Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Stockholm Syndrome Never Left Sweden

it is a curious creeper
when you can only remember
the things you don’t
want to

the birdman of Alcatraz
laying an egg
in the model inmate

Stockholm syndrome
never left Sweden

Busgy Siegel riddled
with bullets like a shooting range
in a thousand dollar suit

and those many “Can’t Even”
novelty coffee mugs in the store
that are large enough to hold
half the Spanish

the way a baseball
through a window is
never a homerun

and sitting up in bed
this morning 
I thought about Robert Johnson’s
guitar in an old tin shack
I have never met

and how the moon could be
heavyweight champ of the world
if its light hits anything
just right

or how
is the art
of pulling dreams
out of the air
and making them
your own.


My wife gets back
with an ice coffee from
the McDonalds drive-thru
and tells me they are now
charging you for flavour.

She says you can get plain
or pay 40 cents extra
for them to add flavour.

I think she is kidding at first.
She tells me she is not kidding.

Imagine if restaurants did that,
I say,            
here’s your meal, but it will
cost extra is you want it to taste
like something.

She laughs
and tells me I take everything
too far.

I tell her nothing is taken far enough.

That the road crew filling potholes
down the 108 will probably stop
halfway through just to prove
my point.

What do you want for dinner tonight?
she asks.

Hopefully something with flavour,
I say.

That’ll cost ya,
she laughs.
Don’t I know it.

Bouncing Brothers

My grandpa on my father’s side
came from poor Irish potato farmers
and in his early twenties he landed a job
as a bouncer at this dive and his two older brothers
would come in get drunk and make trouble
so that my grandpa had to bounce his own
brothers, and this would happen on an almost
weekly basis which seems quite strange to me,
but apparently there were no problems
between the brothers, it was just what needed
to happen at that time.  And later, my grandpa got
a job as bus driver.  By the time I was born, he was
no longer a bus driver.  He was just my grandpa until
he died of emphysema.  I remember sitting on the floor
in front of him hearing the suctioning of fluid.  Watching
the FA cup final between Liverpool and Manchester United
on the television.  Too afraid to turn around
and see all those tubes and machines
and terrifying sounds.

Double Parked Seagull

I am driving back into town
past the Hillside Walk-in Clinic
when I spot this overstuffed seagull
sitting in an otherwise vacant
parking lot.

He is double parked.
Spilling over the yellow line.
Taking up two spaces with
his sheer size.

His eyes are a devilish red.
Staring straight ahead.
Never once deviating.

I search where he is looking.
There is nothing.
This bird is a stoic, I think
to myself.

He has one hell of a
poker face.

When I pull into my drive
the front light is still on
from the night before.

I welcome the sun
on my arms
for some minutes
before walking

Garbo Speaks

Those papers on the racks with their many stories
and the newsman who is happy to take your money,
but depressed about everything else
his moustache thick as a mop and half as useful
taking up residence on his face, seemingly unconcerned
about property tax, the gentrification of the homeless
into near competent coffee baristas with fancy baby book names
and the uniforms they sport like corporate skins
hides that once provided warmth now with functional
name tag fixtures; the Scandinavians would be pleased
if for no other reason than that they are allowed
to leave Scandinavia: Garbo speaks
and her voice is that of a disgruntled newsman,
I imagine him at home with clingy children attached to each leg
like snotty shin guards, unable to forget their names
because he has bequeathed them,
and when it rains the papers get wet
the ink running down the pages so that all

the stories bleed into one.

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