Frank O’Hara Wasn’t Political


I like that Frank O’Hara wasn’t political.
That he knew it was all bullshit.
A trap door anyone was welcome to fall into.
Vietnam was going on and everyone had something to say
about it but Frank.
And when you refuse to take sides, it becomes obvious.
But he just didn’t care, and went on with his art.
I respect that a lot.
The war will always be there in some form or another,
but you and your art may not.

Best to strike now, while the cobra is hot.
To investigate the spiders of dreary walls.

I like that Frank O’Hara wasn’t political.
With that confrontational big apple accent
and the way he looked like a balding
pharmacist from the East Village who could
help you out, but just didn’t want to.



A Very Touching Poem


Plasma can’t just ask for change,
the hands dipped in plaster to make
a cast for stupid dustpan posterity

and why fly all the way to catcall Italy
when all the best earthquakes
are closer to home?

Cigarettes from mother’s purse
the new Garcia Lorca.

Fingernails long as racetracks
for the world record people
to take a look at.

I have masturbated to the platypus
more times than I care to remember,
the Swiss army knife of the animal kingdom,
so ugly and confused and numerous
the diversity lobby won’t touch it.

You can touch yourself, I don’t mind.
Go ahead everyone else is doing it.
This is a very touching poem.
And now they have these sex robots
that look nothing like the platypus.

If plasma asks you for change,
you are already stoned.



Frogmen and Cigarette Boats


There is no turning back.
Even for the head over the shoulder.
There is body castes and physio
and early onset dementia.

The cure is a band with unkempt hair.
From the 80s of frogmen and cigarette boats.

When I turn my head
all the bones in my neck crack
with the fragility of a toy you play with once
before it breaks.

The doctor wants to cut a giant cyst
out of my back next week.

Same thing happened to my father
at about the same age,
so it might be hereditary.

But there is no turning back.
Migrating birds know the score.
The Titanic sunk when ice cubes refuse.

If you tap me on the shoulder
I will assume rain.

The cemetery filling with the dead.
There is no turning back.



View Finder


I must be
in the stinking
thieves’ den

in both awareness
and temperament

jolly foot swivels
for ankles

the view from the room
of rooms

would you ever believe
we could sleep

lose silence to

those bricks I carry
are a ready-made

your flowerpot face
still planted in afternoon



The Year of the Rooster, and Never the Bomb


There is no war in Asia –
that was a long time ago,
and even though old neighbours
are threatening again

there is more belief in
the bad breath Yeti
than there is in nuclear

so that everyone goes about
their business
as they always do

working hard
and meeting friends
for drinks

just like the rest
of the world.





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, FLULAND, Your One Phone Call, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.  His website is: