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.