Poetry by Michael Flanagan


Last month this man, whose daughter
hangs out with mine, younger than me
at forty, died. No obituary needed to tell
you he will never smell rain again, or
step into a pool of water. It is true, more
of my life is behind me then ahead.
Frazey Ford sings, Broken Telephone,
and my lip quivers. There is no hope
I will be a rock and roll star. I don’t
seem to be a traveler either. When
I walked, all those miles, all those
years in New York City, I was alone,
and I thought strange things. Most
of it was empty, but it was the freest
I’ve ever been. I hope one day not to
care enough to lie to be liked, I hope
to be myself, absolute and contained.
Twenty years of life, if there’s that
much left. Twenty Octobers of good
crisp air, twenty summers of heat.
Michael Flanagan died today. But it
wasn’t me, I never pitched for the
Baltimore Orioles. There is a chance,
you know, new lives form everyday,
flights leave daily, for Amsterdam,
California. Tomorrow I might say to
my neighbor, when we meet in our
driveways, and he speaks of such
things, I don’t care about your lawn,
what you use to clear it of weeds,
I don’t care that you waxed your
car, and it’s been raining each day
since. It’s hardly personal friend,
but the hour is growing near.

Two Roads

Green leaves, fat trees, the orchard too
with flies, ticks, cold dusk. What you
see could be drawn differently. From the
womb you come and go. Two roads
converge in a mother’s heart. Tuesday
the doctor examined every orifice. Blood
was drawn. They marked you a clean
bill of health, set an appointment for one
year. In the cool, late morning, twenty
minutes of leisure, before you wonder
what button might be loosed in an hour,
might turn all this sour. The globe in
the air. The space between walls. The
linoleum on the floor of the kitchen in
your childhood home. Turn right at the
corner. The Korean deli with a bright,
pretty young thing at the counter. Buy
an apple, bite into juice, pulp and skin.


About Michael Flanagan

Michael A. Flanagan was born in the Bronx, N.Y. and raised in the New York metropolitan area. Poems and stories of his have appeared in many small press periodicals across the country, most recently in Nerve Cowboy, New York Quarterly, Patterson Literary Review and Tribeca Poetry Review. His chapbook, A Million Years Gone, is available from Liquid Paper Press.