Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Anitgonish Review, CV2, PRECIPICe, Existere, Windsor Review, Vallum, The Dalhousie Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
Why Glass Ceilings will Always be Broken
She walked into the building
and asked to see the manager
and when she was told there was no manager
to speak of
she turned and skipped back out
past the concierge
who, holding his hat in his hand,
knew nothing of Oliver Twist
or the opium trade
or how to rebuild an engine
of flesh and
How a Fire Escape Becomes a Marriage
Carve me another neophyte, mister Brubaker
more tripwires than shacks in the woods
and I have seen the communiques –
panic at the highest levels
the people can never know or they must stop
being the people
there must be confidence in the general paradigm
petrol stations full of cars, all that…
lovers in beds soaked through with perspiration
acids and antacids set in opposition.
I love my job, don’t you Miss Klein?
Get Pederson on the phone so I may suckle
from the dry sulking teat of injustice.
The Gasoline Heart
The great gall of drunkenness slides down the bar
wood over wood, the redundancy canal birthing all over again
the bartender watering down the drinks, the drinks firing up the neurons
lustful doe eyes painted and large as super moons
the phone numbers scrawled on bathroom stalls always fakes
like hiccups in a wax museum
and the drivers are no longer all black in these parts
we have made strides but still cannot master the fax machine
our necks great albatrosses of skin
the gasoline heart pumping hunger to clumsy extremities
delicatessen animals shaved down to meat silence
every man imagining himself quite the Casanova and never Hitler
and the ladies all look signed postcard beautiful under dimmed lights
their prospective heavy lifting men all toasted into single syllable slurring
I adore this city, the hustle
cars like sharks down the avenues
back alley blowjobs without teeth
the cathedrals and the nightclubs lit up
so you can’t tell the difference,
people spilling in and out, their own brand of religiosity
and the horses over cobblestone provide a certain charm
though they have been broken
and the sleeping bag bums do not require bedtime stories,
only the bottle,
and climbing the stairs at 2 in the morning is better than heaven
there is a personal sense of accomplishment there
that is not present in celestial notions of shortcutting
and the bed is glorious, each pillow a friend
soon you will be snoring loud as the factory floor
Ceci n’est pas une pipe, either!
There was no robbery. Nothing was taken.
The man who said there was a robbery died 300 years ago.
He lays in a pit somewhere, happy to be out of work.
Relatives? Why yes, there are relatives
but there was no robbery.
There are bugle boys in decorative knee highs.
And thriving band saws too.
I lose the logic like smiling milk carton children.
Misplace the hand you once touched me with.
The peeling skin of time.
Ever seen a train stab its way out of a fireplace?
I have. There was no one in the room.
No obvious light source unless you were to count the mind.
But you can’t see the mind, can you?
This is not proof of a robbery. The mind may still be there.
But the chance it is not, that’s what makes things fun.
There was no robbery.
The Many Stray Cats of Rio
The death of Mrs. Waverly
was not a surprise
in her 94th year
but everyone acted like it was
trying to see who could shed
the most tears.
Speaking in low voices when it was not natural.
Comparing bouquets of flowers.
Showing up with sickly children in tow
they had to care for.
And then came the matter of the inheritance.
The meat and bones of it.
Who got what.
And she had been one frugal old bird.
Came from a good family.
Collected her dead husband’s pension
And as the executer of the will read out
that 2.4 million dollars
had been left to the many stray cats
and nothing to all the rest
the faces grew pale.
One after the other.
With nothing to say.
Like everyone was a ghost