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

“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

“REAL ESTATE” by CARL GERCAR

I’ve purchased a house on the west side of Chicago. I think you would like it. It’s very charming.

I only got the house on the west side because it’s so charming and I thought you’d like it. There was a house south of Waukegan that I liked more. It had better foundations and I know the neighborhood. Or I knew the neighborhood, it changes every few years. The leaves get orange and red and brown and fall off and dust away, and the people get older and crazier and start voting Republican, and the places I loved are demolished or covered in graffiti by some kids that don’t see the world like we did. Then we grew out of passenger-seat romances and into homebody holidays. We thinned out and shrank up and took up more room than we needed but less room than we wanted.

You didn’t re-sign the lease to our apartment in Waukegan. I know that because I saw you walking your dog on the west side of Chicago. I bought the house that same day. The garage has enough room for my car and your car and maybe a little art studio. I don’t know if you still paint or not. I haven’t tried to find out, and no one will tell me anything about you anyway.

I think people are concerned that I’m losing it. Continue reading

RICH PARENTS by MCRUMPS


blood red wine glass in mommy’s pale hands
does nothing to tame the wild
bestial children of comfort gnawing rats
disease oozing down exorcist steps pollen
snotgreen in rain pools egg yolk riverfalls
down exorcist steps down to the river like
backseat schoolbus yellow piss stream
river touching leather baby shoe with new car smell
of fresh blood stillborn wanting unborn wanting
flowing downriver in snotgreen ooze
flowing to a pee-pee and plastic ocean new life
semen pollen snot kindergarten new car smell
noseblow like broken egg splatter
of decaying blood vampire devil children
kindergarten wanting all-giving mommy mommy rotting
egg stench new car smell steps into pee-pee water
down exorcist steps idle vampire blood
comfort excess in idle tower bonethin
plastic grandmother diamond encrusted
horse teeth woman driven by migrant au pairs
devil children ass encrusted with candy shit
ass wiped by dark race of surplus labor mothers but
bonethin plastic grandmother never had to work a day in her life
sick green preripe unborn fruit unborn thoughts
hopeless birth into degenerate world Continue reading

“EXTRA WONDERFUL SENSATIONS” by XIM XOM

Extra wonderful sensations spontaneously bombard you at Office Max, causing you to lose focus on choosing which trapper keeper you will take to the first day of 4th grade.

You turn to your mom and say to her the most beautiful combination of words ever uttered in the history of the English language.

She goes white as a sheet and falls to her knees.

They close the store early and just give you the binder for free.

A week later, you are sitting across from Ellen trying to remember what you said.

Everyone is getting impatient. You can hear rustling in the audience. You fidget in your chair, uncertain what to do next.

You close your eyes. Continue reading