January 19, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Zoriah photo



Ryan Quinn Flanagan




A Group of Young Men with Hammers



The banks had all the money

so their windows were smashed.


By a group of young men with hammers

who knew nothing of basic carpentry.


In dark dress and balaclavas,

throwing spent canisters of tear gas

back at a line of their oppressors.


Who, banging their truncheons against their shields

like the audience at some hard rock concert,

began clearing the streets by force

and making many






The City is Sick



all you can do is live around it


do not let it envelop you

do not let its sickness become

your sickness


this city of sweltering humidity

even at night


running a fever that will not break

the steam from the grates stunk through

with a vile desperate living


shirtless homeless men on stolen bicycles

riding in circles in the street


the many open sores on their bodies

oozing a slow monstrous death


the city is sick

and everyone in it


I lean against a wall short of breath

and become gum-stuck


pooling spit wads along the avenues

a personal minefield to walk



buzzing neon signs I cannot read

failing health inspections


duelling cabbies for the fare


pungent skunk weed from those

you pass in the street


projectile vomit

and the night girls

in heels


a bag lady chasing a raccoon

down the alley with a dirty syringe


the howling end of dayser

off his meds again

the city is sick

and no one wants to



there is no way and no how


my bloodshot eyes follow the office towers

up to sky

and I grow dizzy with concrete



the sleeping bags without faces

bony despondent dogs chained to parking meters

and foaming at the mouth


the city is sick

the city is sick


looking for a way out

the subways have stopped



this city all around me

so that my knee gives out

and I hardly notice.






Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. JD January 23, at 23:48

    Hi Ryan. Two good poems here. The second one said more to me. Congratulations, man!


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