Two Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Mr. Wexler Checks On His Garbage  

Mr. Wexler checks on his garbage,  
at the end of a long stone drive.  

Stands over it inspecting the bags for holes.  
Checking and rechecking to make sure
the ties are still taut
before standing with pygmy hands on hips, 
looking both ways down to the end of the street.  

Wondering if there is something wrong with his garbage.
They should have been by already.
He has not forgotten that one time they didn’t
take it.  

He stands and waits for the truck.
Watches over them now.  

Expecting them to refuse him.
Standing a few moments in surprise.  

Watching the truck lumber up the street  
with his rubbish.  

Before rushing back inside to start
all over again. 



Swaddled and soused,  
the rambling mouth of riverbed curses  
pub crawling along with papa legba garden sluggery;  
Belief just a forger, your superstitions gathered like 
the horizon-absent clouds, chants and charms of 
bedazzled macaw where one would pry open the can
and look deep down for Reason –
what is left around the cauldron is a singular leprosy,
tears in stockinged feet that spill out over lonely mesh:
a spell, a speak, and where your broom to sweep?
Devoid of dark and arts and those who would readily listen,
my ears turned to corn stocks sold at market
by the bushel.  



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

AGED by Edward Lee


A hermit crab
has taken my skull
as its own,
scooping out my brain
to fall on the wet sand
of the beach
I used to
wander on
as a child
alive with dreams
and possibilities,
manifold paths stretching before me,

a beach I don’t recall
coming to today –
and yet here I am,
somehow – or any day
of my crowded adulthood,
the paths before me fewer,
their surfaces cracked
with weeds one might mistake
for flowers.


Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales.  His play ‘Wall’ was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

His blog/website can be found at

Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom by Howie Good


Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom

Mother awakened me in the morning. There was now a lake of ash where there had never been
one and behind it a pair of wrinkled mountains like a giant’s cracked, dusty boots. Birds on a
fence idiotically chanted, “Sh-boom, sh-boom.” I picked up a stone and threw it without taking
careful aim. Some people who were passing would later say the expression on my face made
everything worse. I hadn’t even realized I was smiling.


Life there felt a lot like life elsewhere – steel bars on windows and suicide nets on roofs.
Hatchet-faced men in leather trench coats would grab people right off the street. The last words
of a prisoner were eerily prophetic. “Ah,” he said, “the cows. . .” Work parties threw the corpses
in ovens or down wells, often slaving at rifle point through the night.


The angels were dry-mouthed and sweaty and feeling like they hadn’t slept for days. A rogue
herd of cows in gas masks had stampeded. I stared out at the sign by the church when I should
have been watching the road. Love Like Jesus, it said. Nice sentiment, I thought, as the sun sank
in a profusion of toxic colors, a ship full of chemicals burning intently at the edge of the world.



Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).