about mark flanigan
Cincinnati native Mark Flanigan has been writing and performing for over 14 years....Works from his collections Wrong-Way Poems For One-Way Streets, Not Necessarily God Stories and Next to Nothing have appeared in a variety of independent publications and, along with his performances, have garnered critical acclaim. He has also co-written a screenplay (“Midway,” with Brian Keizer), edited a literary publication (omnibscure) and worked to develop, produce and curate various gallery shows and performance readings -- notably, VOLK/c.s.p.i. and Intermedia Series readings at the Contemporary Arts Center and the Weston art gallery. Flanigan’s monthly column, “Exiled on Main Street,” appeared for over three years, first in x-ray, and upon his resignation there, at semantikon.com. Performances of his can be found on “the Volk/c.s.p.i. spoken word series CD (2001),” which he co-produced, and on the CD “One Night Only" (2002).   To learn more about his work, read his blog, review some of the works mentioned above, and listen to additional audio tracks:

For More Visit markflanigan.com
flanigan audio
mark flanigan exiled from archives

Feb 2008: The Salmon Dance

Jan. 2008: A Greater Force
Dec. 2007: And Sometimes It Just Happens
Nov. 2007: Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Happen
October 2007: The Dance
June 2007: Cake
May 2007: Special Edition "Light Travel" mark Flanigan and Steve Proctor
April 2007: Zero Hour
March 2007: Prelude to a Kiss-Off
Jan 2006: State Of The Disunion Address 
Nov 2006: Youngblood
Oct 2006: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
exiled on main street archives

About Artist:

