Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan



They probably have a dossier on you,

he told me,

they start with your high school record,

maybe earlier.


I told him I did not spend a lot of time at high school

so they might have a tough time.


They got everything, he screamed, EVERYTHING!

Everything you have ever thought, felt, done is in there.



I’d like to read that,

I said,

how can I get in touch

with them?


They get in touch with you, he warned,

and you DON’T want that.


That was the great thing about hanging around

paranoid personalities,

nary a dull moment.


Especially when he was off his meds.


I’ve seen tornadoes with more sense,

though most of windy Kansas would likely



Coffee Mug


She has called in sick

and is feeling



Don’t worry, I say,

they will just replace you

as though you were never even there.

Like those ones that give them forty years

and get a coffee mug in return.

They are replaced and forgotten

by Monday morning.


And she gets mad at me.

But she is smart enough to know

she is just mad at herself

for feeling guilty.


That is what I like about this one.

And her legs that seem to go

on forever.


The hours we spend in bed

are just a reminder.



“to hell and back”


to hell and back, they say it

all the time, those that know nothing

of a hell –

personal or otherwise,

but they say it to each other

to imply some guarded wisdom

that has been gleaned,

some cathartic little turnpike

in the concrete sinkhole;

to hell and back,


no need for a travel



I do not believe them

just as I do not believe you



There are cherries for the orchard

and then there are cherries.


I make jam of them



Old Married Couple


Coming out of the bathroom

I trip over the cat

in the dark.


Who scratches my foot

and draws blood.


Racing off under the table

and licking at his paws

as I curse at him.


And this is how we live.

Like an old married couple.


Keeping our distance

and trying to make the best

of it.


Eating by ourselves

and sleeping by ourselves.


I still have the opposable thumbs,

so I hold the key to

the city.


Blue Shirt Poem


Get at it resident



wine soaked conduit

blue shirt


pull at notion hairs

from the head


cradle Hammurabi


water through fingers

fingers through



waves all around


our everlasting




Condo Fees



for what?


Get a lot of snow on the 27th floor

do you?


Last time I checked

the weight room was one large pink yoga mat

of downward facing dogs

on a ten day detox.


And the pool

was being shocked

because there are young children

and diapers are

not enough.


$40, 000 a year for a parking space.

Does that seem reasonable to anyone?


There is a sucker born every minute

according to P.T. Barnum

and they have all decided to live

in condos.





They just held the first ever bareknuckle boxing

event on PPV this past weekend.


$29.99, most affordable.

Legal in the state of Wyoming.


A few familiar names on the card.

Big show washouts looking for a payday.


And somehow I wish it was still underground.

The way they started and never advertised.

In factories or shipping yards

or back alleys without

a referee.


Before the big money arrives.

Corrupting everything.


The moment you punch someone

else in the face for money

with sponsors on your shorts

you become a commodity,

no different than a Starbucks



You can advertise,

but you are the product.


The thing

others make money on

for doing nothing.


The President of Tree Nuts


walks across the floor

over the seal


a cracked walnut,

it is meant to be



but he doesn’t

see it


signing stainless steel appliances

out of law

because robotics has no place

in the kitchen


and the future is female

and free before




Money Loves Company


don’t tell me

you wouldn’t spend



if you had it,

but you



we’ve all seen those pictures

in the vault


many rich men

with no way to

spend it


going offshore

frequenting the laundromats

of all their buttoned-down

powerful friends


on the hill


as though Jack

and Jill

had never been



to begin with


and only the shit

rolls down.


Winter Reveal


You paid what for a New York studio?

I guess it is good to be close to the action.

To try wrestle the five boroughs away

from the New York mob one painting

at a time.


The others didn’t have it.

Maybe you do.

Perhaps there is a new way to

shuffle hand soap.


I wouldn’t drive either

when you can hop in a cab

and go nowhere just

the same.


I heard you got your own show

next February.


At this gallery where some

famous fashion designer

hung them



Much the conversation piece

I’d imagine.


Out with the old, right?

Over an earthy white Bordeaux.


I am certain I can’t make the winter reveal.

There is this health scare that must be dealt with.


Nothing serious.

Not at all like your newest works.


I can almost smell the bullshit on your breath.

Let’s hope it sells.


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.