Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

“Those That Play Together, Stay Together”


She smiled

and told me that

those that play

together, stay together

and I told her that

wasn’t true,

that popular sports

teams traded away

players all the


some do to age

or injury

or decreased


or even locker

room chemistry

but they traded them

all the same,

and she pulled away

and said she was

just trying to be


which is why

I told her I had

no plans to trade


even though

we were in a




The Queen is On Your Money


We are sitting in that uncomfortable way

that men used to standing

for long hours do


and he says: you have a queen,

the queen is on your money


and I tell him that the only queens

I admire are the drags down at Spinoza’s

that pull off a convincing Cher


and he laughs

and asks why I still going to those

fruit joints


and I tell him I have always admired

a man who can keep his legs shaved,

that they seem purposeful and alive,

I can’t even keep my own face shaved


and he takes out a crumbled bill

as tells me I have to get some real money

with a face like this on it


and I ask him when the greenback

has finally settled on Max Headroom

for their monetary likeness.


Poem for a Child that Has Yet to be Persuaded


A child

can still dream.



is the lost war

for that dream.


A capitulation.


A blind acceptance

that what has come before

is good enough,

and what could have



too painful to ever




The Tree in the Front Yard


It was our second place on Bernick Drive.

We had just moved to a house on the same street.

And there was this leafy green tree in the front yard

that my parents seemed proud of.

They watered it, although they had never even kept

a garden, and I was not allowed to climb it.

I did once and caught quite the thrashing.

The tree is too small!, my father would yell.

And in the front yard, we don’t want our neighbours

thinking we are THOSE kind of people!, my mother

would say.

I didn’t know who those people were, but we didn’t

want to be it.


The tree out back was all mine.

Rotting near the fence with giant white

tent caterpillar nests all through it.

I had to watch where I put my hands

when climbing.


Each August, my father would light

all the nests on fire and watch the caterpillars

catch fire and fall to their deaths.

Then he would take a fire extinguisher

to the yard and tell me not to climb

that tree either.


Deadbeat Don


has kids

with three different


and he supports

none of them

hiding his money

putting everything in

his girlfriend’s name

and only taking jobs

that pay under

the table

so that his wages

won’t be garnisheed

and he can appear

unemployed to

the taxman


and each year

his girlfriend

and him vacation

in Florida,

she has a good job

and knows the


so that their drinks

and meals and gas

are write-offs

she gets back

in tax



said the world

is fair

must have been talking

about someplace


‘cause this one

is a real humdinger

and Deadbeat Don

takes the cake.



Ha Ha Pavement


There are no jumpers to speak of

just ha ha pavement

with ruts all through it


and the way I point

and laugh


so that others avoid me

in the street


and it is nice to be all alone


I have always thought well of tumbleweeds

that lead to celluloid shootings


the absent way they carry themselves

never pretending to run the show


like craft services with all their tiny

triangle sandwiches


no jumpers,

the street cleaners

will be happy


just foot traffic

and an open air space


and 3 for 1 shirts

from the head shop

that always smells.



“Open for Beeswax”



was this guy I knew

from back in high school

with long buck teeth

and straw flat hair that

always looked as though

a farm thresher had

just been run over

his head

and since neither

of us aged gracefully

we could sort of

understand each other

except for his constant need

to troll the bars

well past his prime

looking for younger girls

and the ridiculous way

he would run his fingers

across his chest

and say:

“open for beeswax”

whenever I asked him

how things were



I guess he thought

he was being funny

but some girl’s boyfriend

did not agree

and the doctors wired

his jaw shut for a good

five months


and then he went

down south for



and this old couple moved

into his place

and took turns dying


so that the house sits

empty now


with a large bay window

in front

where Greg’s Siamese cat

used to sit all day


mean mugging

the half the known



Car Bomb


That car bomb

was not meant

for you



it is back

to the drawing



the funeral just symbolic


there is no way to fill

a casket with anything

but bloody rocks


please understand

that your wife and offspring

must be killed



we must rise above

personal vendetta


you should have never

taken those keys

and started that



such indignities

were never meant

for you.





transformation, you say,

but is beauty assured?


in the eye of the eye, you say

I do not believe you


I believe less and less all the time,

I’m like the inquisition on steroids


not that your truth is any less,

but more that my lies have surpassed

mere hobbies


the growth you champion is cloistered

and pink and bulbous


wings at busy airports

devoid of plane


a rash for which there are creams


beauty, you say,

lost to itch and scratch

and buzzing


I cannot believe

I am lost to time.



Dinosaurs Left the Earth


Dinosaurs left the earth

nothing in the dirt


from flinging fortress


all man is pissed

almond be rinsed


come singing madras


my dress

my mess


all man is pissed

under ground more



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.