He Lost His Virginity to a Ball of Wool
His grandmother used to knit slippers
year round for all the grandkids
during that entire summer he spent with her
he got ideas, finding himself home alone
he stared at the basket of wool on the floor
for hours, imagining the softness of each ball
before fingering himself a hole and defiling his favourite.
A large grey mass of fabric which he humped and threw away.
After that, he no longer considered himself a virgin.
And the slippers he got each Christmas
made him uneasy.
Precision Bombing, like Painting Your Nails
with a Bunker Buster Named Quincey
WHAT IF WAR COMES?
like a chimney spout
full of soot.
Right to your house?
Then I guess you’re
And he could tell
I was mocking him
which meant that he
was still there
in the outstanding
cable bill sense.
As I thought
about that chimney sweep
in a William Blake poem I had read
many years before.
And how no one escapes the prison
of anything if they don’t
Deep Guttural Belch
you have travelled such a far way
to be expelled.
You must be tired in that carbon monoxide
poisoning sort of way.
Where nobody moves even though
they look like they should.
That’s how my friend Kevin looked
when he hung himself.
The stillness of a windless field.
But you’ve come so far.
Perhaps they will give you your own
time zone to play with.
Or the keys to the city perhaps.
I made the guest bed up with fresh linens
if you want to lie down.
I hope traffic wasn’t too bad.
Like a complete jackass
I had this idea to collect all
the old credit cards
and glue them down to the road
as an installation art piece
I would call: Street Cred
so that all the artsy fartsies
could think me marvellous
and throw some coin
I also planned to place an old piece of pizza
on top of a glass encased globe
and call it: Piece on Earth.
When the pizza slice began to stink
I would replace it with
And now you see the problem.
And if you do not, you might be part
Mash Unit Pastrami
There is not much time left.
And even if there is, how is one to know that?
I am not some diviner in silk robes.
Holding séances like others hold the mustard.
That is what I love about those Montreal delis.
The product is so good they couldn’t give a damn
about the ambiance.
Everyone yelling as though you walked into a mash unit.
It’s pay and get out just like the professional girls.
Rubbing your wrist across your snotty late autumn nose in public.
The honesty that entails.
I love a good coin toss as much as the next guy,
but the mint shouldn’t have its hand in everything.
Elvis died on the toilet so you don’t have too.
That there is human sacrifice up close and personal.
The sound of music grinding Nazis to a standstill.
Popping off like spent firecrackers at the mouth.
A hole in the shoulder of my housecoat
Johnny Law Gets Spooked in the 11th Hour
I was really hoping that fella
looking to blast himself off in a rocket
to prove the earth was flat
would get his chance
the fact that johnny law stepped in
will only give credence to
let Major Tom blast off
if he wants,
that’s what I
but then again
I believe in freedom.
We must be getting close to California.
The change guy manning the slots at the Vegas airport
keeps checking his hair in the reflection from
the slot machines.
And the price of everything has gone up.
Like climbing a mountain no one can see.
And there is Spanish everywhere.
And the large amount of men in skinny jeans
primping their hair in the bathroom mirrors.
Some guy at TSA check
doing a yoga tree pose behind me
in line for the x-ray.
Calling the Wild on His One Good Phone
Calling men dogs is a great disservice to dogs,
those great snarling hunting meal time packs
that know a dominance as natural as the cold crunchy
winter under paw
and return to things, and away from others;
the sickness of the city, domestication traps,
so that soon the man is replaced by a new ferocity
getting snark with the spitting seas and the sickness
of the tropics, an old dog filled with mercury
and adventure and ideas.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Synchronized Chaos, Literary Yard, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.