Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. Born in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, he worked as a roofer, sheet metal worker, truck driver and two stints in a book bindery before attainting Queen’s University and receiving a Master’s Degree in History. He is the author of 24 books of poetry and four collaborations His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Your One Phone Call, The Homestead Review, Pyrokinection, In Between Hangovers, Outlaw Poetry Network, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.
The Assassination of Arturo Toscanini
Is it fantastical to speak of wealth?
A wealth of nations that chain smoker Puccini could get behind
in the right light,
seated on the end of your bed this morning
I got to thinking of many things,
slamming my heel against the sloping fabric underside
like a human church bell lost to ceremony:
the blood in the wine, wafer body against tongue;
I could have dressed in the same sleepy mercurial fashion
as previous mornings,
stood in front of many unfavourable mirrors for judgement –
by happenstance, I could have done all manner of things:
your hamster on the wheel, what a stupid incarceration,
and our pink bistro dalliance under knife.
Later at the apothecary, I invested in many creams.
The bulbous nose behind the counter swoll with rage
and the season.
In the absence of love, a bus came to a stop.
I got on and paid the piper before sitting down
two-thirds the way to the back.
Docent at the Detroit Institute of Art
The sound of dead air
everything a muffled wind tunnel
distant cube vans and the trattoria
ligature marks over dirty ankles
and I think of the docent at the Detroit Institute of Art
the crippled way she lurched towards me
sunken eyes wet with age
(months instead of years in the
hunched over and frail as fine China
with the voice of a bullfrog
telling me about the special exhibition room
where a Frida Kahlo showing was going on
just past the giant Diego Rivera murals
in the great hall
which gave the non-believers something
to look up at
The Business of Pleasure
was to get you to the
the discounts on fuel
so that you
paid on the other
once in a lifetime
snorkel with dolphins
tiki torch fire eater
and left a positive review
on Trip Advisor
before the credit card company
called and you had to start fighting
To a Man who Believes His Face Can Save Him
razor burnt and pockmarked
a tiny scar above the lip from a
the sting of cologne over fresh wounds
wincing crow’s feet out of the corners of bloodshot eyes
deep furrows like trench warfare brought to the forehead
dug in with each expression
bushy eyebrows raised like the dead
and ferreted off to separate sides of the face
a deviated septum to please the anarchists
and when women run their hands down his cheeks
they will know the admirable sandpaper of his days
and men will find a wisdom that is not really there,
offer their hand in gratitude because friendship
is tricky, no one knowing just how bad
he needs a job.
Windows Shattered like Glass People
that Make You Bleed if You Touch Them
I am not at the water.
You said you’d be at the water,
but how can anyone
This liver spot on my body ensures
we are not alone.
I sprinkle wood shavings down on the floor
and imagine myself walking through
a fine mist.
There is no hunger
where the appetite has been removed
like unwanted squatters.
Set upon this land
with metal locks on their duck boots
and a frazzled nonsense hair.
Windows shattered like glass people
that make you bleed if you touch them.
Dust storms starching lazy third eye colonnades
out of their last entablature.
You should be at the water.
A towel wrapped around the hips
as is the fashion.
I am not the water.
We would have met by now
if I were.