Faye Wray and a Washerwoman Named Argento
What is more likely: Faye Wray falls in love with her giant hairy captor
at altitude or that Ponzi schemers show remorse and trickle down
economics becomes more than a urine puck aperitif?
And lumbering from the icebox to the mailbox this morning,
I thought about how many stunt men had died
during the moon landing. Why humans abducted sour
milk carton children and aliens abduct everyone else.
Soon there would be no one left but the aliens
and parking enforcement.
And a washerwoman named Argento
or Felicity or after some little known element
from the periodic table. With buck teeth that make
her smile look like a front door. Solid oak if you
Ulysses needed a travel agent and Alexander
should have never gone to India. Elephants should
live far away like postcards. And I could tell them both this,
but they would call me a shut-in and they wouldn’t
The closer anyone gets, the farther away
you travel from yourself.
No Hands on Deck
I can see where things are going.
I have a telescope and a mailman who is a drunk.
When we meet in the hall it is no hands on deck.
I carrying a basket of dirty laundry and him seeing
three of me, one day we talked about caterpillar infestations
and how they can strip entire oak trees in a matter of weeks.
I guess he is one of those social drunks and I try to be
accommodating, plus I wanted to know how things ended
for the caterpillars so I stuck around for the finale; they flourished and I
went home happy even though I am pretty sure that
was not the point of the story.
in the next apartment
I imagine us all out on a boat
struggling to haul in a fish
we will still be talking about
twenty years from now.
In love with the open water
more than anything else.
Each of us posing the life out
of our scaly beautiful fish.
Kissing it on the death lips
for our friends.
Our television laughter
The prison shank horizon
spilling its red raw guts over
Poem for a Woman Who Stands in Elevators
Waiting for the Bottom to Drop Out
I hear there have been three husbands.
One called you “a runner” in court documents.
And the way you feed your children oatmeal
as if you live on the prairies. Tin foil over the
windows like gastronomical curtains. This poem
is for you. A poem for a woman who stands in elevators
waiting for the bottom to drop out. Refusing to make
eye contact. Blinking rapidly as more riders get on
with each floor. Flicking your tongue out like a salamander
from under hard light. Holding your breath until we hit
the lobby. Rushing past everyone out the sliding door
as though at least one of your husbands may have
I have grown a beard.
The only thing left to do now
is sit around and wait for it
Then I can give Tolstoy
a run for his rubles.
Eating enough of my own hair
to become a personal food
Sense of Belongings
It is a leftover
from one of those ones
that pass through
your life quick as
a Magic 8-ball
propping up my Paul Auster
and A History of General
Motors Before the
beside this Rubix’s Cube
I pulled all the stickers off
of and used as book
and my Motorhead records
all scratched to
A Plant to Sit in the Window
He said he couldn’t stop watching the rain
after his boyfriend left him.
I bought him a plant to sit in the window
with him and he thanked me,
but he threw it out.
It wasn’t even good enough for
the back of the toilet.
I guess he wanted to be alone.
And even a plant in the window
was too much.
I have always been horrible with such things.
I drink and smoke and people watch.
Jotting things down in a tiny notebook
like some buttery movie house neanderthal.
Lurching through cavernous neon lobbies
with ridiculous glass ceilings.
Through parking lots
that may as well be the insurance
companies in waiting.
I haven’t driven in years,
but I could park a Spanish galleon
between two toothpicks.
should be good
at many things it is not
and that is what makes it
I am the repo man’s gangly storage garage.
I am a zoo animal without escape money.
I am walking past the bail bond place
in an army surplus coat with my hands
in my pockets like a surprise birthday
in the graveyard of
the way I feel now
is how I will always
close the airspace
eliminate the gaps
whittle YMCA showers down to
a single chlorinated
I am cigarette breath
I am haemorrhoids in an Olympic year
the rumble of my stomach
under ribs already
Lick Her Neck
You lick her neck
like an idiot
and she says she’s
which could be true
except you will never
know one way or
because you sat in the dark
and licked her neck
who the hell does that,
I have to ask.
LeBron James Missed a Dunk
and You’d Think It Was the End
of the World
The apocalypsers are always at it. Ever since the 2000 scare fell though and they felt the need to drum up interest. The computers didn’t do shit. They turned on just like the day before and downloaded unimaginable amounts of porn. So the doom and gloomers turned to the anti-Christ. If he wasn’t here yet, he was coming. Like a dinner guest who never actually said they would be there for sure. They were likely just being polite. But the dead get brought back to life all the time. That seems to be the only real business of the living. The rest is lazy hand jobs and bank statements and hotdogs out of wedlock because you are ten years old with a fondness for pickle relish. But the tinfoil army will look for any in. Just the other night LeBron James missed a dunk and you’d think it was the end of the world. Elvis sightings spiked, never with Pricilla. Always with Ann Margaret because even the crazies can separate the peanut butter from the jam. And flying the Lisa Marie right into the face of popular opinion, I said the Western Conference was sitting atop an earthquake of overconfidence. And I felt bad for Bean Town. Even if the Celtics won in the East, it was the luck of the Irish. Sure they had the Pats and the Sox, but you get greedy. The same way the end of worlders can’t stop foreclosing on everything. Urban blighting their way to rural drought. Failed crops like looking at your tenth grade report card and trying to figure out how to tell your parents. But it is never as bad as it seems. That is what the doomers and gloomers could never understand. King James missed a dunk. But he scored a triple double and won the game, so stick that in your Book of Revelation and smoke it.
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.