“Artisanal Birds” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

 

Artisanal Birds 

Zeddie stood in the middle of the concourse.
Spinning in circles with outstretched arms.
The busy crowds maneuvering to get around him.

Some made faces.
Zeddie did not care to see their faces.
Arching his neck to look skyward at a flock
of artisanal birds just under the glass enclosure.

Suspended by cords that were largely invisible.
Zeddie loved to fly with the birds above the crowds.
They had accepted him as one of their own.
Even though he was not a bird.

Zeddie knew as much.
He figured the birds knew it as well.
But they were gracious in his presence 
and marvelous animals.

When the officers arrived, Zeddie was pulled 
down out of the sky by officer Hablo.
He was glad to see officer Hablo and went 
with him for a ride in his car.

Catching up on all Zeddie had missed 
migrating down south and then 
back again.

Officer Hablo wanted to know about the birds.
Zeddie told him they were marvelous 
animals.

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

“Before Evening Med Pass”

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble”

“Why Answers are Never the Answer”

“Listening to Blue Monday on a Friday” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

Listening to Blue Monday on a Friday

Listening to Blue Monday on a Friday
it seems the specifics have crawled off some time
during the night, snuck out past the perimeter,
back down into the sewers perhaps with all the other mutants,
those walls of industrial sludge caked on so thick
the city superintendent starts to speak about layers,
like removing the paint from some famous rendering
looking for hidden secrets and finding nothing but canvas,
it’s Al Capone’s vault all over again, this is why the television people
don’t like to go live anymore which is understandable,
a pie eating contest is the only socially acceptable way
to explain pie on your face, the rest looks like straight fetishism
in the badlands, someone collecting trophies that came  
from other human beings instead of sporting events,
those bad boys and girls that get locked away all by themselves,
the sound of the manacles rubbing together as they walk,
but this poem was never for them; my cassette tape threatening
to unwind at any moment, the pink eraser end of a no. 2 pencil
at the ready to turn the spools, over Chamomile tea and
droopy socks I still listen for Ian Curtis’ voice even though I know
it can’t be there.

 

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

“Before Evening Med Pass”

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble”

“Why Answers are Never the Answer”

 

Image Credit: “Katedrala” František Kupka (1912) Public Domain

“Why Answers Are Never the Answer” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

Why Answers Are Never the Answer

You could go your whole life in a fog,
kicking up blanks with some of the cobbler’s
best attire, tugboat brinkmanship just out of sight
and still you are pleased, joyous even, sidewalks
leaping up into your arms like a bouquet of flowers,
briefcases rush by with the secret plans, intricate actions
that will never be taken, and the song in your throat
has already found radio, crank calls to the pharmacist’s wife
because she always picks up the phone, just as indignant as
the last time, never letting you down; why answers are never
the answer, and later outside the arcade you finger around
your pockets for coins, stuff a handful into the machine
and try for the high score.

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

“Before Evening Med Pass”

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble”

 

Image Credit: Henry Pointer “Cat on a stool “playing” a violin” (1872) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble”

They had only just found out a few months before.
The mother was happy, if apprehensive.
The father was accepting.
And I remember him saying to me
with the mother out of earshot:
“it’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble.”
And I thought to myself what kind of trouble
can a tiny blob in a belly make?
He gave me that if you only knew face
that parents of children give to those without children.
Then the mother called him over and he
put his hand over her belly as though he were
trying to keep something from escaping.
I smiled to the mother who really did have
a strange glow about her.

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

“Before Evening Med Pass”

 

Image Credit: Jacob Byerly “Family Portrait” (1855) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

 

“Before Evening Med Pass” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

Before Evening Med Pass

My wife has come to visit me.
On the unit at the Sudbury madhouse.
We are seated on the end of the bed.

Does he always play that horrible music?
The nurses give him one hour each day
with his guitar,
I tell her.
He plays the same thing all the time.

That’s awful, she says.
I shrug my shoulders.
Before she leaves, she meets my roommate Don
who thinks there are listening devices
everywhere.

After she leaves, I hear Don
through the yellow privacy curtain.
Your wife seems nice, do you trust her?

I tell him I do.
Then I hear him roll over in bed
and exhale once
loudly.

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

 

Image Credit: Arthur S. Siegel “Parke, Davis and Company, manufacturing chemists, Detroit, Michigan. Packaging pills in the finishing department” (1943) from The Library of Congress

“Robbie the Owl” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

Robbie the Owl

My wife and I watch this show about this owl
who is not fit for the wild
and has imprinted on humans.

His name is Robbie the Owl.
He sits on their arms and eats handouts
because he doesn’t know how
to hunt for himself.

And they take him out to the forest each day.
Beat the ridges of leaves with sticks
to make the rabbits and squirrels run out
into the open.

Hoping Robbie will forget that he is a human
and remember he is a Great Horned Owl.

That his genetics will kick in.

Training him each night in the barn
to fly through impediments.
To learn to locate, manoeuver
and kill.

And Robbie does not disappoint.
When he kills his first rabbit and they
try to approach his kill, he throws
out his wings in dominance.

They step away
and could not be
prouder.

I tell my wife that I am proud of Robbie too.
That he is resurrecting the good name
of Robbie after that douchebag from Dirty Dancing
ruined it for everyone.

He’s bringing sexy back,
I say.

I think you really like Robbie,
she says.

I tell her I do
and show her my teeth
because it has been
awhile.

.

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

Image Credit: from A Book of Cheerful Cats and Other Animated Animals By JG Francis

He Brought His Canvases Over

“Two Heads” By Paul Klee (1932)

 

He Brought His Canvases Over

By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

He Brought His Canvases Over

and he kept hauling these giant paintings
through the front door
so that I began to wonder how he had carried
them all over, the cabbies get mad if you fill
their car with paintings because they know artists
are poor and someone will have to carry the
damn things, and he keeps passing me off to the next
one before I can even really see the last and asking me
if I think it is finished and I remind him that I am
not a painter and that high school was hard to finish
so I am probably not the best judge
and he tells me he quit smoking, hasn’t sucked
a single glory stick in weeks and I put some tea on
to steep because I can see we will be here for a while…  
do you need some help?, I ask.
I can manage, he assures me. There are only
a couple more.
I watch him bring them in like an invading
army making its last entrance
into the spackled bowels of faulty plumbing.

.

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.