Western Voices: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Peregrine Muse, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Poem for a Man Riddled with Bullets

The streets were not kind to you
just as the critics are not kind to me
and they lay a tarp over the lifeless body
as though there is some dignity to be gleaned
from such acts
as though mercy can be late to the party
and not treated as a truant; the way the inspectors
dig through your pockets looking for clues,
the hands gloved in talcum powder and the traffic
redirected to neighbouring thoroughfares

so you can lay in the middle of the road
beside an idling car with a cracked sun roof
and I can write this poem for a man riddled
with bullets, a man of colour as they say
on the news which reports from the scene
with its big dumb cameras.

500 Miles of Postcards

all laid out
in a row

like an autograph
from the familiar

anything can be
a postcard,
sent from afar
to those much

and sitting up in bed
the smile hurts her face

she feels it with her hands
to make sure it is really

the careful way he adjusts his mirrors
before pulling away from
the curb

a knife
over ripe tomatoes
before dinner

shipping crates
over open waters

or you in my arms
pecking at cheeks so red
you know I’ve been

Where the Filibusters Roam

We are all hunters in our way
never once a gun in these receptive hands
blue veins wound ‘round red knuckle
as though binding a single brown fencepost
in chicken wire
arms outstretched, cracking elbows
where the filibusters roam,
coffee with a friend who hiccups
when they are nervous,
starts books they never intend to finish
which aggravates everyone but the author
who is now dust on the road
and my lips dry and crack and weep,
it is blood sacrifice all over again
it is the heart cut out and revered
like a first edition anything;
something scrawled on the flyleaf,
looks like a recipe for mushroom

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