Jenna K Funkhouser: “Persephone”




and what now / shall I write?

the trees armor against obsession / they are lucid / never
drink anything but the rain / and when the rain sings
to them / in their beds / they call it god /

oh when you came / in a hail of arrows
and leaves / and the wild deer / that night lightning
reversed / swallows went north / fig trees forgot
to worship / the sun /

there were Aprils / shouting your name.


About the Author: Jenna K Funkhouser is an author and nonprofit communicator living in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has recently been published by the Oregon Poetry Association, Write Around Portland, and the Catholic Poetry Room, among others; her first book of poetry, Pilgrims I Have Been, was released in October 2020.


Image Credit: Flore médicale Paris :Imprimerie de C.L.F. Panckoucke,1833-1835. Public Domain Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Steve Brisendine: “Working Out a Splinter at Three O’clock on Good Friday Afternoon”





Working Out a Splinter at Three O’clock on Good Friday Afternoon

You can’t go easy, get the big bits out
and call it good –

not if you want it all gone,
not if it’s buried, broken off
deep as the things that prick
at your dreams
when you sleep all the way through Saturday.

You have to keep at it until it all runs clear,
like there’s water in the blood.

Then it’s clean.

Then it’s finished.

There will be a scar.



About the Author: Steve Brisendine is a writer, poet, occasional artist and recovering journalist living in Mission, Kansas. His poetry appears in the third and most recent volume of the 365 Days Poets anthology and in The Rye Whiskey Review. His first collection of poems, The Words We Do Not Have, is due out in spring 2021 from Spartan Press.


Image Credit: Fritz Henle “Wood pile at the Orton farm, Marshfield, Vermont” (1942) The Library of Congress

Two Poems by Bill Gainer






Doing Dishes 

She left a kiss
on the edge of
a glass.
I’ll wash that one


Eating Ribs

Save the bones
pass them down
the babies first
then the dogs
need something
to gnaw on –
keep the teeth
Learn the taste
of red meat.




About the Author: Bill Gainer is a storyteller, humorist, an award winning poet, and a maker of mysterious things. He earned his BA from St. Mary’s College and his MPA from the University of San Francisco. He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium (Grass Valley, CA). Gainer is internationally published in such journals and magazines as: The Huffington Post, Sacramento News and Review, The Oregonian, Sacramento Bee, Chiron Review, Tule Review, Cultural Weekly, The Lummox Press, Poems for All, Red Fez, River Dog Zine #1, Rose of Sharon, and numerous others. His latest book is: “The Mysterious Book of Old Man Poems.” Gainer is known across the country for giving legendary, fun filled performances. Visit him in his books, at his personal appearances, or at his website:


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Paint and Wine Glass” (2021)



Jason Baldinger: “let go of atlantis”



let go of atlantis

jerry believes in ivory soap
he believes in starched collars
his spine is straight
he says all the flying plagues
of florida are near sited
don’t give them room to smell

I missed the manatees
out in some cove near
the launch pad that’s etched
in our consciousness
I see it in the rearview
and I want to write about
shoveling snow as a boy
about dreams exploding
about hot cocoa
and christa mcauliffe

jerry says for fifteen bones
they’ll give me a sea kayak
I can paddle over the surf
to a barrier island all my own

out there cooking hamburger
helper over a pocket rocket
Ill turn back/ahead time
ill forget my couth
and go native

going native is a racist term
meant to minimize
the people who were killed
so this land could be our land
a universe of violence

it seems that every inch
of this land is steeped
in blood, I wonder
if a barrier island
off the coast of the atlantic
may be one of the few places
I can step where that blood
doesn’t well up a hot spring
of unacknowledged history

I’m gonna stay out
an island a mile away from
civilization, the sun paints
the sky every twelve hours
every day the ocean
steps a little higher
when it reaches my neck
Ill know its time
to let go of atlantis



About the Author: Jason Baldinger is bored with bios. He’s from Pittsburgh and misses roaming around the country writing poems. His newest book is A Threadbare Universe (Kung Fu Treachery Press) with The Afterlife is A Hangover (Stubborn Mule Press) coming soon. His work has been published widely across print journals and online. You can hear him read his work on Bandcamp and on lp’s by the bands The Gotobeds and Theremonster.


