Charisma Jake Can Sell Anything
caskets to newborns
a stereo that plays nothing but the Thompson Twins
bloody tampons as collector’s items
they say he even sold Robert Johnson’s soul
at the Crossroads,
got a broker’s fee and everything
one of those one time deals where
all the paperwork has to be
and the regulators can’t keep up
with his more clandestine ventures,
they say he is even selling tables
under the table,
that he would have you naming him
your only child’s godfather within
minutes of meeting him;
if you operate in the shadows,
chances are he sold you
if your many tall tales
don’t have a leg to stand on
you know where to go
for a leg.
Lenin Lost His Head
Walking through Mandalay Bay we find a large statue of Lenin
outside the entrance to Red Square. Lenin has lost his head
because people complained about having the Russian leader
adorn one of their casinos. And a casino is certainly a funny
place to have a statue of the father of Communism. So they lopped
off his head and put it on ice and the Americans feel better now
because they can drink over-priced vodka off his
stood in front of the same machine
with awkward white plastic safety glasses
that slid down his face all day
in ill-fitting blue overalls with his name on them
and a once white undershirt now sweat
through with a dried crusty yellow
and the ear plugs were flexible orange things
that came in a pack of two
and refused to stay in
so that you were always pushing them
back into place
when you were not readjusting
your safety glasses
and the pay wasn’t great,
but the machinist had done worse
with no post-secondary
so he stood there in his steel toes
operating the foot pedal
and clock watching
the sweat running down his face
in long barbaric
if he could get it
the back loading dock opened up
in the absence of
Don’t Mock a Killing Bird
murder of crows
on the hot
a man in the shed
is worth two
always have your
when the wookiees
will start mating
Listerine Bootleg #27
I made a ten and a half minute cassette
of me gurgling mouthwash
which ended with one final spit
in the sink
then I took the tape out of the recorder
and labelled it: Listerine Bootleg #27
with a red pen.
Then I threw the tape into a pile on the floor
with the other 26 and took a hammer
and smashed them to bits.
I unwound all the tape
and covered my naked body in it
like stringy afterbirth.
And I stuck my fingers through the tape spools
as if they were the axels of tiny cars
and drove them back and forth across the workbench
crashing every so often.
And the ayatollah had been ground into horse meat.
And somewhere a piano fell down stairs of imposition.
So I took a cordless drill to the drywall
which left many lines of white powder on the floor
and I snorted them up
pretending I was some Hollywood A-lister
with a dog named Rambo
who chewed up mid-east terrorists
fast as milk
not Holden Caulfield
the elders frown
they were dealing with
when thinking up
a new name
Is It Any Wonder that Freud’s Daughters
Could Never Eat a Banana without
Thinking of It?
When your father will not stop talking about dick
I imagine many things are hard.
Even from a young age.
And all those bananas from the tropics.
Something father would hate if you were
trying to rebel and your father was not
He’d probably just tell them it was
a mental predisposition
of the entire sex
and to go
Flannel, Not Seattle
Is this a shirt sleeve?
and since I was a shirt
that knew nothing of sleeves
I did not answer
and hoped for the best.
Then she buttoned me up
to the elbow
and got on the phone with
And we talked for hours
but I said nothing
because I was a
There are many children about.
Children of all ages, sizes,
Milling about in the street
while their parents
are at work.
Running in front of cars
until you hit
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle though his garbage. 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.