Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan


If I were patriotic
I would wave a flag in the wind
and the flag would think it was dying
in a tornado
as I waved it all around
because I was so damn patriotic.

Four Smiles and a Net of Onions

There have been four smiles today, I counted them,
one face smiling twice but such inaccuracies hardly count
when you have never really concerned yourself
with the accuracy and there I am surveying the gnarled fiefdom,
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818,
willful malcontented hair standing on the incline;
four smiles and a net of onions, cooking onions,
I picked them myself, no green roots of spouting just yet,
the yellow netting torn in a single place so robust cracking hands
can grab at the prize, fingers fashioned into a duck’s bill
and hands rounded at the knuckles to fit;  yes, I believe
there have been four smiles and three faces, I counted them,
a rarity in such harping equestrian times, people saddled with
the foils of other people and made to ride off into unhappy sunsets,
blaming and judging and folded up in dark corners,
the blush of red lipstick against a face
you no longer recognize.

As the Slugs in the Yard Flaunt Their Sluggery 

Remember when flight schools were looking for terrorists
as much as pilots?

That was a very strange time.
And how box cutters were the banned weapon of choice
even though I used one for work every night.

We all had box cutters and no one panicked.
We just opened the boxes and stocked the shelves.
Taking an extra-long lunch when we could.

I don’t know what everyone is supposed to be afraid of now.
I never liked large crowds, but that’s more of a personal thing.

But you know there has to be something.
If you’re not busy being afraid you might become
something resembling half-happy.

I have that box cutter laying around here somewhere.
And my nametag that I had to run through the punch clock
many times each shift.

And this bum wrist, an old work injury.

My knees knocking together
as I walk too close
to myself.

Blast Femur

I’ve drunk so much wine,
the grapes of wrath
will have their way with me.

No leg to stand on.

No god
far as anyone
can tell.

Just this bottle,
this goblet.

And the hangover from hell
that I know is coming.

The lights turned off
and most the known
world too.

Zapple with Corn

I love how the Beetles signed
Richard Brautigan to their
experimental poetry label Zapple
and how he recorded his breakfast
in real time, his love of instant coffee
with a friend over and how they should splurge
for real coffee and when some strange woman gets up
in the middle of it all and agrees that they should have steak
and a “special” vegetable as corn
and how he ever got the Brits
to foot the bill as he discussed what
he wanted for dinner
that night.

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