Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Just Enough Time

My friend Curtis lived right next to our public school
and his mother was divorced and always working
and his sister was in high school and went wherever her boyfriend went,
so we had the place to ourselves, all those lunches,
and he would make us Kraft Dinner, 
a little runny like we preferred it 
and we would watch back-to-back episodes of The Flintstones, 
having to leave during the last five minutes 
of the second episode to make the bell
back to class 

and he said he never knew his father
and I told him how I wished I didn’t 
know mine, 

but I never told him how hot his sister was
because friends don’t do that, 
even though he must have known.

Invisible Tape

Giant cymbals crash together 
when I shimmy across the floor,
wool sock puppets on hands  
announcing the birth of a new 
form of motion,
old Chuckie Yeager breaking yokes 
for the early morning breakfast lobby,   
rolls of Scotch Tape celebratory and visible,
the same way a young child will cover their eyes
with their hands 
believing you cannot see 


He had all these bird calls,
so I kept my distance.

All these hand-to-mouth tricks 
that came out in different octaves
as though metallurgy was old hat 
and the witch trials were hanging 
all the wrong charlatans. 

And once when we were drunk on beer,
I told him that if he had a job, he’d be a whistleblower.
Just like one of those fancy Nancys on the news each night
who blow a hole wide open in the side of the hull of everything 
and watch it sink from a safe distance away.

And raising hands to mouth, 
he called some birds over to perch
on the neighbouring trees.

And I thought of poor old Tippi Hedren 
getting her eyes pecked out 
all over again.

Antique Shopping

She tells me I am not getting any younger
even though I am a full year her junior.
I decide to let such things as fact fall by the wayside 
which is what a man must do if he wants to avoid headaches.

With my fingers,
I run her hair behind her ears, 
tell her she has the milk-white tits of a Penthouse centerfold,  
just like the first time I sucked 
on them.  

She seems to like that as most any woman would.
To be desired.

You’re still not getting any younger, she giggles 
after some moments of French kissing.

I push her face away 
with the palm of my hand
and she loves that 
most of all.

Archival Footage

of the Chicago World’s Fair
on PBS
and I find myself pouring over the gathered crowds
wondering which of them decided to stay 
at 601-603 West 63rd Street
with H.H. Holmes in his hotel of horrors 
and never came back.

Now that’s a real odd fellow,
let me tell you.

Enterprising as only an American can be.

Even polishing and selling off the skeletons of the deceased
to the schools of medicine for a profit.

But there are always concerns more present.
The dead making way for the living.

An expired bus pass 
you hope the rush hour driver is too busy
to notice.

A humming refrigerator on the fritz.

Nothing to drink 
when you want to get drunk 
and nothing else.

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