December 2008: This Film Is Not Yet Rated

     You don’t know why you’ve come here, but you have.  You drive into the entrance of the parking garage; wait your turn in line to pay the fee.  Once there, you notice the attendant is sweaty, despite it being cold.  “Five dollars,” he says.  You pay and while handing you a receipt he says with a wink, “Don’t forget to validate your parking on Concourse B.” 
     “I won’t,” you say and drive on slowly.  You loop around the concrete blocks looking for a spot.  You tire of that and park in one that says “Compact.”  What are they going to do?  You get out, light a cigarette on the way to the elevator.  After awhile you look back to see where you parked: 3G the painted pole reads. 
      At the elevator, you push the button but it’s slow to arrive.  You notice the lazy sign by the nearby stairs that states, “Why wait, Feel great!”  Screw you, you soon mutter under your somewhat heavy breath while walking up them.
      Then you come out the other side and notice all the young people milling about excitedly on the square.  You’re reminded that you are no longer young anymore. 
      Or maybe you didn’t elect to go to the multiplex.  You opted instead to go to the art house.  Of course you did, that’s why you are here.
      In which case, you find a parking spot at a meter and walk towards the theatre.  Inside, you had no intention of doing so, but you nonetheless find yourself at the concession stand.  You exclaim, “Oh I want some Sno Caps and a Coke.”  Turning to your friend Kevin, you say, “I want a sugar buzz.”
      You get what you asked for, and move to the ticket taker.  Your friend Kevin whispers to you, “We did some lines before leaving the house and smoked a joint in the car, how many buzzes do you need?”
You laugh.  Then realize Kevin is nowhere around.  You’re alone.  And he’s in North Carolina trying to see his kid.
      You thank the ticket taker.  Walk into the theatre.  Like everyone else, you want to be close but not very.  It’s not hard finding a seat, though.  The theatre is empty.
      Although you’re not surprised, you are still disappointed in a vague way.  You hope you aren’t the only one that chose thusly on this night.
      Maybe you long for some sense of community, but are afraid of articulating as much.
      You sit down, check the seat for comfort.  You wonder why no one can make a comfortable chair. 
      Despite being late, you notice you are early.  There’s an awkward period where you sit under the lights and eat your candy and drink your soda.  A few others meander in but avoid sitting nearby.
      You try your hand at trivia.  Your answers are usually wrong, but you take some pride in that fact.
      Then the lights dim a bit and you have something to watch.  You realize before long that it’s a commercial.  You’re watching a commercial.  You remember a simpler time when the price you paid for your ticket bought you sanctuary from such things.  You’re reminded again that you are neither young nor old.  You think for a moment of how you like the honest place you write for.  And, sometimes, the honest way you do it.
      Once you’re resigned to buying the latest cell phone, the lights dim further.  The track lights rise from out of the floor like an airport runway.  You can’t wait to be transported somewhere else while silently hoping for nice weather. 
      You read: The following PREVIEW has been approved for ALL AUDIENCES. 
Then: The film advertised has been rated PG—Parental Guidance Suggested.  Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children/Thematic Elements, Language And Existential Miasma
      Your seat rumbles.  There’s a subtle uneven breathing sound, part human, part machine.  The screen brightens with a waif-like brunette with white teeth mouthing, “Why don’t you call the cops?”  In the background there’s the sound of merriment and dining.  The actor, looking sober, answers, “I don’t know.”
      The screen cuts to the actor driving in a van filled with boxes and clothes on hangers.  There’s a woman in the passenger seat nodded out.  Her arms are thin and wiry, prematurely aged, corpse-like.  She has tubes in her nose that lead to an oxygen tank that sits on the floor.  There’s a burning cigarette in one of her hands, forsaken and the long ash on top of the cherry resting perilously above the other hand.  The actor looks from the woman to the windshield.  The wipers attempt to keep up with the falling snow.
      Cut to a bar.  There’s an old, distinguished man saying, “I don’t understand what has brought you here.”
      The actor takes a drink from a rocks glass.  “I was moving her, we were traveling through the mountains, but couldn’t get through.  We got a room at a hotel.  I left and I have yet to go back.”
      “How long ago was that?” the man asks.
      The breathing gets louder, accompanied by a heartbeat. 
      Then we are on the thoroughfare.  The snow has piled up, falling beneath the street lamps.  The woman from before—distressed now—is pleading, “How do you know your mother’s dead?  How do you know?”
      The actor, still sober, answers, “She would have called, don’t you think?”
      The woman looks away, the hint of oncoming tears.  Louder breathing, faster beating.
      The actor is running through the streets yelling something indecipherable.  You can’t tell if he is ecstatic or frantic.
      The older man opens the door to his place, sees the drunk, disheveled actor.  “I don’t understand, young man, how you can continue to indulge yourself at a time such as this.”  The actor grins through partly closed eyes.  “What else is there?” he asks.  “You tell me, what else is there?”
      The screen goes blank.  You hear his voice again amid the constricted breathing.  “All I know,” he says, “is that there is something behind that door and I don’t want to know what it is.”
