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
and the new kid knows his meat,
works his knife through it as if breaking
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
as though they have never seen
real honest work before
they must be students,
who else would argue War Communism
when there are Marvin Gaye records
to make out too?
And the working girls
have been coming for years
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
the bathroom has two stalls
and much graffiti,
but who’s counting?
Not the drunk on one leg
that just hobbled in,
his uneven collar like his uneven
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
of knives behind
The unobstructed way the register sits front
so you know this is a place
Ryan 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.