Wednesday 2 November 2022

Five Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan




A friend up the street tells me about Wads.

Always carried lots of money on his person.


An old timer with a big heart.

Would help anyone out if he could.


Such things don’t go unnoticed.

Two meth heads beat him with a pipe

and a crowbar, took his money.


Wads is now lying on life support.

In hospital with his face crushed in.


My friend from up the street went to see him.

Says it doesn’t look good for Wads.

End Tables for the End Times


With even morning socks mismatching,

it seemed like the prudent thing to do.


End tables for the end times.

Free delivery was the clincher.


Any address you wanted.

I gave my own, but was tempted.


The young gentlemen who carried everything

up the stairs, more courteous than efficient.


The elevator out of order.

But these are the times. 


Screwing on the legs,

I think of tall black giraffes

unfit for any popular zoo.


Lay down coasters

like cover fire.


This disappearing bottle of wine

right in front of me,

like a magician of sorts.


If you call me in the morning,

expect the machine

or worse.


Friends remain so

more by strategic absence

than any mathematical



Your belches, farts and banalities,

they add up.


There is a reason I live

with a cat.


Twist Enough Stories and All You Have Are Pretzels



To lose cable is not like losing a child, 

I have no children and have only had cable, 

so I can only imagine, 

but Reason fills me with this ratty piñata  

of Belief that threatens to break open  

at any moment; since I cancelled the cable, 

I've been a far happier man, 

I still break out in rashes, but the rashes are mine, 

usually on the knuckles as though I've been punching 

tickets to the faulty rollercoaster of Spin; 

twist enough stories and all you have are pretzels, 

the journalists adverse to journalism these days 

so that now I go for walks, really see things  

for myself: patrolling dragonflies, 

tinted window motorcades of questionable transparency, 

lattice fencing for a wedding cake  

everyone knows won’t make it.


Don’t Be All the Rage


The last hoopla left somersault Saigon

almost 48 years ago

which reminds me to change

that orange cut box of baking soda

in my fridge.


Once dependable and now fading.

Don’t be all the rage.


That new hot thing for alien agendas.

Faking the angry confetti of the fallen.


Ignore this travesty of trends.

Always come back to yourself,

like a junkyard wheel-well

with none of the push or grease.


That bedroom childhood way

you closed your eyes

and let the afternoon sun

fall over you like some long

glowing hot house truth.


And intimate all these years later.

Loving your only wife again.

Dylan Thomas by other means.

Remain a writer and never a billboard.


There are so many tricks

and so few ways to oppose them.


Sitting up

in the bed of beds

throwing water over my

midnight face.


Seething against nothing

that soon becomes a sad failed parody

of that original injurious

lie of itself.


Which is why I find myself

in a constant fit of happiness.


Finally sure of myself

and never the other.


That persistent angry chaos

from within

that always turns



Personal shortcomings

sold for pennies on the dollar.


And this way I sleep in

when I can,

wake up to the dependable surefooted sun

once again.


Only the Best


Past lives are a funny thing.

Everyone wants to be the best,

no great harm in that, I guess.


But think of it.

All those past lives.


It must have been some strange looking

societies back then.


All those kings & queens & emperors

& princes & princesses.


And not a single chambermaid or sharecropper

or plumber among them.

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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