FIVE POEMS by RYAN QUINN FLANAGAN

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. Continue reading

“ONE MAN GUN ARMY” by AVELYNNE KANG

Scoliosis settles into my spine in the wilted gaming chair, each thread stifled with the essence of Shin Ramyun and second hand smoke. Sometimes I wonder if spending any and all of my remaining hours away from school of hagwon or home in these types of places will result in lung damage. For roughly one thousand Korean won ($1.10 CAD) an hour you can smoke, drink, and binge eat cuttlefish chips in the comfort of a PC Room lit by the plasma television screens and gaming consoles. I’d bet everyone in here is near-sighted and that they were long before coming here, like I was. I squint at natural sunlight, and this is the only place I feel like a real person. I once saw a pro gamer have a more domineering man switch a catheter out during a League Championship he won after a nearly thirty hour match. I wonder if his transcendent focus is comparable to those who fast like Siddartha and most K pop stars. Continue reading

“MONIKER” by GARETT STRICKLAND

This stuff about life is no good for me. The present squeezes me thru its sphincter. Here I am. Taaduh. If there were a view to encompass, you’d be the first to know. Stash your longing in a clever metaphor. Cook up some chili like a real man do. Get a grant to go to the dentist. What else do we do once a decade? Are loved. And if the mongrel designation had never grown tired, perhaps some unguarded communion among three to five persons of similar taste or sensibility. The tongue massaged into conversation. Bridges that come easily. The good sense to aspire toward austerity at night. But I carry caveats in my pocket like smoke bombs, and memory is gnarlier ever than fond. To tease the milk from a clump of ash requires too much too often. I’m on the side of a hill, trying to improvise a geodesic dome out of twigs and a slice of bleached french bread. I’m hissing to myself about popular culture. I’m recalling how the vats need drained. Continue reading

“STARING CONTEST” by GRIFFIN JONES

GROWING UP I HAD SEVEN SISTERS. EACH ONE OF THEM TAKES GREAT PAINS TO SHARPEN THE KNIVES AT THEIR THROATS. THEY ARE ALL DWARFED BY ME, THE BIGGEST KNIFE IN THE FOREST. THEY ALL LEAP UP WHEN I WALK BY AND TRY TO PRICK MY FINGERTIPS AND SIGN MY LIFE AWAY WITH THEIRS. MY FAVORITE MEMORY IS WHEN WE STOOD AROUND A CAMPFIRE AND SANG A SONG IN LAUGHS THAT NEVER ONCE ECHOED THOUGH WE ALL LISTENED FOR IT IN THE FOREST. Continue reading

“OPPOSITE EACH OTHER” by WILLIAM GARCIA BIGELOW

We sit on a bed
Opposite each other
On the third floor of a building
Tucked back from the street
In the Lower East Side
In 2017

I ask you if you love me anymore
You tell me you feel differently

In 2015,
I see you for the first time
No, 2016
January
We’ve been talking for a month

We meet through an algorithm
Written in the early 21st century
Powered by a microprocessor
Made of sand
In a small machine
That we carry in our pockets

I type a message
Coded in 1s and 0s
That is transmitted via radio waves
To a tower
That collects and routes that information
To you Continue reading

“LUCY AT HER DADS” and “THE ARTIST” by JIM GIBSON

LUCY AT HER DADS 

 

And here I am. ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ on her t-shirt as I tell her to fuck off with all that shouting and that I’m here to see me dad, not you ya dirty sket. And she huffs and seethes as I push her to one side and walk in. I shout and shout before she chirps in with how he don’t wanna see me, how he’s got enough on without me coming round causing problems. I tell her that he shoulda thought of these problems before he had two kids, before he left us alone with a piss-head mam but I know how he really feels. We’ve spent some time together without ‘Dirty Deeds’, sat across the table at Maccy’s, when he said how he wanted me to live with him, how he’d get rid of this ‘bit-on-the-side’ and sort me n Jack out. I think he means it; it’s just not that easy so he’s working it out and not letting on to Her. I shout – DAD, GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW and ‘Dirty Deeds’ laughs so I give her the look and – WHAT THE FUCK YOU LAUGHIN AT YA… and that gets him to the top of the stairs with a – hold on, hold on, I’m coming. She tells him to kick me the fuck out but I stand there and smile as he ushers her into the living room and we both go into the kitchen: without her.

