Collaboration Poem: “Luminol” by Ryan Quinn Flanagan & David L O’Nan

(c) David L O’Nan

from “the Empath Dies in the End” coming out soon


 Part 1 by  Ryan Quinn Flanagan

There is primrose to your pageantry, I assure you!     
That Nureyev of glide-less marionettes,
burial chambers of the once sacrosanct 
now looted of moving treasures.
Advancement through the pay scale,
another sort of dance entirely.

part 2  by David L O'Nan

There are ecosystems decaying under your watch, I assure you!
 I watch you with fire in my eyes, juggling chainsaws again,
You’re determined to derail the freight train.
You’ve smashed your art to the submission, marbled smashings
Francois Millet’s The Gleaners, in wet trash and curly dandelion bits.
A thought that you could become the next Prophet cursing out orders from the bema.
Screaming out Exodus quotes, Disgracing Peleshet, while you’re scrubbing the floors.

The Milk and sugar are becoming more valuable and expensive down these roads.
These roads, once of gold, now of blood, now of clarity once the luminol is glowing 
The sins, the creek snakes seem to have more knowledge than the townsfolk and television hoaxes.
They claimed to meet Jesus during the throwing stones.  When the lightning burnt the sick 
From the grounds, low and holding the curve of the cane, the rainstorm came alive and began
Walking hot lit water all over our skin.  Your skin seemed to light up more than the rest.

Do you have a confession?

The marionettes will not glide, but they do talk. 
Yes, they do talk and they aren’t always that wooden smile and programmed like a dream.
There are some that just dance, dance by the endless dying.
I run my arm under the sun, from blood to the skin that reflects in my dancing, dying pupils.
I carved a few rambling sentences into my muscles, soon to become some new bible.
Heaven comes from the dreams of light and comes from ….

Oh, did you say you have a confession?

They never run out of luminol here. 

 Poetry Showcase for Ryan Quinn Flanagan  

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.

Poetry Showcase for Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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, Fevers of the Mind, Monterey Poetry Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review


Who knew things could get so elaborate
under the ceiling, not my seeing-eye goblet Falstaff,
that’s who, and this cornice just sat there like 
a coat of arms around some clannish dust bunny family 
handing out old mix tapes when old man sentimental
comes back around; fleeing the law on his bad leg,
the Adam’s apple split right down the middle
with a worm for an axe which lead me to stamp
down on those hardwood floors, believing myself 
some 18th century printing press pumping out 
all those delectably pernicious ideas.

Buried with the Treasure

This will not become another sombre poem
about the dead buried with the treasure,
those winning Spanish bullion legs your grandmother
had during the war, drove the enemy to bedroom
armistice if you are to believe the family lore,
old pictures shared as evidence;
we will assume the priest has said his peace,
that the many smelly freedom fighters 
will never declare theirs and that this poem 
is about something else entirely:
rolled up bus pass, dragon fruit in season,
this scratchy razor wire voice.

Sand Dollar

I knew this woman who collected them 
like her husband collected ex-wives – 
now, years later, holding this fruitless sand dollar in hand, 
I can't even remember her face as he can likely  
not either which is the problem with collecting anything: 
things add up, clutter the mind with shadows,  
while desperate grasshoppers jump out of their own legs  
trying to escape a young child's curious clutch 
and the light from a thoughtless sun makes cover 
my eyes and wince in absent pain.

Night Cap

The salutations sent like bent wedding invitations  
that never make it, 
hare-brained analytics telling fish to fry themselves  
before some stick-figured Darwin upstart  
begins drawing on legs long as runway models; 
it's all about the raging bad breath percentages these days, 
humanzees in a spotty veggie patch tearing body lice  
straight from the sagging beer belly land – 
race records that scratch themselves, 
this indeterminant clawing through all the walls;  
I'm holding nothing like some spit-warm idiot 
in the faded tight-jeans street, art for art's sake, 
what a bet on the blind, what a spanner with the works... 
enough stickers on the fridge, laptop, car  
to distract from the biological imperative for  
a couple hours while our man in Europe crosses the  
Danube with a backpack full of gumption 
and that bricklayer-thick accent that has always toppled women 
instead of buildings.

Catch and Release

No one wants this poem to be about baseball
and yet here we are sorting career slugging averages 
from the crackerjack, watching a classic sac fly,
wild swinging third base arms waving the runner home
as our boy in outfield runs under a classic catch and release,
stepping into every inch of the moment;
the catcher in a contract year blocking home plate,
expecting a throw for the ages.	

