Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Why Philosopher’s Don’t Require Search Warrants


I watch them take down another tent city,

from the safety of friendlier windows,

no one has an infinite ceiling to climb toward

like some determined arachnid on

the spindly-long bucket list


aching brain bleed cribbage mind out-thinking itself

which is why I curl up with many balls of yarn,

why philosophers don’t require search warrants,


and with an opinion instead of an view,

I get to thinking about how Goya’s Colossus puts Lady Liberty to shame,

almost swallowing the entire skyline as his later Saturn

did his children


and these tight checkered past pants I wear

out to a market of over-ripe cantaloupes

are a personal sacrament,


that strobe-cackled way Phyllis Diller told jokes

with all those wild clothes on,

like some disastrously beautiful surprise party

that had imploded on itself


Brando loathing Chaplin as a director

for all his long silences

and everyone else hating Brando

for all that sudden noise

coming from the Hollywood Hills,


it’s the newly puritanical going to bed

with their Spring water,

that guilty way I scratch behind my ears


blow my nose and look for survivors,

so compassionate these days that I could

be on a search team or a member of a book club

that meets twice a month


to drink too much wine

and talk shit about our husbands

and kids


while Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea

gets wider all the time,

growing to a chasm of humanity really,


and Paul Gauguin

dies of painting as much

as syphilis.



Everyone is a Snitch at Sing Sing


It seems to me that the Department of Corrections

is making assumptions when you name a prison that,

everyone is a snitch Sing Sing, how could they not be?

unless it is meant to be ironical, but these prison

types don’t always seem imbued with the best of humours

which leads me to assume the former


as the warden of my cat grants visitation rights

to the foolish house mouse,

knocks over all my papers so that

the building of the pyramids must start

all over again


and this letter opener way I run my knuckles across my eyes

after a long day

which is not to blame the day for wanting to

stick around; if there must be an indictment,

then this has become one of the Self


removing greedy batteries from squeamish fire alarms,

a bushel of dandruff from great unwashed heads…


someone get me an updated map of Europe,

I hear Germany is on the move again.



The Punch Clock Having Nothing to do with Boxing Even though it is Always a Fight


Lithuania is waning,

I’ve seen the same reports you have,

they must have a leak somewhere in the national fabric,

those vampires from payroll always syphoning

a little off the top before taxes,

the punch clock having nothing to do with boxing

even though it is always a fight;

I just want to sit in cigarette stairwells

watching the nicotine swirl around, cluster cloud

and dissipate…


Who wants a good book?

Villains are always more interesting.

It must be all that dirt under the nails.

The constant miscues that don’t even try to be perfect.



‘This shadow sitting in near dark’


This shadow sitting in near dark,

the murder moors all those silly black

press clippings away,

and I roll up an old tv guide,

slam another fly back down into

the waiting 200 eyes for pennies afterlife,

the middle of this blue garage sale housecoat

open so that I can still put myself out

there in a physical sense,

dangle like some forgotten door knocker

around food that almost fries itself,

dredge holiday lakes of all their orange

family water-winged laughter –

the books I read all end themselves,

a literary suicide;

all those words to arrive back

at this single final pure silence,

you gotta think Irony has been

angling for sponsorship this whole time;

riding the rollercoaster of Chance 

back to original




Mr. Patterson Hides Under a Quilt 


It all begins with a simple pattern. 

The human brain wired to find them. 


Discernable shapes in the carpet and curtains, 

slowly working towards you. 


Mr. Patterson hides under a quilt, 

and not for the cold as things would seem. 


Under another pattern, 

though he never once commands  

such ironies. 


Even his birth name close. 

Another Patterson. 


All that shivering rattle of bones  

under something held tight to his blood-throbbing neck 

like a mugger's attentive blade. 


So many pictures on the wall  

of a wife he can hardly remember. 


Her touch, now no different than a heavy-handed  

rolling pin through a fresh bed of flour. 


And the darkness gathered all around. 

Getting closer all the time.

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