Ryan Flaherty


Live from the Woodley Park Marriott, Washington, DC, Part 1

The Anatomy Lesson for the Waiting reads:

without a verifiable body
the appropriate scalpel can prove

difficult to choose, but remembering
where you are is always

the first incision. The dark half
of day will recede into a copse

of lines. What did I do instead
of yesterday?

Stevens says, and I quote:
quotations are fatal to letters

but allow me one from Amherst:
for winter is coming on as it always was
there: have you the little chest—to

Put the alive—in? And have you a good stock
of roots and wool to flint warmth against
your skin? Are your slippers honed and

honest with the floor? I would say no,
but since I must imagine you
wanting the stories behind the story

perhaps we should look there:


Live from the Woodley Park Marriott, Washington, DC, Part 2

A:        A man is dragging his trashcan

            to the curb. As I pass
            he is listening to a woman whistle

            in an alley way, ten states

            over, six years ago, but really
            he is trying not to break
            his neck on the ice. It is clear

            without blur of brightness.

B:       He has ridden hard up a hill,
           blood and oxygen
           like another animal beat

           heavily within him. Turtled,

           on its back, his bike wheels
           turn through tar and bird call,
           stop lights and burning.

C:        Marie Antionette had a lap
            of luxury, which caught
            up with her. On the eve

            of the guillotine, her hair
            turned white. All stories
            love a good chase.



These are selections from a long series I cobbled together on 3 x 6 foot sheets of paper tacked to a door propped up in my attic. The material had been collected over two years, written on slips of paper and thrown in a box. Strange, how things written over years and moods fit together.