Sunday, January 28, 2018

Looking for Sven

—Poems and Photos by Ryan Quinn Flanagan, 
Eliot, Ontario, Canada


It’s the end of the world again.
Every few weeks some crackpot comes out
of the woodwork announcing our impending doom,
and since they have papers on their walls from the university
the news keeps reporting this nonsense
over and over again.
I guess someone will be right someday
just playing the percentages,
but right now they’re wrong as hell.
Even Hawking has got on board the apocalypse train,
though I think his mind left the station
some time ago.       
But it’s the end of world.   
Just as it was last month and the month before that.
All I know is that there is garbage to be put out
and dirty dishes in the sink that won’t clean themselves.
That is what I know.   
The doomers and gloomers can have their shit show.
I’ll have a nap, and perhaps something spicy for dinner.



We get to our holiday spot by the beach
and there are two psychics
within a block.
They have set up shop
across from one

A psychic turf war,
I warn the missus.

California is a funny place.
And not just for the forest fires
that start by themselves.

If you want your palms read like the Cantos,
it’s going to cost ya.

And the taxes would seem crazy
if I were not Canadian.

Making friends with a cat on the beach.
While the sand fleas bounce off my legs
on their way to other things.


Before the competition
he asked his father to shave his hind quarters
and legs
with a Bic razor
and lather his body with butter
for the documentary film crew that had gathered
in their home
so he could stand in front of the bathroom vanity
and flex for a couple
Narcissus was a negative Nancy.
Mr. Universe still wets his bed.

The competition still days away,
he had much lifting
to do.

And a needle to stick in his ass
whenever the cameras weren’t looking
so he could hang with
all the rest

when it mattered.



because high noon
seems a little early to agree
to meet anyone
for anything.

I sleep in late
am allergic to caffeine
so I don’t float around on that
good coffee buzz like everyone

It is difficult for me to wake up.

Plus, I don’t have a gun.
Hard to have a standoff
without that.

And I’ve never rode a horse,
not once.

I like my drink, so I got that covered.
But once I start, I go until sunup
and the hangovers are awful,
which is why noon hardly ever happens
for me.

 Winter Snow Road


She says it is good to think of other people
and I tell her it is not,
that it is awful to think of other people
and what they may or may not
be doing.

You know what I mean, she says,
we should pick my aunt up something
from the gift shop while we are here.

She says her aunt likes things with her name on it,
so it’s between a coffee mug and a key chain.
We settle on the key chain because she thinks
we may have already gotten her aunt a mug.

The girl at the cash does not want to be there.
She does not hide it well, and I can hardly blame her.

When we leave, a bell rings over the door.
The girl at the cash already back to playing
on her phone.



They drove the twenty miles outside town
down this dirt road off the interstate
a few nights a week
parking their pickup trucks facing each other
four trucks with their running lights on
and one with a radio tuned to the doo wop station
out of Austin
so they could practice their barbershop quartet
harmonies in peace
and tighten their act for when the Mennonites
who ran the local Farmer’s Market
came calling.

 Winter Fog


There is a knock at the door
and I get up to answer it.
You Sven?, some scantily clad white girl
in insane heels asks.
No, I answer.
She pulls her night planner out
and scrolls down the appointments:
Sven…half and half for $120
Luxor room **** 10.45 pm.

I’m not Sven, I shrug.
She throws her arms in the air
and walks back towards the elevators
Who was that?
my new wife asks
coming out of the
Someone looking for


Today’s LittleNip:
Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

—E.L. Doctorow


Our thanks to Canadian Ryan Quinn Flanagan for his fine poetry and today's photos of life up his way! Ryan was first featured on Medusa on April 29, 1915. Read more about him at


Ryan Quinn Flanagan
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