Poetry: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Before the Moon

They say there was a time before the moon,
that is what the ancients say,
when you could look up in the sky 
and the great expanse, devoid of that structure
now so constant in our minds and art and horizons,
made you think of home – that sonorous fleecing of apparitions!
Pulverised rock between ageless fingers, the honied gazers in fragrant bloom.
And this thankfulness for Life, for a struggle realized
washing over everything.

Shared in bond, without boast.
Our first known smile held in ambered esteem.

Workman Down a Ladder, in Silhouette 

The lady that lives upstairs 
is getting her windows redone.

I watch through the backlit curtains.
This workman down a ladder, in silhouette.

Muffled voices like blabbering conch shells. 

That cautious sound of the ladder giving way
under the weight of another laboured descent.

The hammering will come, it always does.
In all its impossible forms.

And that sound of drills
like modern dentistry brought outdoors.

The lingering smell of sawdust 
over everything.

VD Clinic 

Discretion was part of the job.
The nurses took false names 
and the doctor saw nothing.

There was no waiting room.
No form to fill out.

He simply took a look and wrote 
the necessary prescriptions.

There was a back entrance 
for the great and good.

Many black limousines waiting.
No billing or paper trail.

Strictly cash on sight.
All paid by an intermediary 
you never saw.

To this self-professed Scorpio.
This doctor to the stars.

Like Copernicus 
clearing $15 million 
a year.

Some Spanish terracotta 
in the Hills.

With an original 
Rose period Picasso 
and a pool in the shape 
of a crab that no one ever 
swam in.

Boca Botanicals 

The girls at Boca Botanicals
are straight commission queens,

sharing skincare tips
like crimson milk handshakes,

the various regimens
like old generals 
lost to war,

divulging state secrets 
at a 200% mark up;

the hideous foot traffic 
from the mall food court
snagged by impulse buy bins
positioned near the security gate,

and that giant up to 70% off 
clearance sale banner 

which has been there since 
the soft opening over 
four years ago.

3rd Message

What was the third message, dammit?
Don’t ask the pope, he is under a gag order
old as dirt.  His speeches cobbled together
like the many streets below.  

There were two messages at Fatima, 
count them, two!  
The watchers of Sesame Street are commercial 
break familiar with such ritual numerology.

I’m guessing that 3rd message 
was news you don’t want to hear.

If you are the figurehead of an institution
that has pretended to know everything 
since before sliced bread.

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