Poetry Drawer: Tyre Swing Hung from Tree: Steps: What I Need: Acetylene Torch: Missive by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Tyre Swing Hung from Tree

Not a single child about,
just this single tyre swing hung from tree,
one of those thick ropes that you only see
in school gymnasiums that burn the palms
of those forced to climb them,
and the base of the tyre overflowing
with two days of fresh rain,
a couple old gutter leaves
and the word “Bridgestone” still legible
in smudged off white lettering,
the tread worn down,
but not as much as you would think,
a littering of fresh acorns and pine needles
I smell before I ever see.


One way up and one way down,
ants in the cracks like a brazen tactile army
forever on manoeuvres, a long railing in the middle
of the steps for faltering balance, fashion before walking shoes,
and at the top some say the best views
and at the bottom no one says anything,
elbowing past one another on the way to melting
ice creams and dirty fryer grease;
more steps, but not the ones everyone came
so far to climb this time.

What I Need

What I need is nothing from you,
what I want, more of the same,
to flounce the wooden hall out of its spine-creaked incipience
would be a non-starter, the way the man with the pistol
calls all the runners back to their blocks,
numbers pasted across sinewy thighs, a crowd for cheering’s sake;
you can always tell the pleasers, the panderers,
the one-night standers –
I enjoy the quiet and for that no one is required,
only their absence and maybe mine for short stretches,
one quite noticeable, the other a stalking jaguar
through meaty rubricate mangroves.

Acetylene Torch

The oxygen is important,
your tired lungs could have told you that,
but sometimes it takes an acetylene torch behind
heavy boxcar welder face to cut through the metal-precious
way a man can climb on a city bus and think himself
Tarzan of the Apes or your never best lover;
all those sparks that burn right through the pant leg
and cause journeymen Jim to jump right out of his grunts:
runaway unibrow, steel-toed clunkers,
a few pints on the weekend…
that numb is important,
the way we chase it like a man-eating tiger
just out of stripes –
fall into beds imagining jungle-thick waterfalls
that swallow down all the screams
you never once offered.


I did not write because I felt no importance in such grand gestures
that link a chain with lengthy missive, the ink still wet and already a reply,
harebrained in both posture and sentiment;
I wished upon silent anomalies, constructed a wall of figs for seed dispersal
although I failed to ever entertain such fruitful bounties
as my sense would not allow for such churlish diversions –
have you seen the way the elderly grow crippled well before their time,
housed and snowed and pampered into the afterlife?
I am alive as this gangly spider of a soup here
brought to mild simmer,
a dash of pepper to pry the door,
balls of tissue lying around like snotty little opium
addicts weaning off the big sleep,
at least that is what the scoop of scoops is told;
that thick oily newsprint man trying to keep up with the times
which I would hardly recommend, to you or anyone else.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, Impspired Magazine, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. 

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