He sits me down at the table and I ask him when he’s gonna kick that bitch out and get me n Jack in and he just shakes his head so I tell him how mum’s been acting up again, about the men that’re always round; how last week we had to eat dog food and brush our teeth before we went out so we didn’t stink of it, then all he ses: I don’t want you comin round here anymore. His words are slow and me head can’t quite grasp them.

_______I

_______________don’t

want

_______________________you…

I tell him how Jack’s got this part in the school play, I mean, only a small one cos he’s not that good at stuff in front of people but he’s got a couple of lines and everything and I tell him the dates and how he should come with me and watch and cheer him on cos Jack’s never done anything like this before and he’s dead nervous and everything so it’d be good if he could come and he ses: I can’t, Lucy. So I say, well you can send him a card at least, I can pick one and bring it round, you just have to put your name on it and I’ll take it, he’ll be well chuffed: No. Continue reading

“HOLY GHOST” by RYAN NAPIER

I.

For a little while, he had a name. This was from 1702, when he was born, to 1747, when he died. After that, people called him “the ghost.”

He was born in Salonika, the oldest son of a dye merchant. He stood to inherit the business, but felt himself called to something higher and simpler, so the dye went to his younger brother, and he entered a monastery. He was eighteen when he took his vows, and was given the monastic name Loukas.

Father Loukas never saw his family again: his monastery, Agio Pneuma, was on the island of Phalaris, five hundred miles southeast of Salonika. He remembered his father and mother and brother in his prayers, but he did not miss them. The monastery had given him dozens of new brothers, and together they worked for the glory of God.

Each brother had his place in the life of the monastery: Father Loukas was the beekeeper. He knew his bees, and his bees knew him. They landed on his habit and his face and his hands, and he was not stung. He walked among them, in the stillness of their hum, and it was in these moments that he knew what the scriptures meant by “the peace that passeth all understanding.”

His greatest sin was the little thrill of pride that ran through his chest when pilgrims or the other brothers praised his honey. He told them that it was not his honey: it was the bees’. But in his heart, he did feel that it was his honey, and he was glad to hear others say so. He confessed this to the abbot, and was forgiven. Continue reading

“Nazoraëru, A bird whose Name is ink ⿃” by FIN SORREL

Now is the fourth shape represented that used to act as the first event.

 

 

In the beginning  “A forlorn child leans against barbed wire, and weaves  sped up, glitched perspectives of faraway forms, like cactus people sitting in lotus position on black hats (no eyes.)

In a clearing of oak trees, on a paisley blanket, (Q.) reaches with glitched out hands into a different stream of objects pouring before her/him/it.

 

Slow, the form staggers from object to object, slow, slow motion.

 

 

Three angles are representers.

 

In the room where blankets cover the large, black hat, (Q’s) arms and legs; (delicate simple lines, rolling beneath slow motion cotton inside, slip faraway the sunset from the bedroom.)

(Quiet.) form of a person sat up once, there had been all-white-light, surfaced from blankets, grandma’s patchwork, wool, and cotton, vomited up cloth creature, a pump of clothing had folded sheets into the apartment room, flooding the steps, consuming the dishes, and counter tops squirmed with octopus, and squids. (Q.) form of a person had been digested up to the elbows that day. Continue reading

CONSTITUTIONS (For the Old Abandoned Building of the Bank) by CHRISTOPHER CLIFTON

Preamble: The following records an understanding of the contract that has brought us here together to agree on what that means. It was written for the purpose of declaring our decision to inhabit this once empty, now communal space; and of providing legal basis for the future of our union. Every clause has been agreed by those here present, who enact our constitution with one voice.

 

  1. The only principle to which we may adhere is that of being here together.

 

  1. The principle of being here together will exclude the application of whichever social system to determine how or what it is to be.

 

  1. We will hold therefore to that which is, not that which should or could be.

Continue reading