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‘Breaking into Song Instead of Houses’ and other poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

By: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Breaking into Song Instead of Houses

No need for the skeleton key, the glass cutter,
that dreaded ski mask in the dark
while the family is away, or worse,
when they are at home feeding cats with
faces more beautiful than any woman you will
ever pretend to love, like mice in the walls,
next level handshakes in the nude;
old shower water over new crevices,
rare Scotch in stone doomsday caverns
in case the worst of it gets really bad,
but this is ducks in a pond
breaking into song instead of houses,
that Sunday smell of clean laundry;
these fluffy dark pillows that find your face
without a map.


Stretch My Arms Out Like Police Blockades Everyone Ignores

I stand up, walk away from myself,
stretch my arms out like police blockades
everyone ignores, this simple wood flooring
under my feet less than one generation removed
from the forest

that way every lost hair you find
curls at the sides like a sour mouthful
of disagreement,

women unable to conceive
watering leafy green gardens
of irony

while the defensibility lobby works the yardstick
out of the yard;

painted totems of indigenous lankiness:
balding growth spurt eagles of this circling
regurgitated sky.


When They Want Your Head and Most the Rest of You Too

Untrained nails scratch through the pillow
dreaming idiot time travel back into existence,
a single pulsing head shaved down to waiting scalp,
broken out in hives under a window of hungry
deerflies, the half-methodical way they work the screen,
looking for a way in, to breach the walls, some medieval
castle under siege, the veins in the side of my head
forming a bridge to traverse those troublesome moats;
a buzzing in my ear that is not the alarm clock…
the walls have been breached!


Britches Get Stiches

On this day in 2042, the first flying car
crashed into the last Flying Wallenda,
the bearer of fruit has made the switch to bad news,
holed up in a room with a different type of wallpaper
splashed across every wall; britches get stiches,
my tailor is most adamant about that, sits me down to discuss
the particulars which always seem to cost more,
there is good money in bad news, that’s why the bearer
of fruit jumped ship, called it a day and that day was Wednesday
full of woe, gas-powered chainsaws devouring a wooden leg –
is it so wrong to summon the hijinks on a homemade Ouija board?
To syphon partly digested Clamato juice out of insufferable safe house informants?
I think I have lived too long, the breathing of oxygen has become
tiresome, it feels like a job:
long hours, no breaks, limited benefits,
you know the gig…


Heavy Trucks

so you start to imagine
something in them

drunk dancing spinning green glow sticks
back into waning firefly

shut-ins during festival high season
watching enough television for 30 years
of push-ups to do themselves

and I choose this moment to park
as close as I can

walk into this store that has aisles
instead of lovers

a lone hanger over the dressing room door
so that you know someone is trying on
someone else

trying to forget about
the last three


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, Literary Yard, Ariel Chart, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

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