Yellow Mama Archives

Ryan Quinn Flanagan
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It Is Raining

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


The cabbie with bottle cap eyes

and heavy sausage breath

thinks he knows something

about the world.

He keeps talking, eyes barely on the road,

assaulting me with the thick wafting wall

of his ignorance.

He is fat, unclean, and morbidly sober

about it all.

His yellow pit stains

leave moist puddles in the seat fabric

long after he has gone.

I long to escape, but cannot.

I want to kill him, but am a coward.

Poverty has forced us here


in this confined space

like canned sardines

or two paupers thrown into an

open grave.

He is here for the fare.

I need to get to work

and it is raining.

It is always raining.

Hard chilled splats against the windshield, now.

And he will not stop talking.

And the stench of it,

of us,         

is overwhelming.               

I want to jam a flathead screwdriver

up my nostrils,

straight through the frontal lobe.

I want to grab the wheel and steer us

into a ditch.

I want it all to stop.

I close my eyes and hold my breath,

feel myself grow rhubarb red

and dizzy.

Suddenly I feel sausage breath

lean in real close

and nudge me with an elbow:

you don’t say much, do you?




We Regret to Inform You . . .

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

He did not consider himself a writer

like the others were writers;

he had not had his head shots done,

sitting favorably under diffused light;

he had forgotten to pose down near the water

seated on a rock, back to camera,

staring out over the horizon

trying to look profound;

he had not bought a scarf and/or beret

adopted a fake worldliness

to go with his fake accent;

he had not traveled to Europe;

he had not attended any of the wine and cheese,

and now   

it was too late;

the water was too far away,

the connections had been made

in his absence,

the literary world was full of puffer fish

hot on their own



All that was left now

was this room,

this bed.

Laying on his side,

glaring over at the typewriter

by the window.

Hating it

for existing,

like one half

of an old, married




Sour Umbrellas in the Rain


by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

There is, of course, the Cobra Grande

dragging fishermen down river,

and the Mapinguari of the Amazon;

bat-eared, one-eyed, mouth in chest

reeking of purple hell cabbage,

and the metro 2 of Muscovy

in case of nuclear disagreements

and mouthwash

in case of anything


and then there’s the lemon tree

put back      

like a sour umbrella

in the rain

and Vesuvius asleep


like a difficult

child . . .

Bouts of melancholy

deep deep depressions

long nights of general


for you, for me,

for the world.

On the Outs

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

He passed me in the hall

and I smelt gas.

The periodic table

with a practical application.

Grade eleven chemistry class

all over again.

It seemed the job was catching up

with him,

flatulence was a sign of backwards impotence

far as I was concerned,

like watching a condemned man

shave his neck—

bald as


before the hanging,

like making everything



and one day

passing in the hall

I finally told him

as much

and he was less than


about the revelation,

and once the landlord knew

the rest of the tenants

seemed to know

as well,

and soon

I was asked to find another place

to live

like the Jews of Europe

but with half



I Followed in Dumb Wonder

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


I remember the night my friend Jay

said he really needed me to come with him.


I was eager to be dropped back in Letitia Heights

because there were two women

waiting to have a sleepover,

and like a horny seventeen-year-old

I had considered many scenarios

that would never happen.


We drove to a workshop along Essa Road

and entered through the side door.


It looked like a sweatshop

without the Koreans.



working the graveyard.


About a third of the way down the workbench

closest the door

my friend Jay walked up to some kid

like he knew where he was going.


I followed

in dumb wonder.


The army bandana

and leathers,

looking quite the

head case,

I’d imagine.


It seemed unfriendly,

something about a girl.


Then my friend Jay pointed to me.


I did not know what this meant

but I felt I should play my part.


I flashed the 12-inch boning knife

in my jacket

and threatened to stick the kid’s head

in a vise.


The kid looked around the workbench.


There were many vises.


He agreed

to stay away from Jay’s girl

and that was that.


Then we left, and my friend Jay

drove me back to the sleepover

as promised.


And nothing happened,

but I told him after that it did

because it really should have

for no other reason

than numbers.



Please Wait Behind the Line for the Next Available Teller


by Ryan Quinn Flanagan



The line at the bank

is long

and desperate.


All withdrawals,

no deposits.


Sweating and blotchy,

in wrinkly recycled clothes

that haven’t seen a laundry

in weeks.



and cologne

to hide the



They smile

and make nice,

the tellers



One eye on the clock.



it is Tuesday afternoon,

they must make

the liquor store

by six P.M.



Or it’s another dry sleepless night

watching the red minutes

of the alarm clock







Ryan Quinn Flanagan presently resides in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada under 12 feet of snow.  He eagerly awaits the spring thaw or an early getaway to warmer destinations.  His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Quarterly, Yellow Mama, The Windsor Review, and Horror Sleaze Trash. 

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