Ryan Quinn Flanagan





The girls who swallow down a full salt shaker

of Johns in a single evening

think you half-worldly because you stand by the curb

looking down at 3 in the morning.

If you looked up, it would be for god.

Then you would be a fool.

They have no illusions about that.

But a man who eats his $1.50 hotdog

around the carefully folded sides of a napkin

looking down over the dark precipice,

there must be something there.

Some story they have not heard.

Some thrill or mystery or secret

they have not thought of.

When they approach, they do so slowly.

Tapping me on the shoulder like a sheet of heavy rain.

I say nothing.

Because I do not have the heart

to tell them.

Or ask if they haven’t shoved

enough all beef wieners down their painted

gullets already.





Feeding the Machine




That giant green monster

of Scarborough

belting out miseries

so the screeching soprano

could sleep in

that giant binding machine

of sleepless terror

and human components

through the punch clock door

in shifts

I have worked them all –

there are no winners

and I fed the machine

and everyone else fed the machine

and the supervisors would turn up

the speed to make quota

and it was impossible to keep up

but we all tried

feeding more and more of ourselves

away with each shift, month,


bags under the eyes for a pittance

the muling back shot

straight survivalism

eventually I would place the pages in the feeder

unevenly so it would jam

and the machine operator would cuss me out

and the floor super would keep a close eye

but there was a momentary lapse

as they removed the jam

before starting up the machine






“You Feel Me?”



This skinny white kid

just out of diapers

pulls his baggy pants back up

over his waist

makes a curious sign

with his hands

and says:

you feel me?

And I am not

some dusty ancient


I know

this is not a

come on.

Still, I tell the child

I would not even feel him

if he were my wife

who is dead.

And the boy has nothing to say.

Just as I don’t have a wife,

and certainly not a dead






Charlotte Bronte Made Me Pancakes


She lived in affordable housing along the TransCanada

at the Regina apartment complex.

Her name was Charlotte so I called her Charlotte Bronte.

She liked that.

She thought I made it up because I liked her.

The stupid little things men do to stand out.

Her kids had been taken away.

Wards of the state.

They even took one of them right out of the delivery room.

But Charlotte kept getting knocked up.

So the state had to keep coming back for more children.

They started handing her pamphlets about abortion,

but she said she didn’t believe in that.

I liked Charlotte because she was largely honest.

Everyone else were thieves.

She stole as well, but only when she needed food.

And she made the best pancakes.

I don’t know what she did different, but they were delicious.

And the maple syrup from the food bank

was past its best before date,

but it was glorious as well.

The way it coated your stomach and gave you

a sugar rush.

Charlotte Bronte made me pancakes three times a week.

She was into junk that I was not into, but we shared

a love of the bottle.

I don’t think she had any sisters, I know you wanted

to go there.

It was just her and a green parakeet named Dusty.

Who kept crapping all over the newspapers

that lined the bottom of his ill-fitting






Another Spitter of Oral Hygiene



She rolls her tube of toothpaste down

like sliding a condom over

the shaft

and it is hard not to think

of witness protection

of crash sites made safe

as prams

spermicide on the fingers

like the extra butter of movie house


assassins with bullets named after

Saturday morning cartoon characters

pleading insanity across the


The randomness of that.

Chicken shacks on lost country roads.

And my tube of toothpaste

is a straight reflection

of me.

It is a mess.

I don’t know when both our toothbrushes

finally became battery operated,

but it sounds like I’m sticking

a long angled dildo

in my mouth.

Night after night.

Working it around for maximum effect.

And I guess that makes me a spitter.

Washing away the evidence

before it can dry to the sink basin

and stay.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  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 Horror Sleaze Trash.


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