More Poetry by Jason Baldinger:

This Ghostly Ambience

It was a Golden Time

Beauty is a Rare Thing


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Sunrise on a Florida beach ” (2014) The Library of Congress


Poetry Soundbite: A Reading and Interview with Bunkong Tuon



Welcome to AIOTB Magazine’s second Poetry Soundbite, an on-going series of poetry readings and interviews. For this edition, we welcome Bunkong Tuon, a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of GruelAnd So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It (Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (a chapbook with Joanna C. Valente, Yes Poetry). He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, NY. He tweets @BunkongTuon

Below the video, you can find links to the poems from Tuon’s reading.



From Bunkong Tuon’s reading:

“Our Neighborhood in Revere, MA”

“Snow Day”

“Tightrope Dancer”

“Women’s March in Albany”

“My Mother on Her Deathbed”

Ivan Jenson: “Last Call”



Last Call

why didn’t you
say this
when we were
both beautiful
I mean look at us now
our shoes are shinier
than our complexions
and when was the last time
we were complimented
by our own reflections
at this stage we would rather
sleep too damn much
than search the city at night
for a stranger selling
the soft drug called touch
anyway you say
you still know your way
around a midnight mattress
and this time
I won’t mix and match
my feelings
or misplace your
rusty red kiss



About the Author: Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and popular contemporary poet who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His artwork was featured in Art in America, Art News, and Interview Magazine and has sold at auction at Christie’s. Ivan was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to make a painting titled Absolut Jenson for the brand’s national ad campaign. His Absolut paintings are in the collection of the Spiritmusuem, the museum of spirits in Stockholm, Sweden.

Jenson’s painting of the “Marlboro Man” was collected by the Philip Morris corporation. Ivan was commissioned to paint the final portrait of the late Malcolm Forbes.  Ivan has written two novels, Dead Artist and Seeing Soriah, both of which illustrate the creative and often dramatic lives of artists. Jenson’s poetry is widely published (with over 600 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. A book of Ivan Jenson’s poetry was recently published by Hen House Press titled Media Child and Other Poems, which can be acquired on Amazon. Two novels by Ivan Jenson entitled, Marketing Mia and Erotic Rights have been published hardcover.

Ivan Jenson’s new psychological thriller novel The Murderess is now available on Amazon for preorder and will be published June, 1, 2021 by Dark Edge Press, UK. Ivan Jenson’s website is:
Image Credit: Russell Lee “Truck full of mattresses in front of mattress factory. San Angelo, Texas ” (1939) The Library of Congress

John Dorsey: “The Prettiest Girl at Dirty Frank’s Bar”



The Prettiest Girl at Dirty Frank’s Bar

helped take the stools down every morning
& wore an eyepatch to keep out sunlight
& bad decisions

she hung art on the walls
just below a faded banner
for budweiser

& she talked about the moon landing
while dancing in a circle
with her arms out
to properly explain
the laws of gravity.



About the Author: John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017),Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019),Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020) and The Prettiest Girl at the Dance (Blue Horse Press, 2020. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize. He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at


More By John Dorsey:

Anthony Bourdain Crosses the River of the Dead

Punk Rock at 45

Perpetual Motion


Image Credit: John Margolies “Beer sign, Seaside Heights, New Jersey” (1984) The Library of Congress

Ron Riekki: “The Roaring 20’s Are Roaring Already”




The Roaring 20’s Are Roaring Already

& 2019 was 1919 & they were refusing to wear masks
then & they’re refusing to wear masks now & a cousin
who was an alcoholic in high school is an alcoholic in old

age & my limp I had as a kid is a limp I have as an old
man & there is this feeling that nothing changes but then
a Buddhist monk friend, completely committed, shaved

head & unisex kayasa that he says with laughter is, yes,
like wearing a curtain, “but it’s a comfortable curtain”
& he explains everything changes, that impermanence

is at the heart of Buddhism, & that hearts change, pump,
& stop, & decay, & spread out as dust across the world
where we breathe in parts of a million hearts every day.



