Consolation Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Consolation – Poem by Wislawa Szymborska

They say he read novels to relax,

But only certain kinds:

nothing that ended unhappily.

If anything like that turned up,

enraged, he flung the book into the fire.

True or not,

I’m ready to believe it.

Scanning in his mind so many times and places,

he’d had enough of dying species,

the triumphs of the strong over the weak,

the endless struggles to survive,

all doomed sooner or later.

He’d earned the right to happy endings,

at least in fiction

with its diminutions.

Hence the indispensable

silver lining,

the lovers reunited, the families reconciled,

the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded,

fortunes regained, treasures uncovered,

stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways,

good names restored, greed daunted,

old maids married off to worthy parsons,

troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,

forgers of documents tossed down the stairs,

seducers scurrying to the altar,

orphans sheltered, widows comforted,

pride humbled, wounds healed over,

prodigal sons summoned home,

cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean,

hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation,

general merriment and celebration,

and the dog Fido,

gone astray in the first chapter,

turns up barking gladly

in the last.

On Death Without Exaggeration Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

On Death, Without Exaggeration – Poem by Wislawa Szymborska
It can’t take a joke,

find a star, make a bridge.

It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,

building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,

it has the final word,

which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done

that are part of its trade:

dig a grave,

make a coffin,

clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,

it does the job awkwardly,

without system or skill.

As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,

but look at its countless defeats,

missed blows,

and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough

to swat a fly from the air.

Many are the caterpillars

that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,

tentacles, fins, tracheae,

nuptial plumage, and winter fur

show that it has fallen behind

with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help

and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat

is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.

Babies’ skeletons grow.

Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves

and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent

is himself living proof

that it’s not.

There’s no life

that couldn’t be immortal

if only for a moment.


always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob

of the invisible door.

As far as you’ve come

can’t be undone.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan | Six Poems

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.



Accumulation is Sweeping the Nation


She doesn’t have to pay any rent so she

wastes money elsewhere.  Has three shit boxes in the driveway,

only one of them actually starts.

She thinks of them as status symbols

instead of shit boxes in much the same way

a hoarder is wealthy because they have collected

seven rooms of floor-to-ceiling magazines.

But this one, the mouth on her; she’s a real treat:

has a Nile monitor, three dogs, a python, two birds, one cat,

and many goldfish…more symbols of her perceived wealth,

no doubt.  Never putting out any garbage.  Making $15/hr…a true giant of

finance.  Her boyfriends all low functioning and on parole

and cheating on her with other girls that only have one car

and no pythons.  She can’t understand it.

They probably throw out their garbage

as well.



Love is a Motherfucker


I spill my beer

on his kitchen floor

on New Year’s Eve


Nerve damage.


An old work injury

from years of menial



In the next room

his coke dealer lays out a few lines

on a cd case.


Running back into the kitchen

he tells me he loves this woman

my wife works with

on a sex line.


I tell him she entertains

many strange men

one after the



Much unprotected sex.


That syphilis

can be common as



But still

he is not deterred.


This is love,

he is certain.


I give him her beeper

and he leaves

a message.



Global Warming


The vomit was yellow and chunky

and drying

at the foot of a mailbox

and I thought of global warming,

how vomit could not stay wet anymore

and all the blood too, that metallic smell,

the darkened colour it becomes when it coagulates

and the piss of course,

don’t forget the many piss trails

of the city

that are also dry and yellow

but not at all chunky like

the vomit.


Science is fun.

Not the science of highschool science class

but rather the science of myself:


bending over to fart,

trying to send a butterfly

to the moon.



Our Man in Europe


The house is gutted, the fish too,

both house and fish gutted as we all are

our innards strewn over the grass line

left for the flies –

and our man in Europe pulls his hair out

over the markets



he screams

the rollercoaster of the markets

that mean less than buzzing dung piles

down 136 points in sweaty sporting team absentia

the man or woman in bed beside you

kissing the hangman’s ample neckline

more bad sex than bad driving

folding chairs and folding people

everyone giving it up, going through the motions

it’s deplorable really, the whole shebang…

leaky faucets and leaking bladders

the drywall and the insulation pulled out of the walls

until there is nothing left

not even the heart

everything disembowelled







Try to Explain Girl on Girl Porn to the Mother

of Your Child


Say popular things

and you will have

many friends.


Say unpopular things

and it gets guilty show trial lonely

very fast.


The boo birds out in numbers.

Try to explain girl on girl porn to the

mother of your child.


Like sitting up in bed

trying to give yourself



No one likes the truth.



or anyone



Why do you think

there are so many lawyers

in the world?



to explain away

your many shortcomings

when you cannot.





A child outside

cries because he has struck out



His father tells him to stop swinging like a girl

while his mother and a few of her drunk friends

sit on the back deck cackling,

booing each time the child

strikes out.


And he hasn’t hit one yet.

It’s been this way for hours.


You think they’d throw the kid a bone

now and then

but what do I know?


I guess he’ll be used to striking out

when he’s older:

with women

with jobs

with expectations,

like all the