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
Feeding the Machine
That giant green monster
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
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
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
you feel me?
And I am not
some dusty ancient
this is not a
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
and it is hard not to think
of witness protection
of crash sites made safe
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
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
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.