Poetry and Pictures

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Blooding the Boy

blooded face
fresh from the hunt
you are a man now
like those statues
in the town square

the fox smeared across
your face
was not wily enough

you are a man now
and his virility is

do not tell your mother
that the shot came from
a seasoned gun

for you are a man now
and lying is every bit
the tradition


I thought of the Gorgon

She had two other sisters
that lived in different cities
and I thought of the Gorgon,
of commute times and unresolved
issues over who mommy liked best,
and once on the street, strolling the avenues
I looked at the buildings
and realized everything had turned
to stone.


Set sail for Christ Church –
who cares which one,
brave the storms the same way
you endure the inner ones,
batten down the hatches
throw on a wildly ill-equipped
slicker, practice for mutiny but always
alone, follow the rats away from water,
theirs is a survivalism of traps, a stubborn
continuance of numbers old as dirt
and then some;
they will save you in a way a distress
signal will not.

Set sail for Barnacle Bay –
haemorrhoids of the sea.

When you get there
sit in harbour for three
years shooting cannon balls
at the moon.

If your aim is off you will know it.

The moon will still be there,
and the weight of anchors

Fanny Packs

of wolves
devouring the waistline
back to patient

a single
leather strap
to hold the universe

so we can sleep awhile

my arm over her middle

the curtains pulled over
and tombstone

and every bit
as dark.

The Caber Tossers

got into a tight circle
to discuss
how the competition
should go
in kilts
with the eldest one
running the caber
back up for each new attempt
after each throw

as some highlander
with a weight belt
stood behind the contestants
to make sure nothing
fell back onto the crowd
of onlookers

snapping pictures
on their camera phones
behind a rope

for one weekend
in Fergus


Buk was Right

about Fante
and his prose

read Ask the Dust
The Wine of Youth

outside of Kafka
he is the best

there is an argument to be made
for Hemingway, of course,
a strong one of personal taste
that I would not refute

or Joyce
or the Russians
or D.H. Lawrence
in love with all his

but what I like about Fante
is that he seems to be writing
about himself and for himself
at all times

showing you the battle scars
and never just the

Progress Reports Are Optional

Bring your own Botswana
bring lollygags and serendipity
I have no more outs so you may want
to get some of them
I do have insecurities, that much is covered,
slabs of stone you can carry over broken hilltops…
I have a woman who styles her hair like spaghetti,
you can bring your woman if you have one
bring moats nestling rolled crocodiles into green sleep
bring clothing so that nudity can feel ashamed of itself
progress reports are optional, there is no progress
leave Guam in the Southern hemisphere,
no one likes anything that sounds like bat shit –
bring conventional weapons if you must
rustle cattle away from the farmers and park them
in the neighbour’s driveway
bring ceramic skulls in the likeness of bog death;
so real you touch your forehead with your hand

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