Two Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

San Francisco Expects an Earthquake,
Los Angeles is Drowning in Headshots 

She suggests we follow the Pacific Coast Highway south.  A once in a lifetime gig, like dying.  And there is this tattoo place in Oregon she wants to check out.  I tell her that if the escapism of the Pacific Northwest was good enough for D.B. Copper, then I’m a plane dropping altitude.  She says I am weird, which is true.  Once a month her vaginal lining sheds itself so she can bleed down into her underpants that sit bunched up beside the toilet.  This is also a truth, but I do not feel to need to express that.  A wise man picks his battles.  That’s where Buddha was wrong as hell.  Wise is he who has no battles…nonsense.  We all have battles and you have to pick the winners from the losers.  Those that don’t, end up dead or in jail or unable to see their children in a men’s shelter with a ten o’clock louse check.  Those bastards suck right down to the follicle.  Feeding off you like whole legal teams of a shared profitable misery.  A disaster area right down to every mistake sold as a miracle.  Given a name so the phonebook doesn’t raise a stink.  San Francisco expects an earthquake, Los Angeles is drowning in headshots.  So many pretty girls and never enough new ways to fuck them.  That is the greatest dilemma since the greasy particular back rub of the industrial revolution.  The division of labour and anal sex.  The Gurkhas are not pickles though no one would begrudge you the confusion.  This is studio apartments and curry heat and needles between the toes.  Vacuum cleaner blowjobs spiking trees instead of prom night punch.  The silk road of opiates so Zeppelin one sounds even better.  Notice how John Bonham always comes in late?  Like knowing what you should have said three months after you said something else, but they have studio time.  And the jobs you quit and the jobs you keep.  She thinks we should drive right down to San Diego.  Suck the sharks right out of the sky.  That is why I love her.  Our impracticality full of shoulders and elbows.  No war greater than the one we refuse to fight.


Coming from a Place in Eastern Standard Time

There are always rules, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow them.  If things are so bad, what does that tell you about the rules?  Those that came before.  The current established order.  Your parents and those before them.  Maybe it is time for a new approach.  Not out of left field, because left field can still be imagined.  Some tired office politics of the expected working paradigm.  Professional pigeon shit heads on their lunch hour.  Paying into 25 year mortgages just like their fathers.  So the owned can pretend to own as long as they keep making the payments.  That is what I am getting at.  Around the many stuffed heads of taxidermy.  There is hipster coffee shop free, and then more than one key to the bathroom.  The scratchiness of my voice from a place in Eastern Standard Time.  Like listening to old records that repeat themselves.  Too much tinsel around the Christmas tree.  That is how I feel moving my hair from one side of the head to the other.  Knowing Joey D and Norma Jean would never last because his first love was the Yankees.  Pin stripes in public as though your pajamas are nothing to be ashamed of.  The atom bomb dropped like a foul ball we would rather forget.  The game was won.  That should be good enough.  Sitting in the traffic of false seats playing with the radio dial.  Wondering if all the cars in front of us make more money than we do.



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.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. His digital home is:

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