Ryan Quinn Flanagan (Canada)

 
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.
 
 
Cleopatra of the Sunset Strip
 
More movies or husbands? Wait.
Let Liz Taylor answer. I like to travel as well.
Not such much among my own kind like Cleopatra
of the Sunset Strip, but there is a refreshing feeling
that comes with saying you are getting around, say,
 
The Café District in Shinjuku (1930)
according to Oda ,
milling through the dark streets
 
or Corot’s Lake Nemi (1843),
did you know that Mussolini had the lake drained
when local fisherman told him there was
something special down there; two special somethings
it turns out, both a floating temple and a pleasure boat,
both belonging to Caligula, which the Allies bombed during
the war (the boats, not Little Boots himself)
 
or to spend some time walking Hopper’s
Le Pont des Arts (1907) with all the fancy people
awash with brazen sunlight, about to blow away
like careless frolicking pastels while the parked ships
below wait to offload strange cargos
 
or better still, to join Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage
with Albert Pinkham Ryder and that gallant white horse,
becoming more of an interruption really,
talking the ears off the corn as they say
 
or right to the center of the earth, perhaps,
like one of Jules Verne’s joke shop itch powder
travel agents that always try to keep
one guessing.
 
Hazard Guess
 
A yellow hazard sign posted along the side of the road
so that you know a guess is soon to follow,
the courageous man showing up to a knife fight
with thermometer Mercury under the tongue
and a book of 17th century parables
with bubbly writing in the margins;
it is enough for Quixote windmills to sit for Dutch oils,
hours of confusion trying to get the uncertainly right –
I wake up out of bed, on this basement couch that sags
between the cushions as much as I will one day,
non-committal pictures on neutral toned walls,
even my wheels don’t have wheels, that slow hurtful way
I run my fingers through stringy chalkboard hair
looking for dried bloody scabs to pick off and flick
away upon this ruinous dry mouth floor. 
 
 
Earth Salt
 
Lot’s wife was good people,
there is a source for everything these days
and I have a few,
my granulated way of making friends on the sly,
my dirty escaped earth salt mind;
call in the dogs if you believe you have the only biscuit in town,
let some leg humper from the sticks slobber all over you,
if his trousers are “with child,” he probably won’t begin to show for months;
the experts are the experts so that no one else can be,
not Lot or his wife or any other sucker given out to exam room children
in musty doctor’s offices after each visit –
I am the last survivalist even though I never wanted to survive,
the less you care, the more complete strangers hunt
for non-existent secrets,
it’s like snoring into the ass end of a tuba so jazz can
sail off to Mars where all the experts are running around
in the latest NASA swag, collecting all of David Bowie’s
furry fun rock n’ roll with lipstick spiders.
 
Drop of a Hat
 
It was hardly a mistake, I watched the man do it
from my window above, first taking the hat off his head,
then bunching it up in his left hand without ever looking at it,
the man did not seem in a hurry, casually walking down the street
along the curbside, dropping the hat about twenty feet past my window,
near a storm drain before rounding the corner –
I kept waiting for the man to turn back, but he never did;
three weeks on, the hat is still there,
soaked through by recent rains, still bunched up,
but no longer on the head or in the hand of such a curious man.
 
Command Center
 
Fan out, well past the burbs,
you are endangered peacock feathers with painted eyes of distraction,
yawning bedtime sleeper cells telling stories –
I command the center to separate from itself,
that is my wish and my sprawling white dandruff,
my darkened séance voice as if nicotine is a yellow
place of worship, the horns of distant tuk tuks extorted
at each partisan checkpoint, that blow them up movie way the men with guns
become their guns and nothing else; fear is the modern banking system
brought down to personal terms, think your lunch money
on a scale large enough to keep the roaming bully-boys on the prowl –
right to the periphery, it is big words like that
that will get you in trouble;
let us meet at the furthest reaches, beyond the outskirts,
exchange numbers that were never once ours,
fall out of beds that may as well be mountains with half the gear
and none of the words that matter.
 
 

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