Ace Boggess “Rock Garden”

 

 

Rock Garden

Stacked in awkward symmetry, 
fenced to keep the lot in place
like cattle. Grays, browns, 
opalescent pearls—monolith to pebble, 
they ride backs of one another
like children at play in the schoolyard mud.
Not even faded orange of a cigarette butt
has landed on this isle to blight it.
Old earth reclaimed by eminent domain:
what the city loses, we regain.

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—MisadventureI Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It SoUltra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press in 2021.

 

More By Ace Boggess:

“And Why Am I a Free Man?”

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”

“Are Your Emotions More Or Less Intense?”

 

Image Credit: William Henry Jackson “Balanced Rock, Garden of the Gods” (1880) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Revisiting 2019: Our 50 Most Popular Posts of the Year

 

Dear As It Ought To Be Magazine Readers,

As we enter the next decade, I want to thank all of the writers and readers who have made our tenth year so successful. I take enormous pride in working with so many talented and inspiring writers. Without your brilliance and generosity of spirit and intellect, none of this would be possible. It has been a great privilege to publish your work on our site, and I hope to continue featuring diverse perspectives, challenging ideas, and unique voices for years to come. As a way to look back on what we accomplished in 2019, I have complied the 50 most popular posts of the year based on internet traffic and clicks.

Thank you again to everyone who wrote for, read, and promoted AIOTB Magazine in 2019. Let the 20s roar again!

Chase Dimock
Managing Editor

 

Poetry

Jason Baldinger:

Ishrat Bashir:

Jai Hamid Bashir:

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal:

Jeffrey Betcher:

Ace Boggess:

Daniel Crocker:

John Dorsey:

Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

Tony Gloeggler:

Nathan Graziano:

Cord Moreski:

Jeanette Powers:

Stephen Roger Powers:

Jonathan K. Rice:

Kevin Ridgeway:

Damian Rucci:

Anna Saunders:

Larry Smith:

Nick Soluri:

William Taylor Jr.:

Alice Teeter:

Tiffany Troy:

Bunkong Tuon:

Agnes Vojta:

Kory Wells:

Brian Chander Wiora:

Dameion Wagner:

 

Nonfiction

Daniel Crocker:

Nathan Graziano:

John Guzlowski:

Cody Sexton:

Carrie Thompson:

 

Reviews 

Chase Dimock:

Mike James:

 

Photo Credit: Fire Works At New Year’s Eve via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

“And Why Am I a Free Man?” By Ace Boggess

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“And Why Am I a Free Man?”
         —Paulo Coelho, The Zahir  

time is the most valuable element
on any periodic table

spend it
give or lose it
wear it around one’s neck like gold

or clamped on wrists
like iron shackles

breathing it in takes a moment
but the exhale lasts a lifetime

less with good behavior

I mined years for their raw hours
spent & spent

another dinner in some sad café

 

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

More By Ace Boggess:

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”

“Are Your Emotions More Or Less Intense?”

 

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “View from the inside of the clock face on Portland, Oregon’s, historic Union Station’s 150-foot-high tower” (2018) The Library of Congress

“Are Your Emotions More or Less Intense?” By Ace Boggess

 

 

“Are Your Emotions More or Less Intense?”
                                    [rehab workbook]

I went to a psychic, & she told me I have an old soul,
says the Starbucks barista who resembles Cameron
Diaz, who’ll never be an old soul because she’s caught on film,

childlike. I want to reply with a trite line,
but what comes out is Thanks for the latte,
my thoughts too cluttered for quantum entanglements &

small talk. At eight, I was old, my eyes calculating
trajectories of escape, scanning my slightly-
feminine watch to figure out how long I had to wait.

My brain made other plans rather than commit
to now. Mind-weary, head-worn, terrified
back then. Emotions stop aging for an addict,

according to the texts, as long as drugs
maintain their grip: if true, I’m in my twenties—
anxious, desperate for attention, happy for strange words

from the woman who makes hot drinks, despite
how I answer: hesitant, uncertain, my hand reaching
for the steel grip of the door more than half a room away.

 

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

More By Ace Boggess:

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”

 

Image Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Marble Bust of a Youth” (140 AD)

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?” by Ace Boggess

 

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”
                           [rehab workbook]

Couldn’t afford the cost of words.
I snorted sentences, gambled paragraphs
on Texas Hold’em—no limit.
My wallet left me in stanzas of regret.
Someone would’ve placed a lien on my house.
Someone would’ve called the cops
if I hadn’t invited them first.

I wrote, wept, raved, & spent,
chewed bad checks like after-dinner mints.

Was it the drugs that broke me, or the prose?
We never know what value to place
on what we want. I wanted
to etch my unconscious thoughts on rocks.

Did I love the pills? I loved them: little songs
I could sing to me, pay-to-play,
the tab so great I’d be muzzled
if I wasted coins on anything but wishes.

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

Image Credit: Jacob Byerly “Portrait of a Man” (1855) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.