Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Forest Dwelling Thing’ and other poems

By: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Forest Dwelling Thing

No druid-hung tree for you,
no forest dwelling thing,
no bloodletters or caregivers –
please pass the silent leech tongs
of dinner table etiquette.

For what ails, there is no cure.
No principality of common refuge.

That dangling black briefcase –
with the codes, the codes!

Laugh at your tormentors.
Nothing terrifies them more.

Not forest dwelling things.
Not the splayed wide meadows
nor terrible mountain

say it albatross, let’s say

beyond my failed house of mirrors
shaken dandruff potions, pinwheels
of the great unscare

clouds like years just sailing on –
say it albatross, let’s say:

scurvy-wept & swept away,
that wild walk of pantry stores spoiling
swaddled daffodil child;

if you breathe then I can care,
jump to seething coals that scar

villainous absent door knocker hand

those clearing banshee mists,
I want to care.

Dancing Dresses

The Peter Gunn theme
is the Moonlight Sonata
of modern times.

All that tranquility gone.
Everything all charged up,
bursting with movement.

The life and death
of the modern city.

Both joyous and sad,
hopeful and damned

All those fanned out
dancing dresses
spilling down the

What a darling
hummed beast
to wake up to.

Always with those damn sunglasses,
like some grand defensive manoeuver,
like some bubble boy of Paris fashionista,
stole that shag white cat from one of his models
and now the bloody thing lives better
than most emperors and Lagerfeld blinks
and no one can tell as he bills everything
to the House of Chanel, all those fantastical
sets for his models to stroll through,
that ridiculous neck armour he wears around
everywhere to hide the imperfections
of age after a sudden weight loss;
if there were a fountain of youth,
Lagerfeld would have imported it at cost
to be his personal soaker tub. What a bill
that one would have been for the Chanel bean
counters down in accounting who’ve been deemed
far too ugly to ever work where someone
of consequence would ever see them.

The Theremin of Our Recent Closeness Has Pissed Everyone Off

Mae West
jumps off tossed
bean bag buildings
playing Duck Hunt
in rolling laundry sleepover
basements that haven’t
done their homework

& the theremin
of our recent closeness
has pissed off everyone
to the point of rotten
crab apple insurrection –

see you along the fault lines,
mistakes made by
the plenty

as I wash the dishes
like some 46-minute jazz improv
with five-day stubble
and nowhere to go that isn’t named
after a saint or sinner

imagining the plated Stegosaurus
back out of extinction
while the Knights of Columbus
treat folding chairs like metal napkins

that secret handshake
their way back into any spice
rack worth its salt:

another lazy encore
from the cheating ramshackle

Valerie High Points It

Take the scholarships
out of basketball and all you have
is rebounds,

some unhappy Naismith
fed up with the game he started,

but Valerie high points it,
jumps and grabs this plane
right out of the sky

holds it there before the cameras,
the many sponsorship deals
handed out like Halloween candy

& the passenger screams are applause
if you listen hard enough

the pilot is a sex fiend anyways

pays strange women to manhandle him
in dark rooms that betray their musty curtains –

Valerie is taking over the game,
will probably have a triple-double
by halftime.


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, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

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