Poetry by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
They said some nice things

about the body in the casket
stiff, like how you remember your grandparents,
even in life;
the persistent reassuring way their necks never seemed
to turn, as though they had been cut from marble
and left for statues

virtuous because the young do not understand
the bedroom, and the old run from it
like a schoolyard bully concocted of tongues
and pillows

and no one had anything bad to say
because it was not right for
such occasions

taking turns sharing their stories

the priest with more of a say than most
because he held the keys to the

and when they were done
a long line formed to walk by the casket
with all those stories fresh
in their heads;

everyone knowing the man,
and never the grave.

The Red Queen

could not be seen
all at once
because it was said
her beauty would
be too great
as to blind any

and when I put her
on the front of my book
I had you in mind

that clumsy mudslide way
you ogle everything
into easy pocket change

and how
you would scream
when your eyes were cut
from your head

and lead away
in a beverage cooler
over many time zones
on ice

by the trigger men

of modern

Equine to the Nines

I had crossed into the old city
skipping rocks over chipped cobblestone
and the jazz from inside the club
made me stop and listen with tired ears
that had not eaten in three days
and the sound my belly made
was the sound of the poor,
some deep unruly grumbling
under shirt,
and I decided to group it in with
the percussion section and then
I felt a little better,
watching the horse drawn carriages
shit in the street
as the young lovers that sat behind it
enjoyed the sights and ignored
the smell.

Dreary Fox

Dreary fox
your stockingless leg marvels
no longer bend at
the knee

denizens of the bad beer
down throaty smoke-charmed

and there was a time when I pretended
to know you
like those cards that come with a new wallet
and you don’t throw them out,
they are alien to you and still somehow part
of the daily working paradigm
the same way eyebrows can be plucked
like the strings of a guitar

for a song
that with crush you
with its catchy trash compactor