Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

How Lovers Becomes Informants

I saw you through window reflection
I saw you scampering along like a bushel
of unweaned miseries
your greasy mud flap hair dragging behind you
so hot that I never once imagined the Tower of London,
the ludicrous way the cars stopped in front of each other
and sat on their horns, chubby chaos pigeons shitting all over
the backs of tiny manic legs…
I saw Interpol nab your preening lunch hour affections
drag you into the back of an unmarked van
and skid away;        
your mouth has been extradited,
the oath you swore was to her talents
and your appetite, the beds you shared
so numerous poor housekeeping
will never be finished.

Poem for a Woman Who Wears Gasmasks Instead of Brooches

Her parents used to collect them after the war
even though they had missed the Blitz,
kept them in the attic with old mousetraps
and other curiosities, and when the father died
mother made all the mourners wear gasmasks
to the funeral, and everyone obliged, placating the
grieving widow because that is what you do,
and when it was her time, her only daughter was instructed
to bury her in her favourite one; encrusted with her birthstone,
and now that daughter is a woman herself
she works as a fetish model sporting…you guessed it;
there is some serious coin in the gasmask fetish market
I am told, by this woman who wears gasmasks instead
of brooches; makes at least four times as much as I do
when employed, posing for pictures in various run down
locations so the freaks can get their jollies to a face
only the War Ministry could love.

Another Night with Crucible

metallurgy was careful to never attract attention
I must be careful too
standing over these high temperatures
another night with crucible
the hair on my chest more man than boy
it is when you howl for mercy that the wolves arrive
in hunched stalking numbers you can never equal
you see, the dark is your friend whether
you like it or not
15th century gargoyles for shoulders
you have always been last pick in gym
and first for the gallows
to know your place is not to accept it,
but rather as a matter of survival…
these desires that boil up out of me
what a mess I have made of everything
but myself; the skin just falling away
so I can know the pain is real.

Bugsy Siegel Statue at the Flamingo

They really don’t want you to find the damn thing.
And it is more of a plaque than a statue.
Hidden away behind some bushes near the chapel.
Commemorating a history it appears modern times
would much rather forget.  Which is a shame.
The Flamingo has quite a history.  But I guess when you
want to appear legit, the last thing you want to do
is remind everyone of your mob history.  Which
seems a little silly to me.  It’s Sin City, right?
But they hide the damn thing away.
And after our free buffet, my wife and I walk past
the live flamingos being fed and other birds
up the hidden path until we arrive.  There are
no markers.  She needs her phone to find it. 
Just a single plaque, that’s all Bugsy gets.
Hell, Carrot Top has billboards up everywhere 
and he sucks more than straws.  But poor old
Bugsy can’t get no love.


He tells me it is a different part of the world
and right away I want to know about it:
the medicines they employ for various ailments
how they deal with dirty dishes
why their soil is red as sacrificial blood?

And his hand grips my shoulder,
even though I am much taller,
through many layers and he tells me
about this play he’s been working on that has found
the page but not any actors.

And he asks what I have been working on
and I say myself and he laughs even though
I am being serious.

And I ask him more about all those people
so far away that I can’t touch.

I am in love again with
the unimaginable.

1 comment :

  1. These are great, Ryan! I love the titles of the first two poems.


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।