May 22-28, 2023: Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan and Richard Widerkehr

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Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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, Poetry Super Highway, Ink Pantry, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. See his many books on Amazon here.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Ryan Quinn Flanagan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why Can’t I Be a Deck Chair?

It is that time of year.
She is always cold and looking to steal
my body heat.

she says leaning into me
on the couch.

Demanding I put my arms around her.

I can’t, I say
holding my arms out straight.
I’m a deck chair.

You’re not a deck chair!
she grabs my arms and tries to move them.

Now, you broke the arms of the deck chair,
I say.

You’re not a deck chair!
she is adamant.

Why can’t I be a deck chair?
I ask.

Because you should want to show affection,
she says.
To sit and hug me.

What kind of a deck chair would I be
if I did that, I think to myself.

Probably a broken one.


Capone the Pin Boy

Even the boss
has to start somewhere

and Al got a job
as a pin boy at the local
bowling alley

before he was old enough
to enforce his will

and start
knocking things over
all on his own.

Richard Widerkehr

Richard Widerkehr’s fourth book of poems is Night Journey (Shanti Arts Press, 2022).  At The Grace Cafe (Main Street Rag) came out in 2021. His work has appeared in Poetry Super Highway, Writer’s Almanac, Atlanta Review, and in Take A Stand: Art Against Hate (Raven Chronicles).  He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. Sedimental Journey, his novel about a geologist, was published by Tarragon Books. He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.  He is bad at using computers and paying attention to what he is doing.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Big Fat Adult Bar Mitzvah

This year I study with Rabbi Myrna I see
she has a hawk spirit like our father,
strict as Leviticus. When I mention Aaron’s sons,
consumed for putting alien fire in their fire pans,
she says, Let’s hope that doesn’t happen here.
The Sabbath morning of my Bar Mitzvah—
folding tables in our synagogue basement
not set up—I thought Byron was taking care
of that, I say. Rabbi Myrna: Did you even ask him?
Yes. You heard what you wanted to hear.
In her inner office behind the sanctuary,
no attic, no shadows…
………………………………….Now on my road,
smoke from a burn pile, this red-tailed hawk
whistles. Shree,-shree. No, I did not set
the tables of the Lord.

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