is a Swedish thing.

 

I think his wife died last year,

my wife says.

He’s probably just waiting now.

 

Unsteady down the drive,

gathering the garbage can to bring

back inside.

 

Walking over his lawn with the aid of a cane

because he can no longer work the

front stoop.

 

Then back down into his chair,

sitting with eyes closed for hours.

 

This Swede, easily in his late eighties.

Turned to face the sun.

 

The meals on wheels ladies driving up

every few days.

 

To deliver a warm meal

and make sure he is not dead.

 

This man of Scandinavia

who seems to believe the sun

has always escaped him.

 

This long last sun he watches set.

Enjoying each like it will be his last.


 

Everything

 

is moments

in time

 

that half-

adamant

way

 

you pick at

the face

 

the universe

has given

you.


 

Everyone Gets Gas

 

My only gas station gig,

the boss was a total asshole.

 

Made me change tires

as people filled up and drove off.

 

Blaming me

for not being attentive

to the customer.

 

I told him I thought they got

exactly what they came for;

not wanting my attentiveness,

just the gas.

 

He threatened to take it out of my cheque,

but I was making so little it wouldn’t even

cover the first two culprits.

 

He fired me

and I thanked him,

I remember that.

 

I was so tired of the graveyard.

Of getting kicked around like some

crushed soda can you’d find

in the street.

 

My next gig was telemarketing.

Cold calling, trying to sell freezer orders

of beef for $5.85/hr.

 

From the second floor off this non-descript

building along Dunlop Street.

 

You’d never know it was there.

Which is just the way I felt about myself

at that time.

 

Living in my aunt and uncle’s basement.

With the many jars of preserves.


 

Korean Karaoke

 

I am the only white face,

but that should not matter

and I do not sing because there

is no voice,

the swollen tongue cut out a long time ago

by Father Silence 

and his various unsterile

implements

 

a cotton mouth

sharing the name with a snake

from some frightening book of my youth

 

and it is nice to see the kids up there

cutting loose

 

very few stand alones,

but since when did we ask

for monuments

 

instead of

people?




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


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