My World and Words

An Uneasy Balancing Act – Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Writing for me has always been an uneasy balancing act between escape and hard reality.  I prefer writing or poems that contain strange ideas or turns of phrase while trying to still express something deeply relatable and real.  Almost always with a dash of humour.  Humour has always been important to me as both a tool of sarcasm and as something to preserve in the face of a world that often does not seem too funny to experience each day.

I started writing poems when I was ten.  I found the local newspaper boring so I made many copies of my own, with its own made up stories and accompanying drawings which I thought people might enjoy more, and I stuck them in all the neighbours’ mailboxes religiously so they would have something more imaginative to read.  I guess that compulsion to write and create has never really left me.

Tower of Hawks

The ghost of his feet climbed the stone tower
so he could gaze upon the restless eye of the sea
the edges of rock things that made themselves known
then disappeared just as quickly
and the thriving star armies cloistered above
that extended outward from Carmel in that
dizzying light frenzy of dense Una clusters
so that when the invading day returned
the horizon was conquered again by silent circling
wings outstretched
and a simple shimmering brutality
of beak and sun
and talon.

Growing up in a small redneck town in Southern Ontario, Canada there was no arts scene.  Then I lived in Toronto for a time working various menial labour jobs.  I was writing at the time, but kept it to myself.  I never submitted it anywhere or showed it to anyone.  It was just for me and I liked that.  It was not until university and after that I was able to find out about a lot of art that I had never been exposed to before.  I spent my days in classes and my nights in the library getting my real education.  It is all such a large part of me now, that I can’t really imagine myself without it.  Franz Kafka stories are my favourite in terms of prose, they are so wildly creative.  Other favourite authors/poets include:  James Joyce, William Blake, Richard Brautigan, Charles Bukowski, e.e. Cummings, John Fante, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Leonard Cohen, Basho, Al Purdy, Dostoevsky, early Ginsberg etc.

Medical Alert Bracelet

She had one those bracelets around her wrist
with a number to call if something happened
and she told me that scared many men away,
that it was hard enough to get a man to commit
to damn near anything, let alone a possible
medical emergency.

And it was hard to blame them.
I couldn’t stop looking at her wrist.

She said she’d had the bracelet since she was a child
and that she had to keep getting new ones
as she grew.

Suddenly I thought of bloating,
compression socks on airplanes.

And she looked just like old men lawn bowling
in checkered shorts
even though she was barely

About a decade ago my partner and I relocated up to Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada for her nursing job.  She was recruited out of school.  We live in a small town of about 9000 people cut right out of the Canadian wilderness.  Bears walk down the streets and the police shoot off bear bangers to scare them back into the forest.  Half the year it is winter here, and it gets so cold that people have to plug their cars into their houses to have them start in the morning so they can get to work.  Our first winter here there was 14 feet of snow.  I find that I write a lot more during the winter to combat cabin fever and keep from going stir crazy.

In 2012 I was hospitalized for mental illness.  I spent a year after that as an outpatient and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, and a germaphobe-based OCD.  Whereas writing was more enjoyable when I was starting out, the mechanism is now a lot more therapeutic.  I take comfort in writing and being able to create.

Double Down

deforestation –
I don’t think I have lost that much hair
over the last calendar year,
hardly enough to call in the environmental
protection agency, those boys are ninnies
with burnt toast in their pockets,
finding god in the sports illustrated swimsuit issue
and worshipping that.

No, I think I’ll wait this one out.
Double down on myself like a straight up

We all have our small time here
and I plan to make the most
of mine.
Since 2014 I have been submitting my work in earnest.  I have published 26 books, 3 chapbooks, and four collaborations to date.  My wife and I recently got married in Las Vegas.  I write whenever I can, still searching for that golden string of lines.  My personal website is:
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Literary Yard, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.