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Monday, July 10, 2017

Poetry By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian born author presently residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario Canada. His work has been published both in print and online in such places as The New York Quarterly, Windsor Review, Vallum, The Antigonish Review, CV2, Horror Sleaze Trash, Evergreen Review, Your One Phone Call and In Between Hangovers.


Taking my Meds

We have grown comfortable enough 
in the past few years 
that I can stop and take my medications 
when it is time.

In the past you had to go without
and get twitchy in a pinch.

Shutdown and not say anything.
Caring what others might think.

Now,
I just take the damn 
things.

We have a travel vial
so we’re not carrying giant med cards 
around.

Even the airport people 
don’t give us much trouble 
these days.

There is still a stigma 
sure as bush fires,  
but we are no longer
a part of it.



“Stressors”

It is not good to be both mentally ill 
and poor, 
but the two often seem to go 
together.

As though there are certain personal
and societal “stressors,”
boy do they love that word,
almost as much as the historians climb 
into bed with “aforementioned”

and the many science club girls 
play hopscotch
with “fact.”

Everything is a stressor, what can I say?
Me, you, gravel drives, flashbacks,
water pressure, large crowds,
the price of gas…

And when you can’t get sleep
everything is magnified.

The anxiety and depression and bad thoughts
and behaviours all feeding on one another.

Like a hungry wolf pack tearing you apart
from the inside.

I cannot describe it any better 
than that.

Those that have been they, are there,
live in the dragon’s mouth each moment of the day,
I pray for you.

And I am not a religious man in the least.
This is about you and not some god.

I share your horror 
and in that way we are 
brothers and 
sisters.



Exposure Therapy

If exposure therapy really worked across the board
we would expose everyone to the bubonic 
plague for their own good.

Somehow, I don’t think that would fly.
But they do it with the mentally ill.
As if such a practice is not torture.

Scared of dogs?
Here’s a snarling Rottweiler
three inches from your face
who’d like to get 
closer.

Public speaking is your thing,
lets do that every day until 
you have a heart attack…

When I was an outpatient 
in town
the first counsellor I had used to 
cough in my face each week
as though it was a mistake
and be disappointed when I gave
a reaction.

My second counsellor was smarter.
We didn’t even shake hands.

I remember wanting to tell her once 
that if we bombed all the cities into partial oblivion
that wouldn’t mean people were
now used to bombs, and that 
that was good thing.

But I kept my sane mouth shut 
and smiled.

Like the shining success story 
I was.



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