Silver Tongues by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Silver Tongues

Well after midnight
in a smoked meat delicatessen
with a fleeing Jewish name
I sit by the window
and imagine starting over again,
the cake of my first birthday
a completely different colour,
this cold dark tea in front of me
brought to boil again

and a couple tables over there is
a debate going on,
no one will win because that ship
was sunk half a century
ago

and the new kid knows his meat,
works his knife through it as if breaking
down bodies

and I have been coming here for years
which means the owner is familiar
with my money

I admire the gracious bread riot way
he tells me my money is no good here,
but takes it just the same

and when the working girls come in
the few other tables of patrons
grow quiet

as though they have never seen
real honest work before

they must be students,
who else would argue War Communism
after midnight
when there are Marvin Gaye records
to make out too?

And the working girls
have been coming for years
as well

pulling money from their boots
sure as unleashing trusty peacemakers

the neon sign outside buzzing new moths
into a Bergen-blue death

and the way cinema is going
a handheld camera is your best bet

it may not be Godard,
but it isn’t family Scrabble night
either

the bathroom has two stalls
four urinals
and much graffiti,
but who’s counting?

Not the drunk on one leg
that just hobbled in,
his uneven collar like his uneven
self.

I can already hear his stories.
Bouncing off the walls like trapped flies.

They will cloud my ears
with an idiot’s clatter.

Thinking silver tongues eat for free.
Not seeing the sheer size
or number
of knives behind
the counter.

The unobstructed way the register sits front
and center
so you know this is a place
of business.

Ryan Quinn FlanaganRyan 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.

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