Deranged Flowers

Who plays with deranged flowers? 
Surely not the dirty mud-child lost to early miseries. 
Not accordion doors, nor some polished winsome thing. 
Petals torn from stalk like losing all the green. 
Degenerate gamblers in empty car parks, head in hands. 
Walking from here on out. 
And those flowers of crazed colour jumping out of bushes 
with a midnight mugger's resolve. 
An overturned scratch post for a back.


7 Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Tucked away by squirrel, by paltry wet-nurse,
this alcove of woolen obfuscation;
how I never once cried so that they thought me deceased,
checking tiny balled up fists for a reaction, deformed feet,
looking past everything like some baby-fat cannonball 
on the prowl; still-life inertia replacing expected smile, 
deserters from all their posts so you can understand
a fence falling down.


Did you see the scar on Al Capone's face? 
As though windy turbine Chicago would never be  
safe for anyone ever again?  
This is less sudden, but more deep  
and jarring, this escarpment on the steep,  
a long eroded curve so that the locals believe ancient  
giants built this land even if they do not  
which is favourbale for tourism if not for truth;  
the adrenalin junkies all with ropes and backpacks  
and permanent helmet head never good for the hair, 
but they are all young and looking for something  
that is not themselves or anything they know, 
staying in lumpy bunk bed hostels with a shared  
cold water bathroom at the end of the hall,  
trying to learn guitar from the wandering curious  
fingers all around them.

Wall of Sunflowers, Corner Lot

The kiddos back to school tomorrow, 
trying to get one last day in, 
trampoline jumping behind this wall  
of sunflowers, corner lot, 
as I squeak past before the rains, 
lethargic and childless, a faded shirt of wrinkles, 
so many beds of flowers that I fear  
I may never wake again; 	
not for want of dream, but with retiring curtain stillness: 
my tractable pine cone arms draped over everything, 
this sullen parade of bereavements.


Surely no beauty added to this braggart landscape,  
that sudden splash of gold plays hell on my allergies,  
can't go near the bloody thing without cursing  
the very rainwater it survives on, all clumped together like that  
like the tube station crowd waiting to pile onto a rush hour  
train car and second as canned sardines, 
not a pretty sight, nor the sluices opening on my sinuses, 
a giant ball of tissue in each pant pocket which  
never seems to be enough; I'm like one of those greedy  
landlords collecting mucus instead of rents.


I shall not assume the newly predestined 
some shoddy ironing board neglect,
wrench Howitzer knees out of forgotten conflict,
pick the grape-raisin land of failed harvest –
one eyed-Nelson and a losing game of marbles,
crests of scurvy over wretched seas;
shaded lamp into sudden dark,
this singly isthmus, that none shall pass:
a man on the come, the go.


Not for climbing, lambent in  
late afternoon sun, the blasting cap 
lines all on depressed diagonals, 
still dolefully visible to those of a more  
external mind; giants clams of shale chipped 
away, felled upon the wizen-cracked lot 
of cars below, a soundless tumble as if gravity 
makes thoughtless acrobats of us all.

Dirt Cone

Glacial and irregular as they come, 
never mean-spirited so much as meant for  
far-flung purposes, to be respected if not understood – 
ablation surgeons lost to clumsy scalpel, 
distance, the great protector in both a procedural  
and personal sense; our debrous indelible dirt cone  
so well insulated that no one can arrive  
at the core, the Being.

Bio: 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, Fevers of the Mind, Monterey Poetry Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. 

Poem by Ryan Quinn Flanagan:Viaduct

Poem by Ryan Quinn Flanagan:Viaduct

brown concrete bridge over river under blue sky during daytime

Image from Unsplash by Maksym Kaharlytskyi (c)


Trussed and arched in metal middling, 
cacophony quadrille backs lost to dance, 
that's how I see this viaduct, connecting tissues 
for the living hotspot land, toot-toot trains from  
one side to the other like shifting allegiances, 
a feverish human metronome; somehow woefully  
intransitive, those boorish columns of steel tearing  
the milk right out the sky and those jitterbugs of  
prestressed concrete pulled forth from a  
dying mason's once-sturdy hand.

Bio: 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, Setu, Monterey Poetry Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.