Ryan Quinn Flanagan (Canada)
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, Atunis Poetry, Our Poetry Archive, Blue Mountain Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
What you don’t know
can’t hurt you, what a silly notion
for anyone to have, those rice peasants of Hiroshima
woke up that morning just the same as always,
knew nothing of the bloody bomb, but did that help?
Less than a blacksmith without hands, I assure you.
Which is hardly why I sit in the dark listening to old
race records with a bottle of Ballantine’s Scotch,
but what a reason it would be, what a shiny
Perhaps a civilization is lost long before
another discovers it in ruins,
those many writings and dwellings and beliefs
that used to mean so much,
the drinking well turned into common garbage
once everything became salinated with rising sea levels,
and those instruments of war, once so lethal,
the domestication of livestock and seasonal crops,
a few mummified bodies for the museum to show off
and commodify, their last death gasp mouths kept under glass
to scare the kiddies into eating everything on their plates
and grow up big and strong, colouring their once happy dispositions
with that sombre off the rack knowledge that
their time will come, discovered and kept under glass
like all the rest, missing a few teeth for effect,
so the colourful gawking freak show is always
worth the price of admission.
Lest you think me much the shill
I have always felt uncomfortable applauding,
that ridiculous way my hands slap together
like two sweaty beerhall lovers for the night;
seated silently furthest from the stage lest you
think me much the shill, hawking wolf tickets in foxholes
or some other sloppy zoological comparatives that all lead
back to familiar enclosures: of house, of nest, of den;
to clean my cage on weekends so the big stick won’t get rowdy
with my bones, bring the cowering awestruck thunder down,
that last sudden flash of lightning.
‘That way you smile like a ball of dust’
If I knew a better way,
I would not tell you
nor even myself,
and therein lies
the problem of
problems: for me,
for you, for everything.
Shut Yer Trap!
when jittery house mouse is not around,
sickly last legs lab rats work the maze faster than
you or I have ever done:
Shut Yer Trap! Have you seen the size of those bears?
The yearlings on the starve, but the rest seem plump
and purposeful, no? Could maul a thousand adulterers
back into careful dishrack love.
Yes, I heard you the first time. Shut Yer Trap!
Shut Yer Trap! Is that peanut butter I smell?
You won’t fool me again.