(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Ryan Quinn Flanagan (b. 1978) is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow. He attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada where he received his Master's Degree in Military History. He has been nominated multiple times for both Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net awards. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Huffington Post, Cultural Weekly, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Sink Hole
I started losing my voice weeks ago.
Right around the time that sink hole
opened up on our street while the latest
disaster movie put asses in the seats.
First, a pain in my throat.
Followed by the stretching of the vocal
chords until I became some
gulping screenshot waterfall everyone
pretends they want to visit when they don't
even want to get out of bed.
The price of gas won't get you six
city blocks from your house anyways.
And the price of food, it's just easier to starve.
But not without a voice,
how am I supposed to complain?
Or sing in the shower
if the right song
Or scare the cat
each time it runs its claws
down the couch?
No one ever sets out to give themselves
the silent treatment.
It could be something serious,
even if I have never been.
All this water
and not a single freshwater
lake in sight.
2. The City Needs Consent
This hardhat from the hydro company
comes to the door.
Leaves some contact information
but I catch him on the way out.
He has been out back the past week,
inspected the powerlines and noticed some
small growth that has to be removed.
I try to tell him about a tree
my wife has been talking about.
That she wants them to cut away.
He says he did mark
a single poplar a few yards down
for removal, but that we look okay.
I am a grown man in his pajamas.
Trying to speak with some authority.
On my third bottle of wine
at two in the afternoon,
hoping to appear as though I am not on
my third bottle of wine.
And we talk for some time.
He mentions this herbicide
the city needs consent
to spray so the trees do not grow back again.
Asks if we have any pets.
I tell him we do.
He asks if our dog goes outside.
I tell him we have a cat and that she goes
outside for almost half the day.
So we'll just say no, he says.
We agree to say no to the herbicide.
Him getting back in his truck
and me returning to the bottle.
These demolition site words
that can't help but fall right on top
of one another.
3. Unmistakable Bedrooms
The abyss never gazed
back at me.
Surely not that well-mustachioed Octoberfest
caught in an Italian love triangle.
This is not some randy kiss kiosk
at the county fair.
Exchanging herpes and lipstick
and monies as per the modern
Which brings me to the honey
from the hive.
Why buildings wait for jumpers
like sincerity at altitude.
Whole fertilizer bombs
renouncing the farm.
If I see you when things get dark,
lead me up to unmistakable bedrooms.
Filled with lust and ugly trinkets
that could belong to anyone else.
After all those stairs
that keep your stamina
The curtains pulled over
like privacy making a comeback.
All this salvia switching teams.
The hangers in the closet
just back from the swinging gallows.
4. Hill of Beans
It starts with the simple opening
of a can.
That stubborn way the last bit of lid always
tries to stay on.
Like a long-oxidized coin forgetful pockets
refuse to part with.
Then a second can, a third, before a fourth...
Soon a hill of beans in spite of bad reputations.
A large pot over the stove element.
If anyone feel the heat, it doesn't show.
Surely, I am the luckiest man under clouded
The heels of naked feet over cold linoleum.
Familiar three day wrinkles for clothes.
Something stirring that is not a mouse.
5. Feversham Water Source
Don't drink the water!
I hear those namby-pamby
water drinkers say that all the time,
as though their bodies are
made of different stuff,
a little silicon in places,
some collagen thrown in perhaps,
but hardly the main ingredient
for a very limited menu
if we are talking feathers
out of their only cushy pillows
which is, of course,
exactly what I intend to do
on these many sleepless nights
while poorly lit
Baphomet altars spread
their silly valedictorian wings
and the window sits ajar
like some childhood
cookie heist that always ends