Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan


* Author of the Month: June 2019 *

Her Pockets Amaze Me

I think she will pull a trampoline
out of there,
not a functional trampoline perhaps,
but some jumping device of the mind
some herd of ideas lost to gallop
her freckled zig zag arms all over me
then back to those beautiful pockets
that denim warehouse of appetites
what comes next, a rainforest devoid of rain
perhaps?  long dark men at checkpoints
running machete over whetstone 
eyes bloodshot with a fresh day’s butchery
a wall of sun-bleached skulls that can’t stop
smiling at you, no, her pockets move too much
for impassive death so that I think she
might pull out all the coils from my couch
in a single delightful handful,
I have been looking for those for weeks
or maybe a barge named after the favourite
daughter of a blind shipping magnate with a curly
Greek name; surprise me I say, closing my eyes
until she is ready, my heart in my throat
beating the drums of a soaking red
imagination.



They All Dance

in that Raymond Carver story
with the drunk that has all his belongings
out on the lawn
and the young couple that come by
near dark
and try the bed out first,
the young man wanting to see if anyone is home
and the young woman telling him to always
offer $10 less for everything
and how the drunk comes out with his whiskey
and takes ten dollars less for both the bed and the television
then sits on the sofa and sells them the record player
and pours them all drinks
and puts on an old record and dances with
the young woman well into the night
before the young couple drive away with all
the man’s belongings
and somehow you know that even though
they are just starting out
they will be where the drunk is in twenty
or thirty years and that just for that one night
the old drunk has enjoyed a bit of his youth
for one last time.


About That Silly Monster Time

Mr. Marcel Proust!  If your books were any skinnier
they would be Miss Universe contestants.  Handing out
world peace like some greasy spoon turning out scrabbled
on white breakfast specials.  The sign in the window
says: Coiffure and I wonder why the French keep winning wars.
Maybe they are doing it in my sleep and their victories are
merely my dreams.  The tricolour draped over my face
like a snoring bridal veil.  And vows are a funny thing, aren’t they?
I think we enjoy the idea of permanence because our lives
are all so ephemeral.  Like water over the hands and down
down the drain where they say alligators live with sewage
workers.            
              
I don’t need a phonebook to call the cat.  He never comes anyways.
I figure he is off killing something in the dark and who am I
to interrupt a murder?  That is the job of the law.  Or the conscience.
Either will do.  I figure you have about fifteen good years left
in you before the cashiers start calling you ma’am.



He Tried to Pay for Lunch in Denarius

It’s not a far walk at all.  I do it at least three times a week.
In clothing I have picked out for the occasion.  Too young for
a walking stick and too old for some raving milk mad mother
to wheel me along. I am in the middle like a slow dance
in a crowded gymnasium.  The way Sister Ruth comes by
with the ruler to measure the distance each body must be apart.

And Roman is proud of his nose.  Believes his parents named
him after an empire and not his grandpa Roman who
always smelled of truck exhaust before he died. 
Roman touches his nose each time the waitress comes by
thinking she will she his greatness and fall in love right there
over the pastrami and pickle.

I don’t know what to tell you about the windows.
All the buildings have them.  And the delivery guy that
races around always knowing exactly where to go
even though there are no addresses.  I am much more
the tree sloth.  It could take me half a
millennia to do anything.

The librarian hates me because I know what I want.
She doesn’t get to show off and that seems to irk her.
Always raising an eye in disapproval of my choices.
I came for ideas, my dear, not a good racking.

The shops are there in case you have a hankering.
And the money of course.  Do not forget Roman
and how he tried to pay for lunch in denarius.
The walk home is best because I am alone.
Even the ridiculous bread crust pigeons
wanting nothing to do with foot traffic.


Big Screen Queen

She had her day,
I’m sure you’ve seen those
many old posters that yellow and curl
at the edges like a newborn’s fingers,
mere collector’s items now
much like our big screen queen
would be if the zoo started housing
such things, but they don’t, not yet anyways
and the posters sit behind glass
on the walls of the financially well-endowed,
there is a real temerity to the ogling
that goes on over smoky aperitifs
and our queen used to be a real looker
always heavily made up and staring off
into the distance as though there were something
just over your shoulder
but when you look, there is nothing
but careful chesterfield leggings
and a silver coaster,
surely she cannot be impressed
with that; our darling celluloid Everest
with that whisper of a voice always
inventing such fine secrets.

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