The View From This New York Balcony Where Our Fair Juliet Never Stood

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Contributor: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

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Things should be stretched out, lackadaisical
as a pelican, the words should be extended
like a pig on a spit, roasting and revolving
with leafy worm apple in mouth; the dancing
girls of Polynesia, of captain Cook, of Mutiny
on the Bounty (both versions)
waving banyan leaves under a blue-chilled moon
grass skirt hips-a-whirl, playing tricks on the mind
the same way a hamster wheel makes one
believe in the twin lies of distance and
destination, taking large bail bucket gulps of water
and juggling the sustenance of another day
down into nothing -
and who am I but worn socks and worn patience,
gallant as half the cowards you’ll meet
and hiding behind the others;
my wrinkled flesh is the iguanas wrinkled flesh
flashing hole punch eyes into brain,
there is no love for the cactus as there
is no love for the paedophile as there is
no love for me;
we have been deemed ugly
and undeserving,
there are baby seals to protect,
you see,
little blond girl heads to tie
into pig tails
so Austria can be known for more
than skiing;
and they call me a bitter man because
I live alone, lick my own stamps,
they call me all sorts of names in the
gossip parlours: recluse, malcontent,
some other pejoratives more imaginative
but I don’t mind;
the sky scrapers will still fall away from the sky
like Cinderella slippers of glass,
and architectural marvel, they say,
just think of elevators like birds without

caraway seeds for the jay hawk,
for whistling orange cheeked cockatiels
of a six lane newsprint cage,
repeating the words of their masters
like a double truth,
everything rushed and

Things should be stretched out, lackadaisical
as an unemployment line (without hope), my words e~x~t~e~n~d~e~d
like a lazy beach towel to cover the expanse:
thinking of cinnamon sticks
and bevelled wood into slamming headboard love
and Roman fountains with dirty
unpronounceable names,
of charm bracelets and flatulence
of Sadie Hawkins and summer dandelion heads
removed like the heads of the guillotine-
happy French
blood diamonds big as the
West African

Things should be stretched out like Lautrec
in traction,
flaky pie crust
to the tin baked periphery,
dogs without collars working one off
beside wet cardboard dumpsters
pan-seared daffodils in heat,
a delicate house-broken nonsense
to it all
like the separation of spoons
from forks.

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Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a romantic at heart. Looking for love in all things. Not always an easy love, but love nonetheless.


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