About the Author: Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press).  Riekki co-edited Undocumented (Michigan State University Press) and The Many Lives of The Evil Dead (McFarland), and edited The Many Lives of It (McFarland), And Here (MSU Press), Here (MSU Press, Independent Publisher Book Award), and The Way North (Wayne State University Press, Michigan Notable Book).  Right now, he’s listening to Elliott Smith’s “Cupid’s Trick.”


Image Credit: Russell Patterson “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” Public Domain

Poetry Soundbite: An Interview and Reading with Mike James



Welcome to AIOTB Magazine’s first Poetry Soundbite, an on-going series of poetry readings and interviews. For our inaugural Poetry Soundbite, we welcome Mike James, author of over a dozen books of poetry, including the soon to be released Leftover Distances, from Luchador Press. Below the video, you can find the text of the poems from James’ reading.









“Falling as We Go” and “Drunk Butterflies near the Missouri River” previously appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review.


About the Author: Mike James has published widely in places such as Plainsongs, Laurel Poetry Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Gargoyle, and Tar River Poetry. His poetry collections include: Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), and My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle.) He has served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review, of Autumn House Press, and of The Good Works Review, as well as the publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press. He currently serves as an associate editor of the prose poem journal Unbroken. His 18th collection, Leftover Distances, is forthcoming from Luchador Press. A multiple Pushcart nominee, Mike has read and lectured at festivals and universities throughout the country He is strong supporter of cats, literacy, coffee, white wine, top hats, crows, and free range poetics. He is an opponent of plaid, rigidity, salads, and quiet parakeets. He currently makes his home right outside Nashville.

Sue Blaustein: “On Hubbard Street”



On Hubbard Street



My new friend
is the northern end
of Hubbard Street.
Hubbard is a homely

name! Old Mother
Hubbard’s bare cupboard;
fall wagons heaped
with warty squash.

Hubbard Street comes
near my house too. But
the northern end – the terminus –
feels like a distant

village. By going there
this spring I learned
that I need a distant
village. It has outskirts.

Where a copter-beanie
wind turbine
in a warehouse parking
lot goes whup whup

whup whup whup.



East Side Stor-Mor
is on the outskirts. Not
Store not More.
We shaved e’s off

naming places
in the 20th century.
Not anymore – too
corny. I’m scuffing

a heated mix of brown
pine needles and litter.
A cups-and-bags-and-wrappers mix
that clogs catch-basins

and recurs;
piling ahead of your same feet
in all the summers of your life,
to appear again

across lifetimes, suffusing
you with feelings
about eternity. Everything
simultaneous… could be…



The curbstones are soft-edged
along the street
between Stor-Mor and what
I call my village proper.

Where there are
seven houses – residences!
Modest, and I don’t know
who lives there. I’ve

dwelt in houses and flats
I might’ve passed;
circumstances and years
before I lived there.

Hubbard Street –
I feel something in your ether.
You seem to know where I’ve been.
I sense you know

where I might be, when one
day another now
turns to then. It’s 2:00 PM
and the turbine blades whirl,

casting shadows
on the units of Stor-Mor –
garage doors 29, 30 and 31 –
whup whup…whup whup whup




About the Author: Sue Blaustein is the author of “In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector”. Her publication credits and bio can be found at Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for ExFabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.


More by Sue Blaustein:

A Song for Harvest Spiders

A Song for Noise

The Old Ways


Image Credit: John Margolies “Thrift Store, Baseline [i.e. Base Line] Street, San Bernardino, California” (1991) The Library of Congress