      Eyes open to the interior of a hallway.  Long tracking shot through the corridor as the breathing gets louder and more labored, the heartbeat irregular and somewhat fainter.  “You must find out,” the woman commands.  Close-up on a doorknob, a hand coming into view.  “But I’m so afraid,” the man cries.  He turns the knob to silence, darkness:
      SOMETIMES ONE HAS TO DIE, the screen reads, IN ORDER TO LIVE
      You slouch in your seat, wonder did I park in 3G?  Or was it 2H?
      Then you don’t read: The following PREVIEW has been approved for DISCERNING AUDIENCES only.  The film advertised has been rated R—Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian Angel/Conspicuous Language, Dubious Thematic Material And Specious Motives
            The screen opens on a 1957 Scribner Library edition of A Farewell To Arms.  The pages flip to the dedication.  Above it is an inscription handwritten in cursive:
            Ray C. Lahey
            San Antonio, Texas
            26 Jan 63.
            The Hollywood trailer voice-over states in a deep voice: “Sometimes a book can have a life of its own.”
            Cut to a thirty-something man reading said book in a cozy living room.  His wife or girlfriend sits nearby making jewelry.  “Christ,” the man says, jumping up.   “Look at this,” he implores the girl.  He shows her the last page of the book.   Beneath “The End” it reads:
            2 Feb 63
            “I don’t get it,” the girl says. 
            “What’s the date today?”
            “The second of February.” 
            The man’s eyes go far away.
            Cut to the man in his study.  He looks thinner, is unshaven.  His desk is filled with lit-up computers and phone books, littered with bottles and over-filling ashtrays.  He picks up the phone.  “I know this is strange,” he says into the phone, “but is this by any chance the Ray Lahey that read A Farewell To Arms in 1963?”
            The person on the other end hangs up.  He throws the phone.
            He’s got the book in his hand, showing it frantically again to his girl.  “Christy, could that be an ‘F’?  Could it be ‘Fahey’?”
            The woman is not pleased.  “I don’t know,” she says, “And I don’t understand why it’s so important that you find out.”
            “You don’t understand?  You don’t think it’s interesting that two different people read the same book over the same eight days forty-five years and 1200 miles apart?”
            “Not really, no.  At least it’s not as interesting as what’s happening to us.”
            The man is lost inside his own thoughts.  “Maybe it’s a ‘Z’?  Yeah, that could be it,” he says before jumping off screen and leaving behind the exasperated woman.
            Cut to San Antonio TX 1963.  A serviceman sits in his unbuttoned uniform relaxing in his easy chair.  He holds a fresher copy of the book, is reading intently.  The vague form of a woman stands behind him, comes into focus as she serves tea.  The man picks up the cup wordlessly.  The picture dissolves.
            The Hollywood voice-over asks, “Can a book read well lead to a life well-lived?”
            Back to the present, the man is excited.  “Christy!” he yells running up the steps, stumbling in his excitement.  “Christy, I found him, I found him!”
            Cut to the woman crying.  “I don’t understand why you have to go.”
            The man is packing frantically, throwing things pell-mell into a suitcase.  “I don’t either.”  He stops, “I just know I have to find out what he was thinking, what he was feeling, during those eight days.  There’s something there....”
            We see him driving on the highway with the windows down, the sun up, and an expectant grin on his face. 
            The old man is bedridden.  The younger man hands him the copy of A Farewell To Arms.  There’s a picture of the woman that served him tea on the nightstand next to him.  Weakly, he speaks.  “Life is short,” he says.  “Don’t read.”
            Fade to Black
            COMING February 09.
            You slouch in your chair and wonder who thinks of these ideas.  Or, more importantly, who finances them.  You wish the featured attraction would get here.
            But not before you read The Following Audience has been approved for this Preview.  The film advertised has been rated G—General Audiences.  All Ages Admitted.  For No Drug Use And Concomitant Profanity. 
            The shot opens with yours truly ambling up from Milton’s Tavern to home.  It’s early morning, the light’s coming up and I’m a modern-day Little Tramp but in worse clothes. 
            “From The Producer of ‘The Nights I Forgot To Sleep’ and ‘Acid Notebook’ Comes a Tale of Redemption and Self-Preservation.”
            On me in my room twiddling my thumbs.
            The Hollywood voice-over explains, “This Fall Mark Flanigan will attempt something that has never been done before.  At least not by him.  He will go two months without a drink or drug of any kind.”
            Cut to me at the doctor’s office.  I’m on the table, shirtless.  The doctor has just finished taking my vital signs.  “Well, you seem relatively normal,” he says.  “You’re just a little fat.” 
            Dissolve to the exterior of the Pasadena Recovery Center.  I’m at the door and there’s a tumult inside.  Dr. Drew peeks his head out the door.
            “Can I help you?” he asks.
            “I want to be on Celebrity Rehab,” I say.
            “But you can’t,” he answers calmly.
            “Why not?”
            “Because you’re not a celebrity.”
            “Fuck,” I say.  Then: “Well, only because of my issues I’m not.”
            “Let me ask you this, were you sexually abused as a child?”
            “No, but I wanted to be.  I mean I really tried.  Maybe that’s why I’m so disappointed all the time?”
            “I’m sorry,” he says regretfully, “I can’t help you.”
            “Ah Hell, since I’m here, can I get your autograph?”
            As he obliges the screen reads “FALL 09, Mark Flanigan in HOW TO QUIT.... EVERYTHING.”
            You’ve had enough by now.  Roll the dancing popcorn and the reminder to not enjoy yourself too much. 
            Now we await the featured attraction....