Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
The Statue of Liberty, with Spatula 

I can’t dance like Fred Astaire 
in a peep show booth, on a rare earth dare

and I don’t screen woven silk from worm,
that way I wriggle past you in line 
is pure absentia –

hope in the pages of fresh diaries 
starting out

the statue of liberty, with spatula 

crooked drug lab tigers 
sent back to their only stripes

my, my
these sleeves for arms,
the weaver’s guild closing ranks
like a failing army brought back
to swelling confession

I can’t do it again
I can’t go back…

not even if there were 
such a silly exacting thing 
as direction.
***

Under the Yoke of a Half Dozen Eggs 

The supermarket on Hillside 
started selling despots in Dairy 
and it wasn’t long before I found
myself under the yoke of a half 
dozen eggs.  Itchy from all the body 
lice I had recently befriended.  
I have always been personable:
what a nice young man!, the old 
birds would croon. From their
empty nests, their lonely jewel box
boudoirs.  And someone split the yoke
so that I thought of personalities.
Not the ones on television, but the 
ones deep inside.  Only come out of
the hanger to get their wings.  Salted 
peanuts at 37,000 ft.  Look out for that
angry mountain of a father, the bad
beer on his breath. Give you 
the strap and the heebie-jeebies 
all in one sitting.
***

Finger to finger, going toe-to-toe

Too young for the chapel, sis tween!
Not ready for the war, that finger 
to finger, going toe-to toe;
hammerheads slammed down against 
a foaming juggernaut shore.

Stale baked-bean fart mornings of all alone,
motel un-comforter kicked to grainy 
browbeat floor.  Cold water face 
and the end of the bed like falling off
that squeaky dumb end of the world.

Palpitations for no one.
This great belly that swells 
with unknown poisons.

Show surprise for our least aware,
beg flowers from dirty gardens,
those words that slip your tired
latch-lock mouth – watering can!
***

The Roof of My Mouth Has Never Passed Inspection

Falstaff sounds like a clumsy name to me,
like tripping over yourself in the street
and turning back to blame the sidewalk 
behind you; no one cares that the dumpster
is on fire, the roof of my mouth has never passed
inspection, not a single white knight nod of affirmation –
minimalist art like professional poverty practised 
while winsome barn swallows leave the bale, 
the plant on the back of the toilet 
just green logistics, watered like bar crawl 
urine pucks are watered 
while a losing game of darts 
starts making excuses so they’re not
on the hook for drinks:

this looks like trouble!

Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury.
Limited parking and everyone 
ready to settle down.

I rub my burning volcano eyes
and wait for everything 
to erupt.
***

Bat Cave Fall Guy 

We were both late for school.  Pulling up 
the bent chain link from metal shorts.
But I didn’t fall into that bat cave,
I ran off in fear – cowardice is seldom proud.
And I sat in class all morning, wondering.
Bats were vampires in all the movies,
had I left my babysitter’s son to his untimely death?
My father would be mad because I was not some 
living, breathing champion of the world at all times 
and my mother would be embarrassed which was 
worse than anything because of that gilded sparkling 
water way she tried to fool everyone into believing in perfection 
which has never been a real thing, not like guano 
giving you shit!

And the shame I felt was paralysing.
Away from the fray, but closer than ever.
All those bats flying at my eight year old face 
like air traffic control passing around a bucket 
of the Colonel’s finest chicken wings.
***


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