Ryan Quinn Flanagan (Western Voices 2023)

Bio: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author who lives in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work has been published both in print and online in such places as: The New York Quarterly, Setu, The Blue Mountain Review, Atunis Poetry and The Oklahoma Review. He enjoys listening to the blues and cruising down the TransCanada in his big blacked out truck.

 

Climbers


They are young and professional.

Move into the building even though

it is well beyond their means.

 

Getting in on the ground floor.

Looking to make all the right connections.

These climbers trying to smile, claw,

and glad-hand their way to the top.

 

Sleep with, lie and blackmail

if necessary.

 

A business arrangement

posing as a marriage.

 

Hosting lavish parties on credit.

Orchestrating many chance meetings,

being ever-present.

 

Until no one can remember a time

when they were not there.

 

As established as the building itself.

***

 

 

The Rastafarians

 

They stand outside this jerk chicken joint

by Sherbourne Station.

 

Long wagging dreads

under tri-coloured beanies

just after midnight.

 

Cat calling Patois tongues

never understood.

 

All dry mouth high.

The Rastafarians passing giant spliffs

with great rounded heads burnt down

in ceremonial fire.

 

Shirtless washboard abs

with bandana tucked in back pocket.

 

As the boys in blue slow down

for another long look along the flightpath.

***

 

 

The Swindling of the Swede

 

They moved in two doors down.

After being evicted from their last place

on Diefenbaker.

 

These two nasty old women

and their son.

There was another guy there

with coke-bottle glasses.

 

Right away, they began to spread out.

Like any virus.

 

The son shared some beers with the guy next door.

Got him to fix his car while he hooked up

with his girl.

 

The two woman spread old garbage and appliances

all over their lawn.

 

Parked multiple rust boxes in

numerous driveways.

 

The guy with the glasses spotted

an easy mark

as well.

 

Thus began, the swindling of the Swede.

In his late 80s and pretty much left on his own.

 

The kid started hanging out.

Going by and doing little chores.

Shovelling the drive in season.

Pretending to care for the Swede’s

well-being.

 

And you could see the con many miles away.

 

You just know he’s stealing off the old guy,

my wife said.

It’s not right!

 

He’s doing a lot more than that,

I answered.

Once the old guy kicks it,

he’ll move right in.

 

You could see him eyeing up the new place.

The other one had now moved in with the girl

next door.

 

One house was two and would soon be three.

 

Dammit!

That was all my wife said

walking away from the window.

 

It seemed no one could save the Swede now.

They had their hooks in.

 

But this past weekend,

they moved out.

 

Trying to wait the Swede out,

but they were evicted from their

place first.

 

The son is still with the train wreck next door,

but the holidays seem to be break up season

for both her and her twin sister.

 

The Swede will never know how close he came.

The Meals on Wheels lady still comes by once a week,

but she has her own place.

***

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