three poems, by ryan quinn flanagan

my friends

My friends found it funny that I was trying to kill myself.
I was starving poor, a runaway.
They took turns providing the drink and drugs.
Called me “poor boy” and laughed whenever I blacked out.
Waking up on strange basement couches with stale
popcorn kernels through my new wisp chest hair.
My bouncing basketball head each time I woke.
Unable to remember anything, sometimes for days.
So that my friends took great joy in the circus,
at least two of the girls trying to form a suicide pact with me

that they had no intention of fulfilling so I would finally do it.
So they could all be shocked in the local newspaper.
Get a little air time shedding the crocodiles
for the emaciated 118 pound “poor boy”
who finally did it.

it seems a lot of Russians have been falling out of windows of late

Everyone is working under a strain, there is no time to properly
setup your hits
or plans of care or anything…

It seems a lot of Russians have been

falling out of windows
of late,
doctors falling out of hospital windows after they
criticize or disagree with the official policy response
to this latest outbreak.

3 doctors in one week, all fell out of windows,
must be a problem there with Vertigo
among healthcare professionals.

One only fell from the second floor and survived,
though he is in critical condition and “not expected
to make it” according to state media.

His colleague came out and said he was tossed out the window
for making it public that he was being told to continue working
with no protective gear even after he contracted the virus,
but after meeting with the police, his colleague has had time to reflect
and has gone on video to officially recant

his earlier statement
in the presence of the leading doctor and state officials.

He was “emotional in the moment,”
but is doing much better now.

Hopefully it was enough to ensure his balance
remains a little more proficient than all the others.


pulsing with hunger

The religious nut that starved us
said she would poison my little brother
if I told anyone.

So we sat fenced in her backyard.
My parents paying her each week to babysit us.
While she fed her own kids and left my little brother
and I out in that dirt yard along Bernick Drive.

My brother crying because he was so hungry.
As I covered his mouth so
she wouldn’t hear.

When I finally told my parents,
they got mad at me.
Told me I failed to look out for
my little brother.

Even though I was just eight or nine myself.
Sent straight to bed without dinner.

Which seems ironic now,
but just seemed highly unfortunate
at the time.

I was SO hungry!
Pulsing with hunger.
My stomach making all these sounds
I could not.

Punished for the crimes of others.
Digging under my rib cage, trying to reach
my heart.

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