Friday 23 June 2023

Five Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


He Went to the Bahamas, His Luggage Went to Saudi Arabia


There is little reason to pack

if your luggage will not be joining you.


And he sat on the suitcase, trying to keep everything down.

Imagined some hairy dumb Stasi Queen from Customs

demanding he undue all his hard work.


So Father Interpol could take a gander

at his folding prowess,

rifle through the wholesale unmentionables.


Everything delayed that had not already left the ground.

All the sniffer dogs lost to cocaine heaven.


And boarding the plane with an air tag tucked away with his ratty toothbrush.

Sitting in economy, waiting for the stewardess to come by

and smile at him in noticeable anger.


Taxied around the tarmac like a child that must be rocked

to keep from crying.


He went to the Bahamas, his luggage went to Saudi Arabia.

Someone has to go to Mecca.

Visit Chop Chop Square during “off hours.”


The resort he was staying at in Nassau gave him a room facing the beach.

Folded his welcome towels into the shapes of many

non-threatening animals.


And that fine brown gentleman behind the pool bar

who didn’t speak a lick of the Queen’s English.

Pointing to a sign that said he was trained in CPR.


Pouring doubles and triples of everything

like the rest of the known world

was happening on someone else’s dime.


Mechanically Separated Cars


The auto body shop over on Delilah 

looks like a scrap yard with hydraulic lifts.


Mechanically separated cars

behind large bay doors that don’t close properly.


Makes you wonder about their body work

when they can’t even get the doors to their business right.


The shop foreman is always yelling.

Like a bullhorn with a massive beer belly.


Sweats surly daredevils through his shirt,

stale whiskey on the breath.


His employees pulling things apart

that they don’t seem capable of putting back together.


The prices on a large whiteboard behind the cash.

Scrawled in tiny blue chicken scratch which is barely legible

and seems to change every day.


Ah, to be a greasy pinup girl on the wall!

The things I would see and hear.


Take a card, leave a message.

Oil spots like fists brought to punches.


He Said the Hadron Collider Sounded Bad for His Insurance


Even basic interaction terrified him,

which explained why the guard was always up

and the camera always off,

and when someone told him about all those

experiments they were doing over in Switzerland,

he asked why they couldn’t just stick with chocolate,

said the Hadron Collider sounded bad for his insurance;

they had a good thing going with their chocolate

and now they had to go mess with his premiums

which kept going up each month like that gong

at the top of the strongman’s hammer at the county fair

that always made you feel stronger than

you really were.


If You’re So Gutted, Why Don’t You Become a Bloody Fish?


The threat of nuclear war is the same as the threat

of anything else.


Your immediate fear and compliance are required, nothing else.

Now, it is your many public claims to be “inconsolable!”


If you’re so gutted, why don’t you become a bloody fish?

Blow bubbles for the Hubba Bubba lobby?


You remember that sickly pink packaging?

They sold the damn thing as an edible tape!


Can you believe that?

I’m still too stuck on where we were

to ever worry about where we could be.


I have never been that big on the theoreticals.

If you want to feel bad about something that hasn’t happened,

go right ahead.


I’ll be cleaning mushrooms over the sink

like Generalissimo Oppenheimer.


For an early dinner at my place.

Assuming I still have one.


Swami Salami


Meat is a grinder,

suctioned blue lid Tupperware squares

of refrigerated crumble,

and this Swami Salami I roll up right here

in front of valet parking 

that I got from the many plastic hair guard shave ladies

gossiping their way through another shift

at the klutzy 3-second rule delicatessen,

gloved and bagged and brought back home,

so I can run the oils through my hands

like striking it rich while pats on the back

ride the rails out of Time

and planes fall out of sky like

unscheduled confetti dropping

off the radar in blip   blip

panicked hand your headset

to a supervisor

real time.

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. Another "good Canadian boy" (Don Cherry). Loved these.


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