Poetry from Ryan Flanagan

Some Spoiled Dim Sum Nietzsche


Robert Motherwell painted his way into my apartment

with his Homely Protestant

and his Totemic Figure


while Rothko’s many Greeks

toiled away at some spoiled dim sum Nietzsche

that was free before eleven


and the things you do in stairwells

are hardly uplifting,


such appellations

are meant to be ironic


Russ –

I will meet you at the Sparkling Dime

at half past five

to talk about your movie


about how we can write all the actors

out of the script so that the props

will work for free.


Victor Hugo’s Window


the floor is the door is the floor Isadore

and my elasticity has gone off to join that circus

outside; I hear see smell it all the time, feel it sometimes

when I am closing a book which is just as good as any window –

Victor Hugo’s window perhaps, or the many clams of Jules Verne

still pearling under the migrating sea:

why so miserable Victor?  the emphasis on the plural:

les misérables,

to make everyone around you miserable is to understand

the music of Mussorgsky, they even made Boris Godunov into a movie

because the eyes should know what the ears have

known for some time, that torture is legal and practiced daily

and not always by men with prominent Cindy Crawford moles that are hardly

endearing, and if such asides make me catty I should request to be a tabby

or European short hair, nothing Calico please –

I hear those things yowling in heat all the time, scratching

at doors that won’t answer themselves.





This is not love.

This is hate with decals.

Some new chop shop way

of holding hands.


As though

even a rainbow

is on parole


after the




Ringing Mr. Trench Foot


flea collars of menopause answer the call

of calls:


this is room service

this is Alex Graham Bell

this is half a dozen roses

with nothing to do with

botanical Shakespeare


the Pro Football Hall of Fame

keeps ringing for my thoughts

on fumbles in the Rhineland


and I am playful as a pre-schooler

under this thread count of sheets

making dubious faces


the ceiling is just standing in

for the sky

while I am indoors,


that is what understudies do


first this magazine

and later a shower;


the reason I left the peace

was to find the war.



New Mouse Pad


She got me this new mouse pad

so I would stop scraping holes

into the desk


and it is a water scene

she meant to be



but I point out

that it is at face level

so that you feel as though

you are drowning


or a hungry shark

is about to eat



and she throws her hands

up in the air

as though she is under arrest

for crimes I have yet to


ever accuse





My Large Clumsy Hands through the Pages

of Popular Magazines


Do they have to be all over everything, this is not a fondle job,

I feel the melons for ripeness and suddenly

I am in adult films


my large clumsy hands through the pages

of popular magazines


and a stringy afterbirth voice comes from behind

a tilted grey newsboy cap:

buy if you want to read, this is not a library


and I drop the pages where they are,

walk on past the fruit man who pretends

not to notice when the poor kids

steal his apples


and the butcher

who remains bone saw unaware

that his wife is into many other



and the sky is clear which means it is showing off again,

a center of attention sun making everyone

feel bad about themselves


in the cars that won’t start

on the basketball courts that can’t dunk

in the boots that look fat in that dress


people should die, but not in war:


you wanna be a shooter,

you gotta carry your own lead

to the funeral


what a bone-stupid way to go,

but tell a man he is not a patriot

and watch him make a Monte Cristo

sandwich of you


squashing everything down

so that your right shoulder hurts

for no reason


and the blankets you used to welcome

all turn on you,

I cannot spend enough time outside

these days


there is an air to breathe that is not mine

into the life of a wheezing asthmatic


scratching the back of my head

I find Saturn Devouring His Son,

thank you Goya,


while Judith Beheads Holofernes

so Caravaggio can stand Empire State tall

among the masters.



Crash Dummy


The market will crash

sure as cars



I am not an expert

or pundit

or anything



Just a simple pair of eyes

with no dog in

this fight.


Knowing the house of parliament

will always fail inspection.





Language barrier reef

bleaching coral islands of Dr. Moreau


well water

bucket list for

H.G.’s number


Tallulah bank

manager parking reserved

table legs twitching


famine feast double feature


parlez nous car smell

the roses

chem trail mix tape song

birds chirping


guffaw Corleone Peugeot


your car is Omerta so no one

can drive it.


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.

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