5 Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The Angry Crab

Sand sculpture week
at the beach.
Apparently there are judges 
but you never see 
or the artists.
All you see are sad looking people 
in ill fitting shirts,
a pasty white sunblock line 
over the nose, 
trying to forget work, wives,
husbands, kids, bills, cancer...
trying really hard not to think
about how much this little holiday
is costing,
meals and accommodation
and film for the camera
and gas,         
trying with limited success to forgive the oil companies 
for colluding 
during the August long weekend (again),
choosing to marvel at the giant sand sculptures 
the castle with turrets and moat
the winding dragon
the angry crab
the Taj Mahal...
aren’t they just marvellous?,
some fat lady of swoons
just marvellous,
answers the even fatter man 
beside her.
I loath their sweaty cellulite delusions.
I look away.
Away from the ribbons and empty roped off praise
to the sandfleas biting small children
above the water line.
To state an accepted truth, is to state
nothing at all.
Though I must admit, I quite like the angry crab.
He seems to be the only one around
not trying so hard
to be happy.

Thirty Miles Outside Cleveland

The trucker 
thirty miles outside Cleveland 
put on his indicator 
and pulled onto 
the shoulder.
A young Hispanic boy -
maybe 14 or 15 -
thanked the trucker for stopping, 
slung his sack over his shoulder,
and jackknifed up into 
the cabin.       

You=re not a serial murderer, are you?,
asked the trucker.

Not unless you're a sexual sadist,
replied the young Hispanic 

The two shared an uneasy laugh 
before the trucker turned up
his Townes Van Zandt 
and the young Hispanic boy 
offered to pay for 

Then the trucker smiled
put on his left indicator
checked his mirrors
pulled off the shoulder

and began towards Cleveland.

Piss in my Mouth

We were sitting around 
after a nice dinner together
enjoying our coffees
when she said it:
Piss in my mouth.
Come on, it’ll be fun, piss in my mouth.
She tied her hair back in a ponytail,
got down on her knees
between my legs
and started to unzip me.
I don’t know about this, I mean, Jesus woman, this is highly irregular,
can’t I just cream in your mouth like normal people do?
That’s no fun.
I hear it can be.
Come on, forget that.
She pulled it out and let it rest against my jeans.
It looked flaccid and sad like a deflated tire.
Don’t even think about it, pretend my mouth is a urinal, or something.
Right now, right this moment?
Of course silly, I’m ready now, come on, piss in my mouth.
She opened wide.              
I could see the strain of her jaw line
work its way up to her lightly freckled forehead.
She looked very beautiful.
Nothing like a urinal.
I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, my dear.
Come on, I’m ready.
But I don’t have to go.
She started to get angry with me.
What can I do?, I asked,
a man only stands in front of a urinal
and goes when he has too,
the rest of the time he shops for pears
or puts on socks        
or checks the glove compartment
for maps of upper state 
New York.                 
You’re no fun.
She got back up to her feet
pulled her hair out of the ponytail
walked into the bathroom
and closed the door.
Leaving me cold, limp,
and dangling 
in the kitchen,
wondering just how many
a man                
had pissed in the urinal
I would have to kiss

Her Name was Nancy, I Believe

There is not much difference
between Man
and elephant,
it seems.

Fed up with torture
and confinement
a Female circus elephant 
in Oregon
escaped last week
and went on a parking lot 

Crushing cars 
and people 

It was only slowed down
when other elephants 
were employed 
to corner the rebelling elephant
against a wall
until it could be shot dead
and dragged 

The other elephants could have escaped.
They could have joined ranks
and rebelled as well,
but like Man
they chose to silence 
the lone dissenting voice 
and go on 
balancing balls
and being lead around 
like cattle.

Only Greek Gods should be Worshipped from Behind

and an altar 

should suffice
for the rest.

The Egyptians are into bondage 
with all those wrappings

but not all the time

and the Etruscans are centered around pleasure, 
but of a wholly different 

Only Greek gods 
should be worshipped 
from behind.

You can probably fit all the rest
into a single Sunday
of general penance.

 A collection plate of clanking Vishnus 
extolled from the gardens
of passing pocket lint
and old receipts.