Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Snipers on the Roof like Angry Pigeons


Another terror threat

in the city


come down

from the politicos

at Queen’s Park


and it’s snipers on the roof

like angry pigeons


seizing the high ground

like Clausewitz once



catching the snazzy dinner crowd

in the scope


and when I wave to them,

no one waves back


Quite rude,

I say,

I’m not mounting the curb

and driving a car into



Stop waving at them,

she yells.

They’ll probably shoot you

in all the panic.


And back

at the hotel

I climb out onto the

16th floor lookout

beside the exercise room

full of sweaty treadmills

and keep waving.


With a liquor store tall can

raised to mouth.


I can feel them

all ignoring me now.


The whole of the rapid

response team.


As I take off my shirt

and try to lick my own nipples.


Half expecting a bullet

above the kneecap

for all my trouble.


Base Jumpers


It is hard to get all the gear up to the top.

You have to be stealthy to get by building security.

Buildings still under construction are the easiest.

There is limited security and often large unfinished floors

to jump from.


But altitude is what matters.

A GoPro cam strapped to the head in the downtown core.

Teams of three or four jumping off into the night.

Weaving their way around the many steel glass towers

of the financial district.


Starting to load up as soon as the feet meet pavement.

The parachute is hardest to reign in.

Packing everything into the back of an SUV.

Laughing because it is illegal and there is adrenalin.


The cops could come at any time.





We are back in the city.

At a liquor store in the mall underground.

With a guard by the door in a bulletproof vest

and instructions by the cash about all the exits

in case of a bomb attack.


Seems someone still sleeps

with the night light on,

I say.


The missus elbows me

as some victim in waiting

rings everything



I can see it in her face.

That she is just waiting for a reason to cry.


And they have some old timer

there to bag everything.


Another pair of eyes for shoplifters,

I say.


The missus elbows me again.


I am starting to think she can’t control it.

That there is some condition that makes you keep

elbowing your loved one whenever

they speak the truth.


The girl in line behind us is hardly legal.

But I am no rat.

I hope everyone gets away with everything

so that laws become as useless as toothpicks

never seen from space.

Coyotes in the Stage Show


I guess guitars

were not enough.


Drums and bass

and vocals.


That shitty PA

you borrowed from the closer

with bad teeth

and the bartender taking

his skim from the nightly



so these gimmick whores

can lead two coyotes out on a chain

with as many girls


in silver thigh high




it will make their

show better somehow


all the roadies

under the houselights






The Primordial Soup Comes in a Can with Diced

Bits of Carrot


The readers of sheet music confound me.

Sure the earth was formed, but what then?

The primordial soup comes in a can with diced bits of carrot.

Orange like the setting sun.


I don’t make the rules and I hardly

follow them either.


There is this woman with broken bra wires

because of the weight

that does reverse checkmarks

on everything,

a real troubadour.


Her stubborn left-handedness

bothers everyone.


And today at the cannery

I wondered why John Steinbeck

never lost his job.


The men that spilled out onto the street

were sardines in ill-fitting wife beaters.


Sniffing out the bar

like bloodhounds back to

the bad beer.


And games of darts

for failing eyes.


That woman

and her many silly



The way I blow over my soup spoon

like a wind storm the weather channel

cannot stop talking about.


Downed powerlines and trees.

Could be a couple days.

The grocer’s raided of clean

drinking water.


Don’t panic.

The running of the bulls

only happens in dusty



People that pet rats instead of lovers

confuse me.


Waiting shoes by the door

I understand.






is covered in ice

so why the hell should

I believe anything

from left field?


Throw a curve ball

and the strength behind it

is the angle.


Some off speed lie

the fastball straight down

the pipe sets you

up for.


This is why I hate professional sports.


Besides the fact that they pay

complete assholes hundreds of millions of dollars

to stand around in uniforms

and everyone is on performance

enhancing drugs.


Point shaving

even back to college

once those organized crimers

get their hooks in.


I’d rather sit at home

and read the Harvard

out of E.E. Cummings.


Blow it all up

and begin again.



French Kiss


I am already drunk

and in the pool

trying to get her to come in,

but she is worried about

the levels of chlorine

and skin breakouts

she has had in the past


and I do a little dance

promise her that if she ventures

into the deep end with me

we can French Kiss

for four whole minutes,

reintroduce the tongue

and everything.


You just mean we can kiss

someone French,

I know you.


She does

and I spin around

in circles trying to go fast

enough that no one

cares about either

of us


or the tornado

I have made at half

past seven


on camera


with my shirt




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.